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Methods to keep you focus on writeing.

Posted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 1:42 am
by ShippoK
(Excuse me if this already has a topic or not)

What the title says, what are some good methods to keep you focus on writing?
I've got a terrible habit of procrastinating when it comes to writing.
I've always end up doing a sentence or two until I get distracted by something and just lose all feeling to write anymore.

Any ideas you guys might use are welcomed! :)

Re: Methods to keep you focus on writeing.

Posted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 2:29 am
by Obscura
ShippoK wrote:(Excuse me if this already has a topic or not)

What the title says, what are some good methods to keep you focus on writing?
I've got a terrible habit of procrastinating when it comes to writing.
I've always end up doing a sentence or two until I get distracted by something and just lose all feeling to write anymore.

Any ideas you guys might use are welcomed! :)
I make ample use of the pomodoro method. It works really well for me because after about half an hour or so, my writing starts losing its vitality anyway.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomodoro_Technique

Re: Methods to keep you focus on writeing.

Posted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:42 pm
by KittyKatStar
ShippoK wrote:(Excuse me if this already has a topic or not)

What the title says, what are some good methods to keep you focus on writing?
:lol: I don't consider myself the most focused of writers... I mean whenever I write, I also have Skype on, iTunes on, Twitter on the side, along with various websites. >.>; Oh and always eating too. =,D nom nom nom

However I sort of... break it down into chunks. I think to myself "okay focus on this scenario" and even break down the scenario into smaller portions.

i.e.
write the beginning of the scene until the branch choices
take a small break
write the branches
small break
write the conclusion

I also associate certain foods/gum/songs with writing. If I'm procrastinating, I'll chew mint gum (I only chew it when writing) or drink coffee milk, etc and it seems to work. It'll get my mind back on the task.

Re: Methods to keep you focus on writeing.

Posted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:02 am
by Glasskitten
I really, epicly suck at getting stuff done...but when I do get stuff done, it usually involves insomnia and a custom music playlist. I guess the "It's either this or staring at dark walls for the next few hours" situation is conducive to extra focusing.

Re: Methods to keep you focus on writeing.

Posted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 6:20 pm
by Haze
Like some other people, I like to listen to music (without words; words can be distracting for me, unless it's some ominous latin chanting. XD). If I'm on my computer, and I have to do something, I always end up looking at "just one more thing" on the web, and I never get anything done. Listening to music, though, helps me focus on whatever I need to do. It helps when I need to concentrate on writing something, too.

Re: Methods to keep you focus on writeing.

Posted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:21 pm
by arachni42
ShippoK wrote: What the title says, what are some good methods to keep you focus on writing?
I've got a terrible habit of procrastinating when it comes to writing.
I've always end up doing a sentence or two until I get distracted by something and just lose all feeling to write anymore.
I usually write up initial ideas (or at least notes) quickly, but that burns out quickly as well.

I'm a multitasker. So, for example, right now I'm reading things on the boards instead of writing. But I still have what I'm writing in the back of my mind. I switch back and forth. I'll let myself indulge in tangents relating to what I'm writing because I do eventually go back to it, and it helps break up the task. Sometimes I might not know how to word something, but taking a break and then coming back to it can help. I always make sure to come back to it. I chip away at it, bit by bit.

In between writing (times like driving to work, showering, etc) I'll brainstorm on any parts I'm having trouble with. Sometimes I might run into a "block," and the real reason for the block isn't laziness or lack of inspiration, but because I need to come to a decision about something. So during those in-between moments, I focus on solving those problems. That really helps me move forward when I actually get to the writing.

As far as actual suggestions for you (besides "try different things and see what works")... What is the underlying reason that you procrastinate? It is because the task feels tedious and boring? Is it because you don't know what to write? Is it because there's something you want to write but you're not sure if it makes sense? Is it because your hands are tired? It can be worthwhile to know the reason, because sometimes you can address it from a different angle.

