Need help submitting your writing to literary journals or book publishers/literary agents? Click here! →

Tag Archives: novel

How To Stay Focused On Writing In A Multitasking World

How To Stay Focused On Writing In A Multitasking World

Multitasking has become unavoidable—many of us are juggling writing careers, full-time jobs, family obligations, and a host of other distractions. But writers have a special problem: Sometimes, when we sit down to write, we don’t even realize that we’re still multitasking—still solving problems that have nothing to do with the task at hand, still splitting our focus in the name of efficiency.

But even though multitasking feels effective, research shows that dividing our attention between several tasks at once may not be very productive. So how do we resist the urge to multitask and instead focus only on our writing? Let’s look at a few scenarios and solutions:

You’re working on a short story and trying to edit as you go. Writing and editing are opposing tasks that have better results when approached separately. Let the words flow unimpaired and uninterrupted—then schedule a block of time later just for editing.

You’re doing research on the Internet for a historical novel. But one interesting link leads to another, and instead of gathering information about 18th-century clothing styles, you’re immersed in a celebrity tell-all site. Give yourself a well-placed visual reminder not to stray from your research—even a blank sticky note can prompt you to “stick” to your goal!

You’re writing a new poem when PING! A new text message! Of course you’ll want to see what urgent news awaits—but being sidetracked by communications from the outside world can derail your train of thought. Avoid temptation: Turn off all audio signals alerting you to new emails, texts, and social media messages. Leave your smart phone in another room, and silence your landline’s ringer. You can also look into website-blocking tools like StayFocused and Anti-Social, which can help prevent you from obsessing over your social media accounts.

Like our insider info and writing advice?

Then you’ll love the many other ways Writer’s Relief can help!

From effectively targeting markets, writing dynamic query letters, building authors’ online platforms, and much more—find out how Writer’s Relief can boost your exposure and maximize your acceptance rate.

You’re “in the zone” and writing productively—when suddenly an unrelated, distracting idea pops into your head. Keep a notepad handy to jot down the barest bones of the idea—to get it out of your system—and then go right back to what you were doing.

You’re finding it impossible to concentrate on your novel because the house is a mess and the kids are fighting and the dishwasher is making a scary noise. Unless you have a superhuman ability to micro-focus, it’s probably best to not even try writing under these circumstances. Deal with the situation at hand, then designate a different writing time for yourself—even if it means heading to the library, or locking yourself in the laundry room, or getting up at 4:00 a.m.

Youve been diligently writing for hours but are now staring at the computer screen like a zombie. Time to take a break. Reward yourself! Even a 15-minute breather can refresh your brain and jump start your creativity.

You’re concentrating so hard on clever metaphors and witty dialogue that progress on your book has slowed waaaaay down. You might be second-guessing yourself. Or you may be trying too hard to anticipate what your weekly writing group will say about the lines you’re writing right now. Time to silence your inner critic for a while and just enjoy the process of writing.

Your story is moving along nicely…until you start daydreaming about the TV show you watched last night, or your kid’s soccer game, or how you’ll renovate the kitchen in five years. Writers are inherently daydreamers, but it’s important to focus solely on writing while you’re writing. Buddhists teach that every action benefits from being done mindfully. So whether you’re washing dishes or writing a short story, being mentally present is the key to finishing your task and enjoying it as well. Once you become aware that your thoughts are drifting, you’ll need to tell yourself—out loud if necessary—to refocus on your writing.

Still Finding It Hard To Focus?

For more tips on staying focused on your writing in a multitasking world, check out our other articles for writers:

Photo by minifig

Writer QuestionsQUESTION: Does your focus wander when you write? What tools do you use to get back to work?

Five Ways To Spice Up Your Book Club

SpiceUpYourBookClub4FACEBOOK

Whether you’re a die-hard bibliophile or a casual bookworm, a book club is a great way to meet other readers and introduce yourself to new books and authors. However, the typical “everyone reads the same book” approach can eventually become humdrum and stale. Before you give up on your book club, try adding a dash of the unexpected!…Continue Reading

4 NaNoWriMo Books That Became Best Sellers

4NaNoWriMoBooksThatBecameBestSellersFACEBOOK

As another National Novel Writing Month—NaNoWriMo—draws to a close, here’s a look at some past success stories! From November 1 to November 30, aspiring novelists are hoping to complete the first draft of a 50,000-word novel. That means writing about 1,667 words a day. Or a very frantic 7,142 words a day over the course…Continue Reading

5 Steps To Take When The Writing Gets Tough And You Want To Quit

5StepsToTakeWhenWritingGetsTough_blog

You’ve reached a pivotal point in your story, book, or poem, and you realize—you’re stuck. Or maybe you’re in the middle of an intense writing project like NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and you’re losing steam as you approach the finish line. Just when you need inspiration and motivation the most, you’re sinking under a…Continue Reading

Ten Twentieth-Century Novels You Should Read Right Now

TenTwentiethCenturyNovelsYouShouldReadRightNow2FACEBOOK

Wondering what book you should read next? You’re sure to find something that sparks your interest among these ten twentieth-century novels. All modern classics, each presents trail-blazing topics and worthwhile insights—worthy additions to any “must-be-read” list!   Ten Novels To Add To Your Bookshelf                     The…Continue Reading






Learn More
Live Chat Software