top of page

How to Battle Distraction as a Writer (5 Ways to Rediscover Focus)


blog post cover, pink and blue

Do you find yourself frequently distracted as a writer? Well then, my friend, you are NOT alone. Whether your attention is divided by the internet or a busy schedule, this post is designed to help you rediscover focus and follow through on writing projects!



floral divider segment


1 | FIND YOUR VISION


One of my ultimate secret weapons to fighting distraction is to focus on my vision instead of the distractions. For me, my vision involves growing closer to Christ, pursuing peace, and using my words to show people how loved and valuable they are.


What do you want to be focusing on? It's likely that the things you're most distracted by are good things. However, when something isn't serving your vision, it's often taking from it.


What are your overarching goals? What dreams are you chasing after? If you don't know yet, spend some time thinking about and creating them. Get out a notebook and make a list of the relationships and things that are the most important in your current season of life.


Spending time in prayer and quiet reflection has helped me to recenter on what matters.


Once you have your vision, you can use it as a measuring tool for your schedule. For example, I could ask myself something like, "Does spending hours on Pinterest allow me to grow closer to Jesus? Does scrolling social media bring me peace? Does saving pins and liking posts truly show people how loved they are?" Often, the answer is no. For me, Pinterest does not fit my vision and is a distraction.


"Without a vision, the people perish." (Proverbs 29:18)


Deciding on your vision is so powerful because it will allow your to streamline your commitments, honor God with your time, and avoid becoming a victim to busyness.

pink blue and black vintage writing photo


2 | SET LIMITS AND BOUNDARIES


Focus requires discipline, and discipline requires healthy boundaries. Set a specific amount of time to work on a project and commit to staying focused during that time frame.


Here are a few resources that have helped me stay in healthy margins...


FREEDOM

I talk about this app blocker quite often, but for good reason. It's so helpful, and I use it for school as well. Freedom allows you to schedule block sessions for specific times, create personalized blocklists of distracting apps and websites, and (my favorite) create locked sessions. Locked sessions make it impossible to end the current block session until it's over. This has been a game-changer for me, since I can be rather persistent with getting sidetracked. I highly recommend checking it out!


SCREEN TIME

True, this feature is only available on Apple devices, but if you do use a Mac computer to write, it's super helpful. I use Screen Time to block specific apps (especially website browsers) when I write. I love it because, unlike Freedom, it is possible to end sessions. If I need to research something important for a chapter I'm writing, I like to give myself 1-3 minutes to ignore the time limit.


POMODORO SPRINTS

I love this method of sprinting. 25 minutes of working and a 5 minute break. This makes writing sessions feel doable, and my break isn't so long that I get distracted. I like to pair music with my timer to get ultra focused. Abbie Emmons has some ✨amazingwriting playlists on YouTube that are set to immersive music and a Pomodoro timer. I use these all the time, and you can find them here.


Setting limits and boundaries for yourself will correct bad habits and help you stay on track with your vision.

pink notebook pens and laptop


3 | CREATE DAILY SCHEDULES


I find that I'm more easily distracted when I don't have a clear purpose or plan for the day.


Small, daily checklists can make any daunting task feel more manageable. It also gives my schedule more purpose, organizes my racing thoughts, and keeps me from forgetting important things.


Try making a mini checklist first thing in the morning or the night before. You can do this on a sticky note, calendar, or a notes app. Make sure it's neat and aesthetically pleasing to look at, or it will be overwhelming. It doesn't have to be detailed or extravagant. In fact, I find that a minimalistic checklists keeps me from getting overwhelmed and overcommitted.


Fill your checklist with basic tasks that line up with your vision and current commitments. It also helps to order the tasks in a way that will be productive for you. What will you do first? What is the most essential task? What tasks have deadlines?


pink tea cup with flowers


4 | MINIMALIZE CLUTTER


Clutter causes distraction because the mind is constantly jumping from one thing to the next.


Say you have a jar of rocks. The rocks represent tasks and commitments. If you fill up your jar with small rocks that aren't as important, you won't have any room for big rocks. But, if you put the big important rocks in first, there will still be room to fit in some smaller rocks.


Your schedule and work space is the same. Focus on minimizing the distractions you can control, and creating order in your daily life.


What unnecessary clutter exists in your schedule? What distractions could you eliminate from the environment around you (such as your desk)?

person typing on laptop with latte


5 | MAKE ROOM FOR STILLNESS

While inspiration is important, it's also vital to not get distracted by it. Don't let inspiration be an excuse to get sidetracked.


When you have a break, take that time to rest and cultivate inner creativity. Don't fill up your free time with more projects, screen time, or distractions. Journal, pray, meditate, or spend time in nature.


Make room for stillness to avoid burnout because a tired mind is a divided and distracted mind. Finding ways to make the most of my breaks was a life changer for me, and gave me the clarity and creativity I needed to get back to work.


“Come to me,all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28)


How can you rejuvenate yourself? What does your body, mind, and spirit need? How can you rest today?

The Hobbit novel with tea and pink laptop


floral divider segment


Finding focus is a daily battle for me, but being intentional to implement these tips has greatly improved my ability to focus and create. I hope this post does the same for you!


Originally posted on M.L. Milligan's blog.



LET'S TALK

What is your vision? How do you rest and renew creative energy? Have you tried making small, daily schedules before? What is your secret weapon for discovering focus? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!




Now go change the world,

-Ava




85 views6 comments

6 Comments


Issabelle Perry
Issabelle Perry
Jul 02, 2023

Oooo Ava, this was SUCH a good post!!!! I am definitely going to be implementing these tips as I um... *cough* am kinda the worst at staying focus. *hides* I absolutely LOVE the first tip about finding your vision. I always find myself forgetting to focus on what really matters instead of getting wrapped up in things that don't. Like here lately, I've had a hard time writing because I'm always fearing what people will think instead of focusing on just writing the book that God wants me to write. So yes will DEFINITELy be remembering this more! Thank you so much!!! Again, I loved reading this post!

Like
Ava Hope
Ava Hope
Jul 07, 2023
Replying to

Aww, Is, thank you so much!! Mm, I can relate. You're definitely not alone in that! I need to remember that more too. ❤️ You're so welcome, girl! I'm glad it was helpful! :D

Like

Deigan Marie
Deigan Marie
Jun 26, 2023

This was such a great post, Ava, and I SO enjoyed it! You did great. 🥰 I will definitely be implementing these tips in my own writing!

Like
Ava Hope
Ava Hope
Jun 28, 2023
Replying to

Thank you so much, friend! I'm so glad you enjoyed it 🥰

Like

Saraina Whitney
Saraina Whitney
Jun 23, 2023

These are incredible tips, girl!!! I love the perspective of does this align with my vision? All too often we get caught up in things that don't even matter to us in the long run!


Thank you for sharing this! <3

Like
Ava Hope
Ava Hope
Jun 26, 2023
Replying to

Thank you so much, Saraina!! <333 Yes, it's so true!

Like
bottom of page