Re: Methods to keep you focus on writeing.

Posted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 9:10 pm
by ShippoK
arachni42 wrote:
As far as actual suggestions for you (besides "try different things and see what works")... What is the underlying reason that you procrastinate? It is because the task feels tedious and boring? Is it because you don't know what to write? Is it because there's something you want to write but you're not sure if it makes sense? Is it because your hands are tired? It can be worthwhile to know the reason, because sometimes you can address it from a different angle.
(Sure, why not.)
My problem is actually writing down an idea/scene in general.

I think of this pretty neat idea and go 'Hey, I should write this neat idea down! That sounds like an awesome idea to write.'
So I open up my Notepad/Microsoft word/Open office/jEdit, etc. I type maybe, 3-4 words... Then I just end up just stopping.
I know what I want to write down but my hands just feel incapable to move sometimes.

Even worse, my original idea sometimes just wonders into another idea and I end up losing focus on my main idea all together!
I can go from writing down a Humorist scene to a Dark scene in seconds without realizing.
It all just loops around itself so many times that I don't get anything done!

In the end of it all, I go; 'Screw it, I'm going to draw/redraw this scene that I made weeks ago and touch it up.'
(I'm definitely more the Artist then writer because I can keep straight focus on my drawings then I can with my writings.)

Maybe it is because: 'there's something you want to write but you're not sure if it makes sense?'
I really hesitate with my hands when it comes to typing, even when typing something as simple as a 'LOL'
Even writing this post down feels really... Struggleful?(Is that a word?)

Argh, I'm forever a hopeless writer it seems.

On a kind of related note:
I actually tried out Obscura method a few times... It kind of works.
The only thing I hate about is knowing how few words I write down in just an hour. (Not enough, let's say that.)
But it's help me a little bit, I still find myself getting easily distracted with things.

Re: Methods to keep you focus on writeing.

Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:22 am
by ThisIsNoName
ShippoK wrote: My problem is actually writing down an idea/scene in general.

I think of this pretty neat idea and go 'Hey, I should write this neat idea down! That sounds like an awesome idea to write.'
So I open up my Notepad/Microsoft word/Open office/jEdit, etc. I type maybe, 3-4 words... Then I just end up just stopping.
I know what I want to write down but my hands just feel incapable to move sometimes.

Even worse, my original idea sometimes just wonders into another idea and I end up losing focus on my main idea all together!
I can go from writing down a Humorist scene to a Dark scene in seconds without realizing.
It all just loops around itself so many times that I don't get anything done!

In the end of it all, I go; 'Screw it, I'm going to draw/redraw this scene that I made weeks ago and touch it up.'
(I'm definitely more the Artist then writer because I can keep straight focus on my drawings then I can with my writings.)
Have you tried doing a brain dump before you start writing? Just open notepad and literally write whatever comes to mind, as fast as you can. you might want to seperate thoughts by line, but it isn't necessary. The main thing is just to keep track of where your mind was when you started, so when you get stuck, you can look at it and say "Oh, yeah. That's what I wanted to do."

Re: Methods to keep you focus on writeing.

Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 3:09 am
by dramspringfeald
Locking everyone out and either turning up the radio or my headphones.

Re: Methods to keep you focus on writeing.

Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 5:07 pm
by arachni42
ShippoK wrote:Even writing this post down feels really... Struggleful?(Is that a word?)
Is it now! :D
ShippoK wrote:I think of this pretty neat idea and go 'Hey, I should write this neat idea down! That sounds like an awesome idea to write.'
So I open up my Notepad/Microsoft word/Open office/jEdit, etc. I type maybe, 3-4 words... Then I just end up just stopping.
I know what I want to write down but my hands just feel incapable to move sometimes.

Even worse, my original idea sometimes just wonders into another idea and I end up losing focus on my main idea all together!
I'm curious why you run into such a block so soon... and when you've just come up with an idea, it's really not a bad thing if it morphs into another idea.

