There are days when I get up in the middle of the night and knock out 3,000-6,000 words before I go to work. Other days, I rush home and immediately get to work on the next chapter of my new book without even bothering to check the mail or grab a glass of iced tea.

If all of my days were like those above, I’d be a prolific writer with a backlist in the double digits. Alas, I am not always as focused as that. Some days I sit at my desk and post to facebook or my blog. Some days I work on my covers or do random searches for my book titles and reviews.

That’s the hard part of being an indie author (it can also be the greatest reward because if I have something else to do, I can put my writing away to do it) – maintaining focus in a world of distractions. Here are some tips that have helped me.

1. Set a deadline – post a countdown on your Facebook page or blog or just put post-it notes on your fridge and bathroom mirror. Deadlines give a sense of urgency – so use them.

2. Set a writing routine. If you’re uninspired to work on a chapter, spend your writing time crafting the cover blurb, description or posts you plan to make on social media. It’s fruitful in a different way.

3. Keep off the internet. The world wide web is a giant time suck when you’re not focused. Just keeping you computer off it will put more time into your writing.

4. Write in small bursts. Like deadlines, this gives your writing a sense of urgency. Just saying to yourself that you only have 30 minutes to write means you have to get in and accomplish something.

5. Use those random moments of free time in your life with purpose. Carry index cards or a notebook. Some of my best plotting has been done sitting in waiting rooms, while I’m waiting for steaks to grill, or when I’m just killing a little time. Those index cards or notebooks can become great foundations for your current or next book.

6. Above all, keep writing. Not everything will be brilliant, but that’s what editing is for.

Oh, and when your internet is off…you won’t be posting to your blog (like I did) – you’ll be working on the next chapter!


One thought on “On Staying Focused

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