Laser-Focused writing habits are possible and can be achieved with practice. Here are 4 tips that will help you improve your writing today.
Sometimes I don’t like Microsoft Word. There, I admitted it. It’s not for lack of features or anything like that. It’s simply that the program has too many distractions. When you add to that all of the other programs on my laptop, it makes it even worse. I know I need to be writing, but there are always email, web browsers, and lots of other interesting things to explore.
I know a lot of people are like this. They are constantly pulled in too many different direction and adding distractions with overblown word processors like Microsoft Word is too much.
1. Limiting Those Distractions
First, find a quiet place to write that is free from distractions. I frequently use noise cancellation headphones to help tune out the TV and other things in the room. Second, turn off your email, Twitter client, web browser and all of the other distractions on your computer. Don’t forget about your cell phone, it can be the worst distraction of all.
2. Picking the Right Time
When is your best time for writing? Some people are at their creative best first thing in the morning, while others need more time to fully wake up. Utilizing your best writing time can be one of the easiest ways to improve your productivity.
3. Music – Magic within the Notes
I’m somewhat picky on the music I listen to while writing. I typically enjoy instrumentals because lyrics can be a distraction. My personal preference of recent has been Hans Zimmer, but classical also works well.
Here are some of my favorite links for writing from YouTube. I usually keep one or two of my these on my desktop. This gives me easy access when I’m ready to start pounding on the keyboard.
4. A Distraction-Free Editor
Sometimes it is helpful to get rid of all of the annoying bells and whistles found in many word processors. Most word processors constantly remind me to go back and fix my mistakes instead of moving forward with creativity.
I’ve been experimenting with a new editor called Q10. It’s free and is available for Microsoft Windows. The program is known as a distraction-free editor and takes up the entire screen to remove all computer distractions from sight. While it comes with a spell checker, it only runs when you tell it to so so it does not get in the way.
I really like the classic typewriter sound when typing. The carriage return sound is also a classy feature whenever the enter key is pressed. Q10 comes with an alarm that lets you know when you are done writing. The fact that it is built into the program makes it convenient.
So, does the program reduce distractions? Like most things in life, I have some pros and cons with the program. I definitely think the full screen editor keeps other programs from being a distraction. I also like the idea that I am able to set the alarm using the quick and easy presets and work until my time is up.
The only disadvantage for me is that the full screen editor keeps me from seeing my notes in another program. If you have 2 screens, you can easily move your notes to the second screen. If not, printing them may be another option if this is how you like to write.
What Works for You?
Everybody has their own habits when it comes to writing. What is currently working for you achieve laser-focused writing? Are there certain habits that you have picked up that really help you out? If so, please leave them in the comment section.
Photo courtesy of John Levanen