How to concentrate on writing

Writer says to woman 'I've written another 500 words, can I have a cookie?'When I am up against a deadline and I absolutely, definitely have to get on with my work, I use a few tactics to force myself to concentrate:

  1. Switch off email. I don’t start Outlook (or if I do, I disable all the notifications that tell me I have new mail).
  2. Isolate myself. I use Bose noise-cancelling headphones but don’t plug them into anything. The silence really is golden.
  3. Greed and guilt. I remind myself how much money I’m getting paid for a particular assignment and how ashamed I will be if I miss the deadline. This actually works sometimes.
  4. Stop with the blog already. When I’m pressed for time, distractions like blogging and hoovering become very compelling. Knowing this makes it easier to resist.
  5. Get up early. 6am is the most productive time of day for writing. No distractions. It also feels more virtuous than staying up late with work.
  6. Little treats. I bribe myself: ‘Matthew, if you write another 500 words, you can have a cup of tea and a biscuit.’
  7. Chunking. Setting a timer or alarm clock for 15, 20, 30, 50 minutes and doing nothing but writing until it goes off and then taking a break seems like a good way to make progress.
  8. Go full screen. Switching Word into full screen mode (from the view menu) eliminates all distractions but the piece I’m working on.
  9. Shitty first draft. Splitting the work into distinct writing and editing phases breaks the job down nicely and it takes off some of the pressure to ‘get it right first time’.
  10. Change location. Sometimes, if I’m really struggling to get started, taking a laptop or my notebook to a cafe and scribbling out something there – a fresh new location – is a good way to jolt-start an assignment.

[Update 10 March 2010: there's a newer version of this article with lots more tips: 22 ways to stay focused on writing.]

Cartoon Copyright (c) The New Yorker, via CartoonBank.com.

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186 Responses to How to concentrate on writing

  1. Owen Lystrup July 4, 2006 at 7:21 am #

    Great bit of advice, Matthew.

    I laughed when I read the “treat” thing. I was thinking of a bit of candy or maybe an ice cream. Tea and biscuits must be a treat in the UK. Here, however, I think someone would probably have to make me eat it.

    You misspelled “cna” by the way.

    Always kidding you.

    Thanks for your help a few days back!

  2. Richard Millington July 4, 2006 at 7:34 am #

    I have to agree with that. I worked on freelance for a few gaming magazines to pay tuition over the years. Points 3 and 5 resonate especially with me.

  3. Nancy Friedman July 4, 2006 at 2:51 pm #

    Great suggestions. Here’s one more: Start in the middle…or the end…then back and fill. Sometimes a great lede springs into mind immediately; more often it doesn’t. Why pressure yourself to make it happen? Instead–to mis-apply a phrase–write what you know. Tell the anecdote, quote the quote, get to the crux of the matter. And trust (this is important) that the rest will fall gracefully into place.

  4. Phil July 5, 2006 at 1:17 pm #

    Very similar to my approach for getting design assignments going. Must be the same part of the brain that needs coaxing.

  5. jcn July 6, 2006 at 8:28 am #

    good advice.
    however, i have to disagree with
    #2, because music really helps me forgetting everything around me
    #3, because if you are not satisfied with your job, or having a hard time, this can be a kill switch
    #5, because some people (like me) have problems getting up early. if i get up before 7am it takes me almost an hour to get my morning stuff done. if i wake up at 8am, i can do it in 20 minutes.
    and stating that working late is not virtuous just isn’t true. the dark, the silence, noone to distract you. all good arguments on working close to midnight.

    the article is still a good read.

  6. The Lazy Canadian July 6, 2006 at 9:08 am #

    Great ideas. I use some of those techniques, and have found a few new ones, too. Great article. :D

  7. Bill Harper July 6, 2006 at 9:44 am #

    I nice way to stop editing yourself during the first draft is to turn off your computer screen. Now you have no choice but to just keep typing. (Don’t forget to save, though. Find the keyboard shortcut before you switch the screen off.)

