Tips For Writers By Mary Jaksch Can you maintain your focus when writing? If so, you’re a wonder! Most people struggle to maintain focus. They feel scattered and find it difficult to stay on track. I recently got an email from one of our readers, Barrett Caton. He said: I tend to over-think things when I write. Sometimes it just feels like a part of my mind is scattered all over the place, and it’s affecting my writing. How can I remove this annoying barrier? Do you suffer from a similar malaise? If so, don’t worry. You’re not alone! The reason we struggle to maintain focus is simple: our brains are wired to pay attention to all the sensory input we are inundated with. The sunbeam hitting your paper, the sound of cars passing, the way your new tee scratches your neck. The smell of coffee beans from the nearby cafe. And the distractions we face … Your phone rings. You wonder whether your friend on Facebook replied to your comment. Unpaid bills press in on you at the back of your mind. You remember that you didn’t do the grocery shopping. Your loved ones clamor for attention. And on and on it goes… Where does that leave the piece you are writing? What piece? Oh, the one I was just writing. Now let me think … what was I about to say? Sometimes it’s a wonder we ever get to finish a piece, don’t you think? Back to Barrett: I told him how I maintain focus when I feel scattered. It’s simple. I listen to music that helps me focus. There;s a site, called Focus at Will where you can get a free account and listen to music chosen for improved concentration. There is a lot of research that music can help us focus. In particular, music with about 60 beats a minute calms you down and puts your mind into a state where you can be focused and creative. Why is it so important to maintain focus when writing? If we maintain focus for at least five minutes, we can enter a zone where we can push the limits of our capability. Yes, when we are focused, and push ourselves into that special zone, it can result in magic! What about you? How do you maintain your focus when writing? I’d love to receive your tips so that I can put together a resource for writers. Please share your tips and thoughts in the comments. As to Barrett, he’s 14 years old. You can tell he’s going to be an outstanding writer. He’s got the drive: I love to write, whether it’s at school, in my spare time or on the toilet. He’s an inspiration, isn’t he? I look forward to reading your tips!