Writing Focus

Writing focus: How to keep focused while writing

Writing as an art form has been around for thousands of years. Ancient Epics like the Epic of Gilgamesh and religious texts like the Hebrew Bible are testament to the human ability to convey meaning out of seemingly abstract signs. But while writing – and reading – is often thought of as an art-related way of spending one’s time, writing is not always as fun as it may seem. Ask any student whether or not that essay on Israeli-Palestinian relations was fun to write, and you have your answer. Having writing focus can be tough, and sometimes writing can be extremely boring. Not necessarily because the topic is boring, but because the act of writing takes a lot of hard work. So, when Ph.D. students or professional writers like Stephen King punch out hundreds of books, we marvel at their capability. 

Luckily, writing does not have to be a chore. Writing can be a fun way to spend your time. In this brief blog post, I will share some secrets on how I stay focused on writing. But first of all, a question needs answering: What is focused writing? Well, the answer might be obvious, but the process of getting focused writing is not. One of the key factors that are known to disturb a writer’s concentration is the outside world, and if you want to get rid of these disturbances there are some tips and tricks that you might think helpful. 


In the act of writing, the setting is everything. If you are prone to lose focus on writing, it is important to analyze your surroundings to figure out what is disturbing you. As an example, if you sit down to write in the middle of a busy office or at a train station, noises and people walking close by distracting your auditory and physical concentration, making focused writing near impossible. Another example is if you try and write out an important blogpost in the middle of your living room, with children screaming in the background and the TV volume turned up, you might have some difficulty staying focused writing that important text because of emotive and auditory disturbances. 

To keep your focus solely on your writing, you need to take charge of your surroundings and sort out everything that may distract you:

  • Go to a quiet environment (A closed office space, an empty room, or maybe even a well-heated cellar)
  • Turn off any technological devices that are not necessary for your writing (TV, radio, social media notifications)
  • Sit on an uncomfortable chair (Stephen King has used this with great results)
  • Put your desk against the wall (Again, a trick that has worked very well for Stephen King)
  • Ditch the group mentality (Writing in groups is often near impossible)


Surely, the only tool one needs to write is paper and a pen? Well, yes. But today’s market is booming with software and tech that will make your planning and focused writing so much easier. Whether you want to have your draft proofread by software, a digital template for your book, or an organizer for all your writers’ projects, there is a tool for you. Of course, software products like MS Word are invaluable and used with great success by almost every modern writer. But the increasing use of the free Google Docs shows us, that people do not necessarily go the conservative route when choosing their favorite writing software. So, I have compiled a shortlist with my recommended tools for writing:

  • Google Docs (This is free and allows you to always access your manuscript while making it a lot easier, if you want feedback, as multiple people can edit documents at the same time).
  • Grammarly (Free software that spellchecks your draft. This is invaluable if you struggle with punctuation).
  • Keyword tool (Is free and allows you to compile a use of keywords before you start writing, to increase traffic for your blog – or eBook).
  • Hemingway (Free editing tool, that marks instances of passive voice, qualifiers, and adverbs. Great for creating concise and interesting prose).
  • Using a writing focus app (Many apps have timers available, that tell you when to take a break).


Have trouble staying motivated and keeping your writing focus? Well, do not be alarmed. Everyone experiences a dip in their motivation when writing content or papers. The lure of the couch, or – if you are in an office – the coffee machine can be overwhelming. And sometimes it is totally fine to take a break. If that break turns into several hours of doing focused writing, then there shouldn’t be anything to worry about. Luckily there are life hacks you can use if you want to keep your motivation in check.

  • Set a timer or use apps like Marinara Timer (Make sure you take small 5-minute breaks every 30-40minutes. Get up, make a cup of tea, and then get back to work).
  • Listen to instrumental music (This has helped many famous writers punch out masterpieces. Stephen King listens to Heavy Metal, but this is only recommended for fans of the genre. Otherwise, you can try instrumental versions of Disney songs on YouTube).
  • Set manageable goals. (Do not just write blind. Know what you want to accomplish, and stop when you have reached that goal).
  • Stop your writing in the middle of a sentence (This way, when you sit back down, your mind will immediately start to finish that sentence and then finish another, and another).
  • Do not edit your text while writing. (Editing is a whole different process than writing, and if you mix it, you will burn out. So, do not worry about punctuation or spelling mistakes).
Research topic


Many people assume that writing is easy on the body and hard on the mind. However, this is not the case. Your mind needs fuel and proper conditions to be productive and do focused writing. You do not need to drink protein shakes, but you need some form of hydration and nutrition. Of course, every writer has their preferred product, and while writers have been famous for drinking a lot on the job – or doing coke – this is not recommended. But some things are universal when it comes to keeping your body and your mind fit for focused writing.

  • Drink water. Or, if you are low on energy, drink some coffee.
  • Make sure that you eat well.
  • Try to avoid high-calory food. Instead, eat some vegetables. (Actually, vegetables are great for snacking while writing!)
  • If you are running real low on blood sugar, some candy here and there will not kill you.
  • Get a good night of sleep.
  • Do some stretching every 30 minutes to loosen your shoulders (This keeps away cramps).
  • Make sure you do something physical before you start working.


Writing can be tough. Although it is usually viewed as a hobby or an art form, writing lengthy articles – or books, demands a lot from its writer. Not only is it a mental strain, but it is also hard to sit for eight hours straight at your desk, punching out sentence after sentence. You can do focused writing, but you need to be aware of your surroundings. If you plan and make sure to delimitate potential distractions, there is nothing to hinder your potential writing focus. 

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