How to create focused writing time

How do you like to write? In a crowed café, hot chocolate and biscuits to dunk, or in a peaceful place with no noise or interruptions?

If you have read any of my blogs you will know that I am the quiet writing type. Sometimes I will play loud music before I write, but more often than not, it’s silence that works best for me to focus. (On a tangent when I do other creative activities, I do love music which strangely helps me to focus.)

When you want to get your daily writing done, what happens? Do you stare at a blank screen or have you planned it all out and it’s way to go?

My writing inspiration often comes in at tangents, I may hear something on the news or read something totally disconnected to writing, but which sends the data train down my neural pathways, picking up passengers and then the words flow.

It might be that I am actually writing a book and therefore, I need to focus on getting that chapter done. As a great fan of outlining and planning, I make life easy for myself by having some sort of outline ready to write around. That’s not to say that’s what I will write. Often I will look at the original outline and as it works itself through the sausage factory of my mind and I ask, does that make sense and does it flow? I reflect a lot and then crack on.

What if you are new to this writing and blogging malarkey and find focusing difficult, then what?

Try this focusing method

  • Decide to write and find yourself 45 minutes (yes you can, no excuses)
  • Turn off distractions – no Facebook, G+, mobile, put a note up on your door (go away)
  • Set boundaries – tell others to leave you alone for 1 hour
  • Clear your desk – just scoop it all up and move it somewhere else, out of your range
  • Look directly at your screen – focus on it, make sure there is nothing in your direct vision but the screen
  • Set a timer (www.e.eggtimer.com) – you have 10 minutes to plan your article, here are your headings. You can mindmap this or just follow the list, do what works for you.
    • Blog  / article / subheading  title
    • Introduction
    • Key points / question you are answering
    • Keywords
    • Conclusion
    • Call to action
    • Image
    • Links
  • Reflect for 2 minutes (that’s 12 minutes gone)
  • Print your blog outline – read and have handy for reference (2 minutes)
  • Now write for 30 minutes (re-set the timer), when you need reminding glance at your blog / article plan (No editing or critiquing, just writing)
  • Because you told the ‘others’ to leave you alone for an hour, you now have 15 minutes editing and tidying up time.
    • Spelling and grammar
    • Overused words
    • Stuff you don’t need
    • Checking flow
    • Ensuring the key points are made
    • Adding in references or missing things

This method can be adapted to suit whatever you are writing. The key thing, as I always say, is to just write and see where if goes.

3 Replies to “How to create focused writing time”

  1. Great tips. Sometimes it is so hard to find the time to write. I have a 16-month-old who causes chaos sometimes. I’ve now found the best times for me to write when she is around. As for whether I like quiet places or the noise, it depends on what I’m working on. If I’m on a tight deadline, I like the peace and no music. I’ve I’m writing for fun, I enjoy having the music and it helps with the creativity.

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