    Bill.

  8. dcrad July 6, 2006 at 10:02 am #

    I dont really do any writing, but can relate to the tips a lots when I want to get something done.

    Even more so with point 5, I’ve been trying to train myself in to the habit of getting up at 7am every morning in order to gain an hour or so every day of quality time to do things.

  9. El Diablo De Verde July 6, 2006 at 10:16 am #

    If you’re on a Mac, Write Room is a new, “distraction-free” word processor. It’s kind of light-weight, but I think that’s the point. It’s quite elegant, and if they had a screenplay template, it’d be perfect. ;)

  10. Sapo July 6, 2006 at 10:45 am #

    Nice, i always had problems to write (code) because of distractions, right now i should be coding, but i m posting this :(

    I ll try to follow your tips, starting right now.. i m just gonna smoke a cigaret after fixing the bug the showed up yesterday.. hope i dont die from abstinence…

  11. Aral Balkan July 6, 2006 at 10:56 am #

    I pretty much have the exact same Top 10 list in my head — it’s good to see I’m not alone :)

  12. ChaZ July 6, 2006 at 11:16 am #

    I find it better listening to music. I listen to heavy metal, but some trance / dance always does the trick for me.

  13. Brad Strickland July 6, 2006 at 11:20 am #

    I actually have a pair of the noise cancelling headphones from Bose. I only thought they were good from blocking out the wife. “Shes talking click… Shes not talking click… Shes talking click… Shes not talking” well you get the point. I think that is a great idea for those “I’m easily distracted” moments.

  14. Mertas July 6, 2006 at 11:41 am #

    Thanks a lot. Simple but very useful. = )

  15. Jim July 6, 2006 at 11:50 am #

    This also applies to programming/coding.

  16. Mivyush July 6, 2006 at 12:02 pm #

    Hello!I am from Russia and I want to be a writer.
    Thank you, How to concentrate on writing- very good advices.

  17. antiknijn July 6, 2006 at 12:12 pm #

    The silence tip is a good one, although I take a slightly different approach. I usually put on classical piano music, Chopin is a favorite. It really calms you down and helps to focus as long as it is not too loud and intense.

  18. Keith July 6, 2006 at 12:45 pm #

    This is one great piece of guideline to follow. In fact there are a few more to add on, such as, “Disconnect entirely from the Internet”, and “Put a small note on your desktop”. I’m sure all these little things help. Well, the main thing now is for me to “Stop Blogging“.

  19. Michael July 6, 2006 at 12:49 pm #

    I found that having a television in the same room, whether it’s on or off, is going to cause problems too.

    Aside from that, agreed 100%, especially regarding early mornings.

  20. Gareth Powell July 6, 2006 at 1:10 pm #

    I write for a living. For me the trick is to start early and have a sleep in the middle of the day. All of the suggestions listed work although on newspapers noise is the norm rather than the exception. Now I think I could write in any environment, no matter how noisy.
    The trick, mentioned by nearly everyone, is to get it down. Hammer away until you have finished the first draft and then go back and edit.
    I would add one rule.
    Tell your partner that if you are stopped for any reason death will ensue. It takes me about twenty minutes to seriously be in writing mode. Someone asking me ‘just’ to put out the garbage loses me forty minutes of high speed writing. And puts me in a rage. This is not clearly understood by non-writers.

  21. Eric Martindale July 6, 2006 at 1:15 pm #

    On point number eight, I go a step further and use Google Writely ( http://www.writely.com ) in full screen mode ( F11 ). The interface is much cleaner, less distraction. It’s also a bit more cheery.

  22. THe Negotiant July 6, 2006 at 1:22 pm #

    My tip – I write long pieces of text in notepad. No Formatting of anykind, just to get the words out. Otherwise, you’d be amazed at how much time I can spend determining font size, margins, line spacing, etc..etc..etc.

