Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Staying In Focus


Freeze. Put brain into slo-mo. Breathe. Relax. Wait and...


A lot of us have trouble focusing these days, don't we? We have fifty tabs open to five different blogs, Facebook, IM, Wikipedia, Youtube, this that... and we're also chatting on the phone while reading snippets of the book we're currently reading.

(Okay, maybe I shouldn't be saying we maybe I should be saying I, but I am saying 'we' in all hope that I am not alone in overtasking!)

I have to admit that I am insane multitasker. I will be listening to music, doing homework, eating my snack and reading newspaper articles all at the same time. I will be studying in my head while doing laundry. I will be looking up stuff on the computer while surfing the blogs, while reading my book as I wait for pages to load. It's efficient, I tell myself, I am getting more done in a little time.

I am surprised my brain has not gone on strike by now! 

As it turns out, multitasking isn't multitasking at all. We aren't actually capable of doing many things at once. What we are capable of is flitting from one thing to another, quickly on one thing like posting on a blog, oh now to reading a book, back to blog, over to the phone conversation, back to book, then to blog... all around like that. 

You can see how it would take a toll on our brain, on our focus.

And, can I say that we need some of that focus to write? I know I've been victim to the nagging feeling in the back of my head as I'm writing that's saying you should be, can be doing something else like doing homework or blogging or-or-or and on and on like that. SHUT UP, NAGGING VOICE!!

*note suggestions are suggestions not guaranteed to achieve focus. Only you can do that!

  • RESIST THE INTERNET. Close every window but your story. If the temptation is too much, turn off your internet for awhile (or break your Wi-Fi connection! - or, not).
  • REMOVE ALL DISTRACTIONS. Books, away. Cellphones, away. Music, away (unless this helps you write). EVERYTHING AWAY except for, you know, your brain and your writing.
  • DISCIPLINE. I'm sorry, but you have to have discipline. Discipline to concentrate, to push yourself forward into your story and I think once you're in there you'll have a hard time getting out. (Like when you're a kid and you just DON'T want to get in the bath, you HATE baths and then half an hour later when your mom comes and says time to get out, you hold your breath underwater for thirty seconds hoping she won't see you and leave you be in your perfect bubbly paradise.) Look forward to that perfect bubbly paradise! 

What do you do to help you stay focused on your writing? 


  1. ohmygodYES! I am SOOO guilty of the fifty-tab-opening thing. it drives me brother crazy :D
    anyway, your tips are awesome! especially that 'turn off your freaking internet' one. heh.

  2. I'm truly impressed that you can read and talk on the phone at the same time. I yell at my husband if he talks to me while I read. Or tune him out.

    Thanks for your comment on the Pink Bathroom post, it made me laugh!

  3. Aleeza - thanks!

    Gina - well, maybe not talking on the phone and reading so much as not paying much attention to the person on the other end... heheh.

  4. You aren't alone, I also have 50 tabs open most of the time.

    One thing the works in my favour in terms of the internet being a distraction to writing is that I don't have wireless. My parents won't let us get it. So all of my internet usage has to happen through the ethernet cable in the dining room. When it's time to write, I just go to my writing room where I can't access the internet. PROBLEM SOLVED!

    (Mind you, not having wireless can be quite annoying at times.)


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