Book Reviews and Writing Tips

Book Reviews and Writing Tips

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Staying Focused

I decided to post about this today because I’ve been so scattered I haven’t accomplished much and have been going in circles. Usually I’m not that way but today has been a day where I’ve gotten distracted by other things all day long. It’s like the old email that goes around from time to time that I’m sure all of you have seen. You start out to go and do something only to see something else that needs doing when you get there, so you start that task, perhaps picking up something that belongs elsewhere, yet once you get to where it belongs, you only find something else that needs to be taken care of. At the end of the day, everything is still out of place and you never did finish one thing.

Now usually we can stay focused if we avoid distractions. In my opinion these are the biggest offenders:

1. Noise pollution (TV, videos, radio, etc.). This is really a biggie for me. I need the quiet to stay focused on writing, so I can think straight.

2. Getting caught up in a family “crisis” or a friend’s drama. Of course sometimes this is hard to avoid altogether. But family and friends should know you need your quiet time to write, yet I know they don’t always realize why. Believe me, sometimes getting any quiet, uninterrupted time is a premium when you have a retired man in the house.

3. Failure to set goals and set aside time. I think making a list of priorities here would help. Try to stick to your list by looking at it frequently, checking off what you’ve completed.

Indulging in distractions will blow the whole day and at the end of it you’ll be drained and disappointed in yourself for not accomplishing what you set out to do that morning when you got out of bed.

This can be said for anything in your life, not just writing. Sometimes you have to turn a blind eye and just pretend you’re the only one around.

If your house needs cleaning, put those blinders on and don’t be distracted to stop and clean until you’ve spent an hour or two writing, or doing research for your writing.

If you’re one to check email constantly, the same thing applies, write awhile and then check it. It’s too hard to get back into your train of thought if you keep checking your inbox. And if it’s anything like mine, it takes a couple of hours each time to go through all the new posts. Sometimes I’m tempted to hit the delete button, but I have to read them all and that is probably why I have about 2400 in my inbox at any given time. There aren’t enough hours in a day to weed very many out if you want to get anything else done. In the meantime they keep coming in, so this is a no-win situation.

If you need to market your books, set aside some hours to do that but put it on your list. Marketing takes a tremendous amount of time and it’s too easy to get caught up in the social networking sites. Before you know it, the day is gone.

If you’re a gardener type, watering plants can wait until the evening and you need a break from your writing. Or you can do that if you need a break during the day. While you’re outside, listen to nature and enjoy yourself. Sometimes that can be very inspiring, especially this time of year with all the new plant growth, flowers springing up and birds singing happily in the trees.

The plain truth is sometimes other tasks seem more appealing to us at the time, so it’s hard to go right to your core activities. All of us have procrastinated instead of tackling that list.

I guess that’s been my problem today. I don’t think the three hours of sleep I got last night would have affected me all that much because I never get over 5 or 6 anyway and a lot of times much less. When I’m really in “write mode” I can stay up three days and write continuously. Of course my husband frowns on this, so I do have to put the brakes on and quit before I want to. That’s when I resort to a notepad and jot thoughts down during the night.

My husband is out of state visiting his dad for the next ten days, so all the noise pollution that is usually in the house isn’t an issue. It’s been peaceful and quiet and one would think that the birdsong coming in the window would be an encouragement to get busy. But today I was a naughty girl and ignored my list and, as referenced above, I got distracted by everything I passed. Tomorrow I must strive to do better so I can take advantage of all this quiet time with no set schedules to keep (dinner and sleeping).


Annie Harris said...

I stay focused by having a "writing time." My time is early morning, just after I get out of bed and get a cup of coffee. This has been my habbit since I began writing poetry in my teens.
While writing my memoirs, It's Easier to Dance, I made appointments with the volunteers who typed for me. Nothing was left, "up in the air." My book is available in print by mail on my blog

Sale ends 5/31/2012 at midnight.

Peggy Strack said...

Morning is my best writing/focus time. As the day moves forward it is so easy to get distracte dby things that have to be done.

Sunni said...

Peggy and Annie,

Thank you both for visiting my blog and leaving a comment.

Yes, the day can be full of little distractions. There are times I can't stay focused at all, but I have to admit that I'm a night owl and do my best work late at night.

Of course this doesn't set too well with my husband, so I've tried to make it a habit of getting up early and coming upstairs with coffee. I can usually only accomplish email at that hour and rarely write anything creative.

The trouble with that early schedule is that I'm never really awake until later in the day and I'm never dressed before 10 or 11 am., but I guess when you freelance from home, it really doesn't matter all that much.

I'll check out your blogs. I need to post regularly but have been busy with company and life. However, I'm back at the computer now.

I hope you'll visit often and find something useful to read.


J.M. Powers said...

Sunni, I can write in chaos. I think it's more out of necessity than choice. :) However, my favorite time to write is at night after the family has gone to bed. (Okay, so I go to my day job sleep-deprived, but I get my edits done!)
My family didn't really "get" the whole writing thing, but now they realize what bliss it is for me, and support what I do. While writing and editing...and eventually getting a contract for a book I've worked on for years, I've been blessed with 5 novella publications in the meantime. It is hard work, but oh so worth it. BTW--LOVE YOUR BLOG!

Sunni said...


Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. My family doesn't get it either - at all. My husband says I'm consumed ALL the time and up in my office throwing around "fairy dust."

I prefer to write at night myself. Nice and quiet with no interruptions. I also seem to come alive at night. Mornings are hell for me, probably because I'm always sleep deprived. I'm not sure what I'd do if I actually had another job to leave the house for everyday. I just do whatever freelance I can get since jobs are scarce right now.

Writing is worth it and I'm glad you're having some good luck with your endeavours.

Thanks for the compliments on my blog. I keep trying to make it better.