Professional writers often reach a point in their careers where concentration is hard to come by because of the shear velocity of assignments.
When a writer is faced with just one or two tasks a week, it’s easy to carve out a few hours to focus: however, when there are multiple writing assignments per day, writers may need carefully formulated tactics to keep themselves tuned-in to deadlines and word counts. Here are eight of the most effective tips for those lucky sharebaiters who are straining to meet the demand of their workflow.
1. Eliminate Distractions
Many distractions can be eliminated before a sharebait writer even sits down to the task. Here are a few things that should be turned off, tuned out, or shut down:
- HootSuite, TweetDeck, & Twitter
- Fax Machine
Also, a writer should endeavor to write while children and animals are gone or entertained. Although many sharebaiters work from home and must juggle family tasks with work time, it’s definitely not ideal. If children or pets are present during the writing phase, make sure the revision phase is wholly uninterrupted so nothing is overlooked.
2. Prevent Additional Distractions
Prevent mid-sentence distractions before you get started by informing friends, roommates, colleagues or others that you will be busy: this is easily accomplished if you have a regular writing schedule. Keep a separate workspace that has a door with a ‘busy’ sign if possible.
It’s also important to preemptively counter-strike self-sabotage like bathroom breaks, ‘needing’ a glass of water, or suddenly remembering you ‘must’ call your mother. Try to get all of these possible mental distractions out of the way before starting an awesome piece of sharebait.
If you work better with soft music, then set it up to play a pre-selected, soothing playlist. If your surroundings are chaotic and distracting naturally, then try moving your desk, building a cubicle wall, or going to break rooms or quiet cafes during writing sessions.
3. Always Be Proactive
Many writers have genius ideas while they’re in line at Target, swimming in the surf at Blizzard Beach, or shaking hands at a friend’s wedding reception. For this reason, a writer should always be prepared to jot down ideas before they’re forgotten.
Another thing writers must do is to write immediately while inspired. Many people will ignore the urge to write at 12:00 PM for various reasons, and then find themselves facing a deadline later that night without any inspiration. It’s much easier to re-arrange a schedule to write while inspired then it is to face a ticking clock as a deadline approaches.
4. Design a Creative Environment
Workspaces should be bright, cheerful, clutter-free, and decorated with inspiring art or baubles. Temptations like TVs and Kindles should be kept out of the workspace. Keep in mind that a small workspace will feel cluttered more quickly, and a spacious workspace will leave room for growth and additional resources.
5. Create Deadlines
Whether or not an assignment has a deadline, a sharebait writer should give him or herself a timeline for completion. Projects that have no clear ending are a lot more draining than those with clear ending points. Writers should use a calendar as a visual reminder of deadlines: it’s a lot harder to accept ballet tickets for Tuesday if your calendar has four sharebait articles penned-in for that day.
6. Exercise Beforehand (& Regularly)
While this tip could go without saying, many writers forget the importance of being physically prepared to write. While writing is not a physical task, being out of shape or sore can lead to distractions. Simply stretching for 15 minutes can make a writer sit comfortably much longer than someone stiff from bed. Also, exercise leads to better posture, which will help writers avoid the dreaded forward-head hunch that older writers suffer from in this computer age.
7. Treat Yourself
For those sharebait writers who need an additional incentive, a timer and list of small rewards does wonders for concentration. Set the timer for blocks of time (an hour works well), and reward yourself for each chunk completed without distraction. A writer who focuses for an hour might get a bathroom break and a cup of tea, and then after the second hour he or she could go for a short walk. Avoid rewards that are sugary, as this can lead to sugar crashes, upset tummies, and more munchies.
8. Move, Change, or Draw
As a last resort for writers with ADHD, the writer can change seats, rooms, or for a more drastic change of scenery, go to a park or library. Changing the environment—whether slightly or more drastically—can often trigger a re-focus response.
The second last-ditch idea for concentration is to switch media. Some writers stay focused longer on typewriters, iPads, writing on paper, or on desktop computers rather than laptops. Much like insomniacs who trick their brains into sleeping by shifting their heads to the foot of the bed, changing media while writing sometimes regains the interest of the brain.
The last, last-ditch idea for seriously distracted writers is to doodle. Set a timer for five or ten minutes and allow yourself to draw. Often, as the timer ticks on, your art will become about your sharebait topic and your brain will be ready to click back into gear. Never exceed your allotted doodle time, as the set art span will create a Pavlovian ‘ready to work’ response eventually.
Writers with wavering levels of concentration are easy to pick out because their writing has intermittent weak points and then moments of clarity. Readers deserve concise, clear sharebait, which means that the writers need to remain focused on their craft during creative sessions.