Whether you're a small business owner or solopreneur, writing plays a significant part in what you do: blog posts, business plans, emails to clients, social media posts, enewsletters.
Maybe you have help; maybe you do most of it yourself. Either way, your day is FULL, and when it's time to write you need to be sharp and focused-- but that full day can lead to lots of distractions.
Yet you still have a responsibility to create something of value for your audience.
Whether you feel inspired... or not.
Whether the thoughts are free-flowing... or not.
Whether the kids go to bed early...or not. (Let's be honest- probably not, right?)
But you really don't have the time to let writer's block stand in your way.
Because – and I don’t care what anybody says—writer’s block is a thing. I don’t believe it’s an actual block, but on some days, there is no doubt that it’s hard to find your muse, hard to get those fingers moving across the keyboard, hard to express what's in your head.
I still feel that way sometimes, and I’ve been writing in a personal or professional capacity since I was in grade school (I still remember the first “novel” I attempted- which I got bored with after writing 5 pages in my floral notebook. Or maybe that was my first case of writer’s block?).
When writing is your job, you find ways to cope because you need to do it no. matter. what. While writing might not be your full-time job, it is part of doing business online, so you need to be prepared to battle the block.
When you just can't seem to focus, here's what to do:
Get off the internet
Ok, let’s be real here. The internet is amazing but it’s also a black hole of wasted hours and unimportant things that suddenly seem important.
It is a super convenient form of distraction because it’s always right there, and it is sooo easy to suddenly find yourself scrolling Facebook, pinning new dinner recipes, checking your email for the zillionth time or Prime-ing a new novel, because you can.
If you’re trying to get some writing done, close out of your browser before you start. That way, you can’t see a new email or Facebook notification come in.
If you don’t have the self-control to be internet-free for a while, apps like Freedom can force you to focus by blocking the internet.
Not convinced this is important? According to the Freedom website, every time you check email or social media, it takes your mind 23 minutes to properly focus on your original task.
Imagine how much more productive you could be once you claim those 23 minutes back?
What’s the first thing you want to do when you get stuck in the middle of writing something? You want to do anything else but write.
If you start with and outline, you give yourself time to think out the structure of what you’re writing, and get down on paper everything you want to say. Once you have that flow established, it becomes easier to write—and you’re less likely to suddenly need to walk the dog, check Facebook or grab a snack.
Think: location, location, location
Where you write is so important—if you find yourself frequently distracted, a change in location might be just what you need.
If you typically write at home, your desk is probably filled with distractions—those preschool forms you need to fill out, bills to pay, papers to file. Your kids might be running around the house, the cat probably needs to be fed—is it any wonder you’re having a hard time finding focus?
Make it part of your routine to switch things up. Here are the places I like to head when I feel myself losing focus:
- Starbucks: Coffee, wifi, and a community of nomadic workers? It’s the perfect place.
- Library: The best place to rediscover the power of q-u-i-e-t.
- Panera: If you stay longer than you expected, you don’t have to leave to grab lunch.
- Outside: There’s something about fresh air and a breeze that is so reinvigorating.
Set a timer
Start with 10 minutes. Tell yourself that for just those 10 minutes, you have to write without allowing yourself to be distracted.
Then do another 10 minutes.
Then 20. Then 30.
The timer helps you feel like there is a definite end to all that concentration, and it allows you to not focus on when that end will be—the sound of the timer will tell you.
Think about the BIG goal
Are you motivated by goal setting? If so, think about the purpose of what you’re writing.
You aren’t just writing a blog article, you’re sharing your expertise and helping others.
You aren’t just writing a social media post, you’re connecting with your audience.
It can be a whole heck of a lot easier to write when you consciously realize how important it is for your business.
Write before the kids get up
One of the best times of day is early morning. It’s quiet. The kids are still sleeping. The hustle of the day hasn’t started yet. And because of this, you can be your most productive.
Start setting your alarm for 30 minutes before you know the kids will be awake, and use that time to write. It’s like finding extra time in your day.
(Confession: I totally struggle with this one, because I still get up once a night with Ro, and both my kids get up around 6:30 on a normal day. And also, I love sleep. But when I do manage to pull this off, it is glorious.)
Still can’t focus? Stop trying.
Go out for a walk. Do some yoga for 20 minutes. Catch a class at the gym. Whatever you need to do to get moving, do it. Guarantee that when you return, you’ll have the focus you were after.
Need a jumpstart? I can help.