Focus is a constant topic of discussion in our house. As the frazzled mother of a non-neurotypical child, we spend time every single day discussing focus and helping her learn focus. Over the last however many years since her diagnosis, I’ve come to realize that I can learn a lot from her, too. And I can apply a lot of the tools I’m teaching her to my own life, in particular, to my writing.
- Lists. Lists are the number one most useful tool for helping me focus. I keep a few different lists going at all times – and I mean, a few lists just relating to my writing. I’ve usually got a list of goals for the year, a list of blog posts I want to write, a list of deadlines… You get the picture. A list gives me immediate direction if I’ve only got a few minutes to work.
- Prioritize. On those lists, keep items prioritized. Know which deadlines are first, which projects are closest to complete. Whatever motivates you to finish. Or to start.
- Playlists. I have a playlist for each of my projects – and sometimes different playlists for different parts of projects. I try not to repeat songs from one book to the next. Music helps me set the mood and repetition of music leads to repetition in the feel of the book.
- Check and double check. Your lists, your priorities, your drafts. Check it all, and check it again. Don’t make the mistake of writing a scene you’ve already forgotten you decided to cut. Don’t write a blog post on a topic you forgot you already covered. Check and double check.
- Routine. Routine is the second most helpful tool for me. I am at my most productive when I’ve been following the same routing for a few weeks. My most productive periods in writing always happen when I sit down on the couch every night after the kids are in bed and write until I can’t keep my eyes open. Of course, that’s not always feasible for me, which is why lists are my number one tool instead of routine.
Okay lovies, what are your most helpful tips for focus?