April 20, 2011


I have this picture on both my laptop and my work computer for a reason: my mind tends to wander. I find this happens most when I'm doing something I don't want to be doing (i.e. writing a paper or a scene that isn't jam packed fueled with action and suspense or being at my day job).

But, as always, things need to get done. So what are the best ways to keep your focus?

1. Make a To Do list every morning with things you would like to accomplish. For me, this means M-F I make a list of what I need to get done at work. On the weekends, it usually consists of errands, but I also keep a separate list for my writing and school goals. My major goal in writing is to be published (as with most of us). Therefore, I need to have the sight of BEING PUBLISHED with smaller steps of getting there. The day-to-day would be things like, "finish Chapter 1", "write synopsis", or "rework this scene". These change every day and I feel really good about crossing things off my list once I've accomplished them.

2. Organize. Sometimes it's easier said than done. Clean your desk, office or house so you won't be so distracted by those things while writing. When my house is clean, I find I can relax a bit more and my eyes aren't wandering toward those dirty dishes while I'm trying to rewrite that scene. At work I make dozens of notes a day on Post-Its for my current WIP, when I get home, I combine them all into one easy and manageable check list when I get to those points in the MS. This makes my life easier most days. Unless I lose those Post-Its...

3. Take a walk or a run, whichever you prefer. Exercise clears the mind. "Sound body, sound mind" thanks to Asics. When I'm having trouble with a particular character or scene, I grab the iPod and run. The music keeps my muse alive while the running releases my stress. Less stress = more gets done on my To Do list.

What keeps you focused? What are some of your To Dos?


  1. ...familiar pic, for it offers me a glare every time I click on my blog as well:)


  2. I like your idea of making a "To Do" list everyday. I make list, but not often enough and I am only specific about my work and family task. I tend to be very general about my writing goals or task for the day. For example, I just write " work on manuscript" or "write" or "work on novel". I think I will try it your way and actually specify what I will due each day as in " revise chapter 4, write query letter" etc.

    Thanks for the advice.

  3. Elliot - My biggest distraction is my blog!

    SugarScribes - Hope it helps :)


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