Tag Archives: keeping focused on writing

Creating a Creativity-Fueled Workspace

16389062895_f1863e1609_oA few of my professors told me to write every chance I got. One professor in particular stated that she would take advantage of every opportunity, including while she was waiting in her children’s school pick-up line. She said she could get a good fifteen minutes of writing in. All you had to do was block out any distractions. Focus on your writing.

I tried something similar to that. However, it was an utter disaster. I kept getting distracted by all the people and noises around me. Plus, the air conditioning was cranked way up. All I could think about was how I wished I’d brought a jacket.

Even writing in my house, while other people are moving around me, is distracting. In grade school I never was able to watch TV/listen to music, while doing homework. The same goes for my writing. For me, I need to have a separate space, a space that’s distraction free. That means no music, TV, or other people. This is doubly so for revision, because I like to read aloud and talk to myself, while editing. I may even act out a few scenes to get all the staging straight.

Some things I’ve found that help me focus and get my creativity flowing are:

  1. Choose your space. This one seems obvious, but it can be more difficult than it first appears. Some people are able to work anywhere. I envy those people. If I don’t have a place, where I feel inspired and motivated and won’t be distracted, my brain will shut down. There’s a good chance I’ll end up watching TV or reading.

Think about the places where you’ve written your best pieces. Maybe it’s a specific bench at a park. Maybe it’s in your sunroom. Maybe it’s laying in the middle of the floor. The spot you choose should be relatively quiet, because you want to escape into your head.

Pay attention to the position your write in. For me, I write best when I’m sitting upright at a desk or cross-legged on the floor with my laptop and notebook on the coffee table. I like to be able to spread out, so I need a decent sized writing space.

  1. De-clutter. If you’ve ever done spring cleaning, you know that after you cleaned out your closets and drawers and have vacuumed and scrubbed every surface, you feel a lot better. De-cluttering is one of the best ways to increase motivation and productivity.

You may not notice it pre-cleaning, but clutter blocks creativity. The times that I’ve allowed clutter to accumulate, I’ve felt overwhelmed looking at the mess. I also felt cramped. I kept thinking about the mess. Once I cleaned up, my creative juices flowed a lot easier.

  1. Have natural light. This one is very important. Sunlight improves mood, alertness, and productivity. There’s a reason seasonal affective disorder occurs more often in the winter months than summer or why Alaskans tend to drink a lot more alcohol in the winter than summer.

Without good lighting, a space can appear dull. A fog settles over our brains decreasing our ability to think clearly and cohesively. Poor lighting affects our emotions. Good lighting induces feelings of elation, while dim lighting creates depressive feelings.

I write better when I have exposure to natural light. I’m able to concentrate on my writing and am in better touch with my emotions. However, I can’t face a window, while writing, because I’ll end up watching what’s going on outside.

Where’s your writing workspace?

(Photo courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.)

Don’t Careen Off that Ledge: Keep on Track with Your Writing

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It can be a challenge to stay focused on your writing, especially if you don’t have anyone helping to keep you accountable for your novel. So what do you do when you’re sitting in front of your computer, staring at the word document in front of you and feeling like you would rather be anywhere else but working on your novel?

One thing to do is to give yourself some space from your writing. If you’re sick of your novel and are being unproductive, then it would be better to take some time off from writing. The trick here is to give yourself a time limit. Whether its three days, one week, or two weeks, you have a set date at which you’ll go back to your writing.

Another option is to make a writing schedule. This has two parts:

  1. Set dates for your writing, such as when you plan on having the first three chapters written by or when you want to have the first draft of the novel written.
  2. Know your most productive writing time. Are you most creative and focused in the morning, afternoon, evening? Try to work your schedule around to be able to write when you’re most productive.

Join a critique group. This is a great way to be held accountable for getting pages written by a certain date. Plus, you’ll be getting feedback on your writing and you’ll have a support group made up of other writers, who understand the frustrations, high points, and pitfalls of writing.

Break the novel down into scenes. Sometimes thinking about how you have to write an 80,000 word novel can be daunting, and discouraging. So rather than focusing on the big picture, think of the novel in terms of scene. A scene isn’t that big. It’s typically a chapter or part of a chapter. Before you know it, your scenes will add up to that 80,000 word goal (or whatever word count you’ve set for yourself).

Probably the most important thing to remember is that writing should be fun. It’s so much easier to write about something you enjoy, and since writing a novel is a huge endeavor, why would you spend so much time writing something you didn’t enjoy?

How do you keep yourself on track?

(Photo courtesy of Pixshark.)