What do you do to stay focused?

While just about everyone has the capacity to write, the greater challenge is finding a way to stay on course and focused to make progress.

I’m curious to what ways people deal with it. If you are like me, then you have the attention span of a dog and if you don’t stay on top of something, it’s going to get forgotten about.

Typically, my tactic is to just write. Any sentence. If you can at least manage to get a few lines written, more is sure to just flow naturally after. I also generally use a set amount of words and lines to get done by the end of the month, to try and keep a consistent form of progress. Now, while that may be more effective for some, my success with getting things done is rather random and dependent on my mood. Either I can get tons done in just one or two days, or stay apathetic for months. Finding balance isn’t easy.

So how does someone do it? How do you hold a good pace and what is that you consider an acceptable amount of progress?

Sorry if there’s already topics like this, but I couldn’t find them.

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I don’t write creatively, I write academically. And I have found my environment to be the biggest help. Removing unnecessary distractions, or simply moving to somewhere I associate with work (my desk) is a huge help.

Other strategies I use are to break up my work, so I can focus on one specific area that is short rather than one broad and large area. This actually helps with my progress as well, it seems less daunting and I can meet goals quickly.

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One thing I have learned to do with time is to write first thing in the morning when I wake up. It helps me get going when I have the most creativity and energy in mind.

The other concept I learned in college is to think about an issue before going to bed and your mind sorts it out as you sleep. This is good for both social and academic issues. But I do this in my stories, where I think about my story the night before for a period of time and I would often dream about it and let those ideas or elements of them become a part of my story.

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I usually start role-playing the scenarios that I wish to write. Not only does it keep me occupied and in a good mood, it also lets me become more creative and think of new things to add.

Or, I could always spend my time thinking about the characters and concept in the shower, helps me think of dialogue better.

And if that’s not enough, I just start reading books or other people’s work. For me, it sets the mind on a certain path where words and creativity mash together to create something harmonious.

I also like to play games (as weird as it sounds, it actually helps a lot). Mostly fantasy games, because well, in my opinion, you can’t write without a little bit of fantasy.

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If I ever get really stuck on a project I go back and reread older sections I’ve already written which inevitably leads me to notice awkward phrasing or even typos, so I’ll make sure to correct those. Maybe even give myself a little pat on the back for a clever turn of phrase I might have written months ago and forgotten about.

This will then get me thinking about maybe some minor additons I could make; tweaks to a description, or maybe a few extra lines of dialogue. This serves to put me back into the headspace of the story and frequently leads to inspiration for an as-yet unwritten portion of the work.

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I belong to a site called MasterClass where you have a section where famous/successful writers talk about their craft and how they write. I forget which author said it but they described a way to combat writers block is to go back to see how you ended up at the point in the story where you don’t know how to go forward. Instead of staying stuck on that one idea try to rewrite the last few pages and take your story in a different direction. It is possible that there are more ideas there for you but you just don’t know how to progress at the spot you wrote yourself into.

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I find that listening to music, with or without lyrics, really helps me. Keeps me focused.

If I’m in a rut, I try to find inspiration in things around the house, or at work, to fuel my want to write. That keeps me from going months without writing.

Working for a set time, then stepping away from the computer as soon as the time is up. Also taking a 5-10 minute walk outside, or writing in a different location to mix things up.

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If you are listening to music one thing that is really beneficial. One of the types of music to listen to is video game soundtracks. The genre’s goal is to keep your attention without being a distraction.

I have to light a candle before I start doing a lot of work. If I’m just writing for maybe 15 minutes or so, I’m fine, but there’s something about a lit candle (doesn’t matter the scent but they’re sure to be fall themed soon lol), that really focuses me if I’m writing longer!

That and also listening to music. Also, I find it easier to write at night rather than during the day.

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Yeah, I write a lot of high fantasy, so I listen to LOZ, Dragon Age, and Neverending Story soundtracks.
Undertale is also one I listen to frequently just cuz it’s a banger

I usually make a plan of what I have to do. For example, I am a language learner, and I learn two or three languages at the same time. It’s quite hard, so I make a plan and write what I will do every day. For example, 1st day is reading (~1 hour) and listening. Then the second day is speaking and studying grammar rules. I’ve alresy learnt German, now I’m learning Italian and this method really helps. I also go to Italian language school http://fda-sanremo.com/ but nothing would work If i didn’t motivate myself and just let it be like it is.

Have a set time and place you do your writing and stick faithfully to it.

Have specific goals setting journal for each session – I think something more than hitting a word count, but “establish this character’s conflict” or “describe the setting through action and dialogue.” Something where you aren’t just hammering out words but know what you want to accomplish.

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You mean aside of having absurd amount of coffee near me?

Music, music and music. Did i mention music? Listening to various music that boosts my inspiration certainly helps with my writing, on top of that i will never write unless i am in proper mood.

Music helps. I also find that, similar to tandra, I write best at night. Caffeine helps as well, though I prefer soda and tea over coffee.

EDIT: I’ve also noticed that I focus a lot more when it’s overcast/raining than when it’s sunny.

Music - Focus material.

Films / Youtube videos - You’re not going to focus.

Like Trev, I’m best focusing at night then during the day,

But mostly I don’t kick myself over the day or two per week I take off, because a) It reduces stress and therefor I won’t burn out quick. and b) I’ve given myself a long time to write this so,