Long Writing Sessions: how to keep focused

I tend to over do it when I’m in my writing zone. I will unknowingly spend 16 hours in front of a computer typing my next lines in my story. This does not mean I’ve not had many distractions along the way and a wander of the mind. This also does not mean the pull of social media isn’t always there. When I am in long sessions of writing I found the most effective way to stay focused and on task is to turn the volume off on my computer to not hear any alerts for anything else going on in the background, and set a timer.

If I turn off the volume this removes the temptation to see what the new updates and such with each new ping on the computer. I also find that my writing is much more focused when I do this before anything else in my day. No social media, no emails, no text messages, nothing except my manuscript before me and of course my faithful music to encourage imagination and calmness.

A timer is essential to make sure you take breaks on your long stints. This is useful in many ways. The most important is to stretch out between long periods of sitting. Along with the stretching comes much more primal and basic needs such as eating and using the restroom. I know I know that sounds ridiculous but I can tell you from experience I will sit in front of the computer for 5 or 6 hours before realizing my bladder is about to burst and that I haven’t eaten all day.

I did mention that I turn off the volume on my computer. When I’m forced to use my computer as my means for music, I will pull up internet explorer to use YouTube on because my social accounts are connected to my Google Chrome. I keep all other search engines closed to not encourage lounging around and getting caught up in the addictive and time consuming social media.

I often have to remind myself of these simple steps to keep me going and focused but its worth the daily reminder. It’s so easy to get caught up in imaginary land reading updates of people you will probably never meet or reading the next big scandal about this one or that one in the news. I get it believe me I do. It sucks you in and never lets you leave.

Unfortunately recently I’ve not followed my same advice in I’ve been attending to other issues online instead of my writing first. By the time I’m done with school, social media upkeep, and emails, I’m exhausted with little left to give to my writing. I need frequent reminders that as soon as I get up, I need to turn on my computer, get a cup of coffee, turn off my computer’s volume, set a timer and start writing. Not occasionally but every single day. Writing takes dedication, time, and commitment.

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