Creative writing, particularly with longer projects such as novels, takes a lot of focus and concentration. Not only do you need to be patient but you need to be able to think about the same story for long periods of time.
Contrary to what people may think about the brain, focus is not something which you should push yourself to do excessively as this can cause overload and even push you away from writing because your mind has focussed too much on the same thing or on too many things at the same time.
There are some easy ways to keep this skill in shape:
1. Writing by hand.
I like working on computers. They bring a lot of benefits to creative writing but when I remember the days of writing down on a pad, there’s a lot of benefit to that too. For one thing there is no constant internet distraction when I’m sat with a pen and a pad. There’s nothing but me and the writing. Whereas when I’m writing on a computer, I can get drawn into googling everything, checking email or doing something else. You don’t need to remove technology completely, just spend regular time with pen and paper too. Put a notepad and a pen near your bed or keep a handwritten journal. Keep it free but regular. Make it a collaborative effort between computers and handwriting.
Again, I would advocate getting an actual magazine of varying puzzles and doing this manually. Games and electronics or fine but they tend to have extra features which can detract from the simplicity of focussing hard on one puzzle. This can be hard to get back into if you’ve not done it for a long while but once you do you’ll wonder why you ever stopped. Again, don’t make it a chore, just keep it reasonably regular.
3. Old Games
Remember the old computer games that had a beginning, middle and end instead of 5 million levels or so. They either took a long time to complete or had three levels and you were finished in a day but they were much more fulfilling despite the lack of speed and graphics. Again, this is more focussed than competitive and has less extra features for distraction. Older games often required patience and focussed problem-solving, relying on gameplay over graphics.
Why the Nostalgia?
I love technology but I’ve become aware of how multi-tasking it seems to be now. While on one hand this is great, on the other hand, focussing can become split between several tasks at once on too regular a basis. Think about the internet. At one time if you wanted to know something, you had to read a book or to ask someone. You might have got back a few sources of information and then had time to think about it. Now, you can google it and get millions of varying answers back in seconds. While this is useful, the immediacy seems to draw away from reflection in that its such a fast process. Try limiting the search engine process except when in need of quick answers.
This is a very specific type of writing and in doing regular blogs on a particular subject you keep a good focus on it while allowing freedom to look at other areas. This can be great, especially if you’re struggling to fit writing around a busy schedule.
5. Keep things down-to-earth
It can be tempting as writers to start wanting to turn things into a crusade. You think that you need to improve your concentration and go on a huge trawl for any and all techniques to do so. Yet in doing this you are actually turning it into a mission. This can work but sometimes it’s better just to keep the changes to a minimum. Tell yourself you’re just going to get a puzzle book and do the odd one from time to time and you’ve done something to improve your concentration without it become a dominant direction in your mindset.
So if you are struggling with your concentration try one of these tips and see if it helps. Think of when your writing was its best and what you did at that time. Did you watch a lot of films? Did you read a lot of books? Chances are that something you thought may have just been fun was something that helped you to concentrate.
- Creative Writing: Keeping The Fire Burning (pittsburghflashfictiongazette.com)
- 6 Suggestions For Your First Jab At Creative Writing (tfollowers.com)
- Creative Writing (dpswan.wordpress.com)
- The Ideal Job (createamelody.com)
- Fort Pierce Library will host creative writing seminar on Dec. 22 (tcpalm.com)
- Simply Write to Improve (smartwrite.com.au)
- It’s late, my mind is tired, and so I have no title for this. (khazekamp.wordpress.com)
- How to attract real online customers by creating fake ones (marketing.yell.com)
- Four Keys to Quality Creative Writing (cutewriting.blogspot.com)
- Finding the Best Time to Write (bardicblogger.wordpress.com)
- Creative Writing Ideas – How to be Creative Writing Ideas Stuff? (education9.wordpress.com)
- Fort Pierce Library creative writing seminar canceled (tcpalm.com)
- Inside the Writer’s Mind – Flow and Pressure (bardicblogger.wordpress.com)
- Day 22 – The Effect of Boredom on Creative Writing (bardicblogger.wordpress.com)
Thanks for posting. Your suggestions are practical and work. It’s always good to have a reminder.
Thanks. I think I need to remind myself of them from time to time.
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