How to stay focused as a writer

Here are some simple tips on how to keep momentum while writing.

Posted on:Dec 7, 2023

1. Let’s start with space

This is what my room looks like.
Clean, empty and cosy.
Useless stuff in my room is useless stuff in my head.
Give your excess stuff away or, if you must, get rid of it (responsibly).

2. Sleep

Don’t underestimate the healing power of sleep.
You are not a machine (yet). And even if you were, you’d need maintenance.
Get around 7-8 hours of shut-eye per night if possible.
Leave your electronic devices at the door. Fall asleep reading a good book.
Feel refreshed in the morning.

3. Next is preparation

Prepare your writing task ahead of time.


Write a quick outline of your post or article:
What problem does your post cover?
What solution does it offer?
What’s the title of the post? What are the section titles?


Preparing ahead of time leaves your mind free to quietly distill the content you are going to write about.

4. Let's move on to writing

Switch off any device that will interrupt you.

Choose a writing technique:

  1. Pomodoro: write for 25 minutes. Break for 5. After 4 “rounds,” take a 30-minute break. *Tip: don’t use a smartphone timer. Get a $1 start/stop kitchen timer. After all, that’s where the name “pomodoro” comes from.

  2. Flowtime: assign yourself a single writing task (e.g. write a 1000-word article about the merits of sleep). Tackle the task’s biggest problem from the get go. Write until you need a break. Choose your own break time. Work until the task is done.

  3. Your technique: do whatever works for you.

Stay hydrated. Our bodies thrive on water.

5. Tell yourself: “I’m just editing”

Writing is hard. I struggle with it.
Editing is easier.
So I type out my thoughts in one flurry of writing.
Then I tell myself, “I’ve got this, I’m just editing.”

6. Some optional technology

Invest in some noise cancelling headphones.
I personally use Bose QuietComfort 35.
Not cheap, but great quality. 5 years and still going strong.

Use binaural beats or white noise for added focus.
I use the 3-hour “Study Music Alpha Waves” track on YouTube.

7. Last word

Call me superstitious, but I printed out a paper sign and stuck it on the wall above my desk. Motivational messages can have a strong psychological effect.

Also, I appreciate that you are not me and you no doubt have a different way of working. I for one would love to hear what works for you and I’m sure others would too. So please leave a comment if you have time. Thanks!

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