Maybe instead of writing your idea, it would help to write about the idea? Sometimes I've had to do that when I've been like, "Ok, I've got this great idea... the main character is going to meet this person, and the conversation will be friendly at first, but will slowly turn sinister, and then the main character begins to react to this and..." Like, where my idea is about the feeling of it and how it plays out, but putting that into specifics right away may prove difficult.
MC: "Hello, person."
Person: "Hello, MC. Great weather we're having, isn't it?"
MC: "Yes, it's very sunny today."

ME: Ok, friendly small talk has been initiated... but I need like, 20 more lines of "friendly" stuff, then it needs to "slowly" turn sinister, so it's not like the next line (or ANY line) can be "MUhahhaaha!" ... er... you know what? I think it's time to take a break from writing...

I tend to combat this by forcing myself to write my idea as notes about what needs to be written:
*MC meets person, they talk friendly stuff... maybe the weather? then maybe... how they both like cats? or, well, maybe something that will foreshadow the sinister part, like, casually talking about politics which will brush on backstabbing and intrigue.. hmmm
*maybe like, 20 lines of this, then throw in a clue about something deeper going on
*this goes on for maybe 20 lines... maybe the frequency of references to sinisterness come more frequently... maybe towards the end of the "middle" the person chuckles evilly then writes it off
*then the real plot begins, and the person starts talking directly about the evil trap they've set for the main character. no wait, maybe they hint at it first -- maybe here, maybe back in the "middle" part? -- then [...]

And so forth. There are lots and lots and LOTS of "maybes." (That keeps me from worrying about whether an idea I have is terrible or not.) It's sort of like a brain dump. That way I get the idea down, and later I can come back and think about *how* to actually write it. I'll think, "Okay, the friendly part will probably be small talk, but I need a topic that foreshadows... does the politics one make sense? How do they get from the weather to that?" And I'll start *actually* writing dialogue. Even if it's messy, I keep in mind I can always edit it later.

Re: Methods to keep you focus on writeing.

Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:12 pm
by ShippoK
arachni42 wrote: I'm curious why you run into such a block so soon... and when you've just come up with an idea, it's really not a bad thing if it morphs into another idea.
I must have a brain of a child.
I want to do one thing then end up doing something else all together.
(After typing this I automatic went someplace else, god darn it!)
arachni42 wrote: And so forth. There are lots and lots and LOTS of "maybes." (That keeps me from worrying about whether an idea I have is terrible or not.) It's sort of like a brain dump. That way I get the idea down, and later I can come back and think about *how* to actually write it. I'll think, "Okay, the friendly part will probably be small talk, but I need a topic that foreshadows... does the politics one make sense? How do they get from the weather to that?" And I'll start *actually* writing dialogue. Even if it's messy, I keep in mind I can always edit it later.
I might try to get in the habit of the brain dump everything has told me to do.
Right now, I'm trying to at least write down what people say first then coming back to describe whats going on later.
I find writing dialog much easier then describing things in general. This method is working pretty well for me, I have scenes half-done now! (Oppose to not done at all.)

Thanks for the tips Arachni!

And Thanks to everyone for the tips and help, I feel about... 58% more focus on my writing then I ever was!

Re: Methods to keep you focus on writeing.

Posted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 4:16 pm
by Obscura
Here's an article on focus that might also help you out.

http://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2013/04 ... -to-focus/

Re: Methods to keep you focus on writeing.

Posted: Thu Apr 25, 2013 5:19 am
by Laniessa
If you have a difficult time simply writing the idea down, you should start with keywords!

For example, I have this idea of a bottle filled with sacred water that grants a wish and takes something in return, and the main character would be a greedy man who throws away all his bonds for self-satisfaction, and the second lead would be his mother sacrificing everything to try and regain her bond with her son.

(Personally, I'd just write that down, but anyway.)

