Ways to bring focus to your writing world

It gets crazy with all the events, work, social media, family commitments, and pure clutter that crop up every day. Not that some of these things aren’t important; they are. However, to be successful in writing, you need focus.

With focus, you become more efficient and the process becomes repeatable. Focus allows you to concentrate on what your abilities can do, and where they can take you. We have many excuses—time, money, insecurity—the list goes on.

The most important thing is to remove as much clutter as you can from your mind. Once you do that, you can do your best—without hesitation. Once you develop a habit of removing clutter and focusing, you can expect to be successful AND do it again and again.

Writing is the same as any other skill or talent. The more you do it, the better you get. The more you expect to be successful, the more you focus, the more repeatable that process is.

Some people approach writing success as the finished product. Instead, it needs to be every small battle that you encounter, chapter by chapter. Some days that might equal 500 words and others it might be 4,000. Or, it could be how your character gets from point A to point B, how your mystery will evolve or developing the traits and look of your character. Each one of these things puts you closer to the ultimate goal. Each step is a battle to win.

Engage in each part as if it were a battle and then build on each success along the way, trying to win the next battle. Looking forward to the enjoyment of the battle, focusing on the goal for the day, will help you develop a repeatable process that becomes familiar to yourself.

In our lonely world of writing, it’s important to remember where the successes came from. It came from a lot of hard work and focus. Think of the writing process in segments. Break it down into weeks. Strive to be better each week. Ask yourself, at the end your sixth week, “Am I further along and one week better than when I was at week five?” Focus on looking forward to the upcoming week and become one week better.

If you concentrate on one week at a time without losing sight of the battles, you will get better at focus. With focus comes success. Combine those things and you’ll be publishing books more efficiently, with better quality, than ever before.

Author: Jim Devitt

Jim Devitt’s debut YA novel, The Card, hit #1 in three separate categories on the Kindle Bestseller list in early January and was a finalist in the Guys Can Read Indie Author Contest this past summer. Devitt currently lives in Miami, FL with his wife Melissa and their children. Learn more about Jim at his blog and his Amazon author page.

20 thoughts on “Focus”

  1. You are so right. The nice thing is that each project does not start at the same place as the last because of what you have learned along the way. We keep moving upward – unless we lose that focus. Then we may have to regroup a little.

  2. I started to feel like the tiger chasing its tail. I began to go around and around, not accomplishing what I had set out to do for the day. My writing took a backseat to all the networking, marketing etc. Now I make a short list, something like a shopping list of the clutter matter. I tend to it first, check things off, and then when I sit down to write, I feel free. If I only write 400 words I get up take a short walk with the dog, come back and start again. I look back at where I started and how far I’ve come. I am waiting to see what the next year brings.

    As always thanks Jim for great post.

  3. Excellent advice. This is something I’m working HARD at teaching myself, right now. Writing every day, getting something done… (OK, I missed one day, but still managed my blog post!) I’ve been doing daily blog updates of my day and my progress, as a way of keeping me on task. Borrowed the idea from Dean Wesley Smith (with his blessing), and so far, it’s a big help.

    It’s just a tool. Whatever tool we find that works for us is a good one. And the tool that works for me might be very different from the one that clicks for you. But finding a way to take the work SERIOUSLY, to make the work a PRIORITY, and to keep working at it with DEDICATION is key! 🙂

  4. Lonely this life might be, Jim, but truly, posts like yours take away the sting — because there are lots of us battling the same demons to get good work done…one para at a time. I am just sinking my creative teeth into my second novel…the first one took me 20 years!!!! and went through about 7 incarnations…i am hoping this will be a bit easier….thank you!

  5. The clutter indeed, Jim. It sometimes overwhelms me! Focus I know something about, or I should, it’s something I teach, but of late the clutter sometimes bests me. It’s good that every once in a while one of us stands up, bangs on the desk, and shouts: “Wake up!!”

    Excellent post, Jim.

  6. Great post. I think it’s well worth while to remember to concentrate on the small, the near, the details. I doubt that many of us could immerse ourselves in the details of the story if we’re focused on the larger view. I remember when I finished a 600-page book. If I had sat down and said, “I am going to write a 600-page book,” I don’t think I ever would have completed it. We need to chunk things down to bite-sized bits and conquer each one. Great reminder, thanks!

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