So I was doing some calculations, and it looks like that as a writer here, I put out about 2,000 words of polished, fact-checked content on a daily basis. It’s kind of like writing an eight-page (double spaced) paper every day. That basically means that when I’m not in planning or strategy meetings, or trying to explain to my coworkers how awesome the hot dogs in Iceland are (running work joke), I’m writing.
I think for even the most seasoned of writers it can be difficult to keep yourself focused on writing for a stretch of multiple hours, but with a few techniques, it’s seriously doable. I promise. So if you’re tired of running into brick walls in your writing, here are a few ways that I “keep myself sane” as a writer.
Get enough sleep.
I cannot stress this point enough. If you’re going to spend a number of hours writing on any given day, you need to get enough sleep beforehand. If you don’t, you’re only going to have a shorter attention span and make tons of silly mistakes in your writing (seriously—the typing mistakes you’ll make on lack of sleep are embarrassing.) Just baby yourself and see getting enough sleep as part of your job if you do any significant amount of writing on a daily basis.
On a similar note, it’s also important to take breaks as you need them. Otherwise, you’ll wear yourself out on a marathon of writing and then mentally check out for the rest of the day. It’s kind of like when people who go on crash diets eventually cave and binge on all the food in all the world. So, instead of “binge-breaking,” take small, controlled breaks throughout the day. (No multi-tasking during these breaks, either.) Some of my go-to break time activities:
- social media
- lifting hand weights
- eating (haha)
- lying down while listening to a favorite track with headphones on
- thinking while staring out a window
- cleaning the office (especially my workspace)
- brainstorming future creative side projects
Listen to ambient noise.
If you read the Gravitate blog regularly, you’ve probably figured out that we have a knack for making noise and distracting each other. I personally like the ambient noise because I find that in a weird way, it helps keep me focused. This might not be for everyone, but if you’re having a hard time focusing on your writing, I suggest trying out a site like Coffitivity. It literally just plays a long stream of ambient cafe noise that has a weird way of getting you in the zone. Put on some sweet headphones and turn the volume up.
Drink a heck-ton of water.
1) You should probably be drinking more water anyway. 2) It gives you something mindless to do while you’re writing. And 3) you’ll think more clearly, more quickly, and more creatively. Because science.
Move your workspace.
Maybe this is just a Maurine thing, but I find that it helps to move to a new workspace every few hours or so. Maybe sit upright on a sofa for a few hours, and then sit at a desk for the next few hours. The change of scenery can be really refreshing.
Have a creative outlet.
If you’re regularly completing writing assignments without doing any sort of “stream of consciousness” writing on your own, you might forget why it is that you love writing so much in the first place. Have some sort of creative outlet where you can write without any sort of outside pressures. I find that blogging, journaling, and even just having deep, thought-provoking conversations with others are all great for this.