I'm assuming you have an idea in your head already, for example, what I said above -

I'd write "wish-granting water + greedy guy + sad mom".

Since I have an idea of it already, I'd be able to interpret that, even if others are confused.

I'd then fill in gaps:

"wish-granting water (give and take system) + man who exchanges bonds for money etc + mother who exchanges money for bond w/ child"

After that, you could just take that and write a story outline, or you could expand it to the sentence above.

The most important thing is to have the idea nicely rounded out in your head, and actually like it. You need to have an interest in it. Pick out the parts that stood out the most - and jot it down as fast as you can. Add details. (You could do this on paper - like a brainstorm, or just arrows pointing to a keyword and words above it elaborating, too.)

(Practice also helps! Constantly try to write, longer periods of time if you can, and it should improve your focusing time.)

If you lack motivation, like I said, you need to like your idea. Don't force yourself to write something you don't want to. (Unless you're getting paid, or something.) The next step would be convincing yourself of the priority of this - make an alarm on your phone saying 'WRITE' or being as drastic as cutting off your internet. Take a notebook into an empty room and ask someone to lock you in, if you have to. Turn off your phone. Turn off wifi and 3g. (For my motivation, I just read fantastic works of literature and I get competitive and try to write myself, or I spend a few minutes closing my eyes and listening to my favourite songs. It differs from person to person, so...)

Re: Methods to keep you focus on writeing.

Posted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 1:52 am
by Destiny
There is actually a quite easy trick: chewing gum.

Don't believe it?
Try it out.

Chewing "chewing gum" is a very simple and effective thing to improve learning, writing or whatever.
The slight taste (AFTER the main taste is gone, so maybe start chewing before you start your action) will keep your mind occupied and make it hard to get distracted by smells.
The chewing movement keeps you from getting hungry, so you won't stop in the middle to get something to eat, since you can chew it more or less forever it also doesn't distract as much as always needing to stop writing to get the next chip, strawberry, sandwich or whatever to your mouth.
The chewing movement also improves your actual brain functions. Chewing makes your thinking better, you become more creative and concentrated. You could see chewing as a helpful massage for the brain.


The thing that is an additional help to chewing gum is headphones. They keep distracting noises away.
The only important thing is, that the music or sound shouldn't have actual words, because our mind tends to write what we hear or read. So instrumental songs work in a very positive way, especially if the music fits the mood of what you write.
If you don't want to have music or sound that fits the situation, then choose music that is positive and up-lifting (even if you are usually the type for dark or aggressive music). This music will keep your spirit and mood up and you need longer to get frustrated. If you dislike music like this, force yourself to listen to it for 5 minutes before writing. After such an amount of time, we usually start to not notice sounds (including music) around us as much as before. So despite music being played, you don't actively listen to it anymore, thus feeling no frustration about the unusual music anymore.

The last thing is that the workplace should be bright, the chair comfortable (but NOT super soft and relaxing, because that could actually make you feel tired) and your computer/notebook should face a wall instead of a door or window, to keep visual distractions low. If it faces a window, then put something in front of the window (like curtains) to avoid yourself accidentily seeing outside movements.


Lastly:
Don't overstrain yourself.
Take a break every 2-3 hours and do something totally different for half an hour.
Also, don't forget to eat good (and, if possible, half an hour before you start the first session, so that the initial fatigue is over when you start writing) and healthy to have enough energy for the brainy work.

Re: Methods to keep you focus on writeing.

Posted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 9:43 pm
by Mithfalath
And if it does hit you in the long run, try to go back to that very moment that started it all - what inspired you, how you conceptualized it, etc. Look back on your earlier resources and always, ALWAYS, have an end in mind. :) I'm not sure if it works with everybody - but it should! No point in trying to start something if you're not gonna finish it anyway. Sooner or later, that content's gonna come out and boy we'd hate to see that face of regret.

(I even had the courage to write this up even though I myself have some troubles in these! :? )