View Full Version : I Should Write...

08-19-2012, 04:44 PM
...But my mind is leading me in twenty directions at once. Any tips on focusing :)?

08-19-2012, 06:01 PM
I had this problem when I was younger. A memory specialist taught me some tricks.

Pick one direction and stay on it for a specific length of time. While you are working on it, make it the *most* important thing in your life.

Make this an easy goal at first: 'I will play with this idea for an hour.' Train yourself to focus on one idea at a time - not until it's finished, but until you've reached a natural stopping point. Pick a passage or a sentence that you're really proud of, and try to memorize how it makes you feel.

Then set that project aside, and give something else first priority. When you come back to that first project, focus first on the target sentence or passage, remembering how it made you feel when you last saw it. Because human brains are tricky things, how you feel when you remember an emotion is basically the same way you felt experiencing the original emotion.

That 'lift' of pleasure and validation will ease you back into the project.
The exercise helps you learn 1) you won't finish a masterpiece in one sitting, and 2) you can step right back in where you left off with no loss of inspiration or quality.

Lots of clinical studies suggest that many of us are much, much worse at multitasking than we think. Focus training helps.

08-19-2012, 11:07 PM
...But my mind is leading me in twenty directions at once. Any tips on focusing :)?

Inability to focus is often a form of procrastination, and in many cases it's incurable. But try this first.

Copy passages from writers you like. Keep going for a specific time, like 30 minutes. You'll not only learn to concentrate and develop a writing discipline, but you'll pick up tips and techniques as you go.

08-19-2012, 11:41 PM
The only thing I have is my method,which is ass in chair every day.

It's blunt but that's what works for me. Turn off the TV, internet and sit down to write. I do this every day without fail. I've been doing it for so long that it's automatic that I write at a certain time. I don't even think about it. I am just there at my computer.

Filigree and dangerousbill's advice is good,certainly more detailed than mine! Try it and see what happens.

08-20-2012, 02:06 AM
Butt in chair. Otherwise, you just don't feel like writing and that's not was a writer is.

If you want to write, then write.

Eliminate everything that might be taking your focus. Cut off internet, turn off phone, put headphones on, make sure your chores are done before you write, make sure you went pee and have water/coffee.

Then you write.

08-20-2012, 04:56 AM
To cure procrastination, I used to impose deadlines on myself (eg. "I will write 3000 words today" or "I will finish this manuscript by the end of next week.") :)

08-20-2012, 05:09 AM
Turn off the wifi. Even better if you can have someone change the password and/or make it impossible for you to get online. That's my biggest downfall when I try to stay focused on writing.

Also set a word goal... even if it's small, like 200 words, make yourself write that much before you can do anything else. Rinse and repeat.

Purple Rose
08-20-2012, 07:27 AM
Lithium. Works for me :D

08-20-2012, 07:54 AM
Computer on. Butt in chair. Open up your document and re-read what you already have. I turn off the airport wi-fi on my computer. Checking Facebook or AW or my blog every five minutes is my downfall.

Are your twenty different directions writing directions? I've been thinking about a particular plot line to change. That's been distracting me recently from getting words down.

08-20-2012, 06:44 PM
Butt in chair, definitely. For me (AADD), I also have to have the TV on in the background as a foil.

08-20-2012, 08:43 PM
Butt-in-chair is excellent advice, but it is not enough for everyone. I like to add the following before putting that butt down:

Come to the computer prepared to write. This means think through the scene you are planning to write. Think though who will be in that scene, what they will be doing, how they will do it, what kind of challenge they will face (if apropriate), where the scene will take place, what tone will be used, what pacing, how the scene will move the story along. When that scene is done, put your concentration on the next scene only. Even if some of the details are not thought out, the focus on only one scene at a time will help keep the other thoughts away.

Many new writers are paralyzed because they think about the magnitude of the entire story instead of focusing solely on the next immediate scene. Others are paralyzed because they haven't pre-thought about the scene-at-hand, instead relying on some mystical muse-inspiration to carry their hands around the keyboard. Both can allow a mind to wander, even if the butt is in the chair.

Letting other ideas get in the way could be a procrastination thing, it could be a serious lack of self-discipline, it could be both.

Layla Nahar
08-20-2012, 11:04 PM
You say you 'should write'. But do you *want* to write?

B.G. Dobbins
09-24-2012, 05:02 AM
I know having everything else finished, such as classwork and chores, helps me stay focused. Otherwise, I keep having little thoughts slipping in and out of my train of thought about how I am not going to want to do those things later and I will be behind, which makes me feel worse.