Writing is easy
Is it, though?
Writing is not easy. It takes commitment, desire, hard work, and a lot of hours spent attempting to focus on adding words to the blank white monster that sits before you. There are lots of struggles when it comes to focusing. Whether you have 183 tabs open on your computer, are listening to the wrong type of music, or have people around that keep interrupting you right in the middle of some momentum, it’s something that you have to strive for if you do eventually want to get that 8 day-old piece done.
Along with focus, there are lots of other factors contributing to whether or not you’re able to finish writing a quality and timely piece of literature that ultimately meets your standards. Lets dive into a few of them and see if there’s something you can do about it, shall we?
There exists a plethora of good advice for getting yourself focused before a writing session. Some people say that you need to have a routine, but I beg to differ. I personally do not need to have a routine. I may start an article on my phone somewhere in public and then finish it later that day in my bedroom using my laptop. Whether you’re the type of person that needs a routine or not, the goal of limiting distractions remains key. Unfortunately, there isn’t a ton anybody could tell you that will be most effective for you specifically. We’re all different, but I can make a few suggestions.
Solitude is a great start. Find a place that you will not be easily accessible, even if it means spending some time away from your phone. Those 183 open tabs I was talking about earlier? Get rid of them. I don’t steer away from encouraging breaks, but that’s a clear distraction. Meditate, burn a candle, do some push-ups (you laugh, but seriously), listen to the “brain food” music playlist on spotify, read (for inspiration), do whatever you have to do in order to prepare yourself. Focusing should be job #1. If you simply can’t focus, live to fight another day.
Having no idea what to write about is fun, right? No, it’s terrible. Believe it or not, there are ways to conquer this beast, though. This is going to sound like some funny advice, but it’s something that works for me more often than you’d think.
- Write about your day.
Honestly, by jotting down how your current day went, or has gone so far, you’d be surprised how often you come up with fun topics that are really interesting to you. Pretty soon you’re conjuring up a nice listacle about the most productive breakfast you can eat because you remembered getting egg and avocado all over yourself earlier that morning.
- Ask your friends/family.
Asking someone, “what’s something you would like to read about?”, is hardly original, but it can do wonders for writing ideas. The people that take this question seriously will often start talking to you about something that has been on their mind, and if it’s within your prowess — bingo. Don’t forget to ask permission to write about it, though.
- Keep a file of topics.
This is some of the more common advice you will see. It won’t help you in your current debacle of writer’s block, but start saving topics now. You can add them to a dropbox or just the notebook in your phone. At any point during your busy day you may come across a great writing topic that you want to revisit later!
This works wonders for me. I usually cannot just sit down spontaneously and start writing without some preconceived idea or plan that I’ve mustered up hours, or even days, earlier.
Planning a time for yourself to sit down and write will immensely improve your focus and productivity during that session. Positive psychological effects have also been noted when a person plans ahead. Planning ahead not only schedules a time that works just for you, but it also frees up current cognitive resources so that you are better able to focus on the tasks at hand.
Planning exactly when you’re going to write will also make heaps of progress in the “focus” area. I find that when I sit down to carry out the budgeted time, my productivity and efficiency both skyrocket.
Writing can be as difficult as you choose to make it for yourself, but there’s always something you can do about it. I’ve brushed over a few of the strategies I use to smother writer’s block and keep focused, so that I can execute a piece to my standards.
The beauty of writing is that each of our individual personalities can shine through, no matter how many tips are out there. Keep writing, friends.