Finding Focus

“Con-Cen-Tra-Tion! Can-You-Hear-Me? If-So-Lets-Go!”

-I’m probably the only one who remembers that little rhyme from grade school.

Like a lot of writers, I’m always on the search for an ideal setting to write in. We’ve all dreamt about a perfect place where the sun is shining, the perfect breeze drifts through your pristine lace curtains, and the sound of the cheerfully chirping birds serenade you as steam from your freshly brewed cup of tea wafts the delicate smell of roses into your nostrils. My ideal spot is both in a cosy coffee shop with a warm latte by my side, or cool towel on the beach with the waves of the ocean crashing against the rocks.

Just you, your writing, and peace. It’s the only place you can get any writing done whatsoever.

Yeah, we all know that’s bull.

If you’re anything like me, you write in pure chaos. I find my laptop time is spent crunched up on the corner of my couch with a fat, meowing cat on my head. The only serenades I get are the “pew pew pews!” coming from my husband’s Playstation as he destroys aliens. And lets not get started on the constant cell phone interruptions, bathroom breaks, stomach growls, and while I don’t have children, I’m sure that just adds even more to the mix for those who do.

Lets face it. We are busy, busy people! I’ve had a writer tell me that the only place she can get words in was at her son’s soccer games. I sneak words in while at work in between unruly customers. Another writer I know writes everything in a small journal she hangs around her neck while working at a daycare and transcribes it later. Through our chaotic lives, focus eludes us. You write with distractions, you write while multi-tasking, and when you go back to review your work, you cock your head to the side and think “What the hell did I just write?”

Focus can be eluding.

Everyone has their own ways of finding “The Zone.” A big factor for my focus is sound. Voices are a huge problem for me. I will listen in on the conversations around me instead of the conversations my characters are having inside my head. So instead of being a nosy busy body, I plug my headphones into various “white noise” websites to keep my focus steady.

Here are just a few I use:

  • Focus at Will is my favorite. It generates music that helps enhance concentration
  • has everything. You want coffee shop murmurs? Ocean waves? Spooky ambient sounds? This one has it.
  • Rainy Mood is exactly what it sounds like. A lovely rainy day.

Once I can get my ears concentrated on something else I can hear the voices of my characters as clear as a bell. Then I can write with numerous cats on my head while the husband saves the galaxy… In high-definition stereo. Even when I can’t get to that perfect coffee shop, I still keep on writing. That makes the visits to my ideal spot all the more productive.

What are your favorite ways to find focus? Or are you someone who can concentrate in any situation? Do you have an ideal writing space to retreat to? Do you write with a cat on your head?

Share with us in the comments section! …Especially if you write with a cat on your head. I want to feel less alone in that respect.



1 thought on “Finding Focus

  1. I use to help me stay focused. I’ll set a 30 minute Meditation with a 5 minute Interval, start it up, and force myself to write. The intervals are great for reminding me to get back on track if my mind starts to wander or I find myself doing something I shouldn’t be doing (which is everything except for writing). I’ll sit with my butt in the chair until the final gong sounds, then get up and stretch… and do it all over again!

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