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Don’t get distracted

Somebody once said about writing, “If it’s easy you’re not doing it right”.

And because it is so difficult it’s easy to get distracted, here are a couple of little tips to concentrate the mind. If like me your procrastination and displacement activity reaches ever more creative levels the moment you open a word doc, try these things:

First is the 25 minute rule; set the timer on your computer to a 25 minute countdown, the rule is once you start the countdown you’re not allowed to do anything else but write or think about your writing, no internet, no social media, no putting the kettle on, no catching up on the News Headlines and definitely no Solitaire!

After 25 minutes give yourself a five minute break, cheat! Give yourself 10 minutes! You deserve it!

Because the 25 minutes focused work you have done will have been more productive than an hour of dipping in and out of it. Repeat four times and then have a longer break, 30 minutes, grab yourself a snack, make yourself a sandwich, have a cup of tea.

And then set the timer and get going again.

Marry this with this tip:

Turn off the spelling and grammar correct function on your word document.

I have terrible spelling and grammar ability, my documents are littered with red and blue squiggly lines. The temptation is always to go and click on them and make sure everything is grammatically correct and that I is before A in that particular word. It’s just a way avoiding doing the hard work of actual writing!

Once you’ve completed your day’s work, go back and turn the functions on, go through your document and make sure that I is before E and that semi-colon is in the right place. It will also give you a little bookend to your day’s struggles and leave you with that little bit of satisfaction that your seminal piece is that little bit closer to completion.

Try it next time you’re writing.

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