    When I was in in college, I would sometimes have to just “copy con bob.txt” if I was really really despearate. Nothing makes me write like a blank DOS window. :)

    Now that I’ve a mac, I just open textpad and write.

  23. craig July 6, 2006 at 1:42 pm #

    When I was writing my dissertation I worked initially in MS Notepad and save formatting until the end. Working in Word I found that I got distracted fiddling around with page settings, fonts, bullet points etc.
    Also, mindlessly changing the point size on every heading on every page felt like a bit of treat once the hard part was over.

    Re: #6 It was tea an Jaffa Cakes for me. :)

  24. Brent P. Newhall July 6, 2006 at 1:46 pm #

    Great list! I’ve also been helped by scheduling specific time to write — it’s harder to put off when I’ve cleared the decks specifically so I have nothing to do except write.

  25. Darren Armstrong July 6, 2006 at 1:48 pm #

    Owen Lystrup, tea and biscuits are a *right*, not a treat :-P

  26. Emmanuel July 6, 2006 at 1:52 pm #

    Why not plug the noise cancelling headphones into something? I’m still a college student (Junior at USC), but our pressures to complete writing assignments are pretty intense as well. Leaving the headphones unplugged lets you hear the silence, and eventually the pulse in your ears starts to resonate through the headphones. Putting on a slow, monotonous, and relaxed song (with no words, of course) is by far the best thing to have cycling non-stop while you write. After a while, you don’t hear the music, it just becomes part of your writing atmosphere. I’ve been able to hammer out 5 great pages of writing (about 1300 words) in only 45 minutes this way.

    I guess, after all that beating around the bush, my advice is, just create an atmosphere that you feel most focused in, whether it’s compelte silence or through using something to block out all distractions.

  27. uem July 6, 2006 at 2:08 pm #

    WriteRoom is indeed fantastic, thx very much for the link
    http://www.hogbaysoftware.com/product/writeroom

  28. Niranjan July 6, 2006 at 2:18 pm #

    Nice compilation of ideas. Esp 2, 5 and 6 work great with me.

  29. Jeremy July 6, 2006 at 2:33 pm #

    I’m glad I happened here. I’m currently authoring my second book, and I’m finding it very hard to get started on a fresh, new chapter (that always seems to be the case).

    I’m a music lover, so I find putting on some of my favorite classical or choral music really helps. Then again, I sometimes find myself reveling the harmonies ;)

  30. WCG July 6, 2006 at 3:10 pm #

    For a full-screen, distraction free writing environtment, check out WriteRoom

    (http://www.hogbaysoftware.com/product/writeroom)

    This has increased my writing productivity like you wouldn’t believe, I really recommend it.

  31. Mark July 6, 2006 at 4:37 pm #

    Getting started is often the hard part. If I’m feeling reluctant, I take the path of least resistance by starting with a little editing on yesterday’s writing. This is like a singer warming up on scales. Within 10 minutes, I’m usually warmed up, fully engaged, and ready to roll.

  32. dz July 6, 2006 at 6:34 pm #

    those are some great tips and they dont have to be limited to writing.

  33. Andre Bar'yudin July 6, 2006 at 7:46 pm #

    The same approach works actually when writing code. “C’mon – fix another bug and I’ll get you a nice can of beer” :-)

  34. Ioannus de Verani July 6, 2006 at 9:30 pm #

    brilliant

  35. impactednurse July 6, 2006 at 10:42 pm #

    Ah yes, if only we could make the rest of our lives go ‘full screen’, removing all unnecessary distractions and face a fresh crisp new page.

  36. Jennifer July 7, 2006 at 4:41 am #

    Good tips.. I’m not a writer, but I’ve had to use some techniques like the above when doing other kinds of projects. The only ones I disagree with are #2 and #5: #2 because the silence would drive me batty, and #5 because I’m a night owl by nature and find that my brain tends to work much better at night than in my zombified morning state. Otherwise, though, it’s a good list.

  37. web design uk July 7, 2006 at 9:10 am #

    I’ll bribe myself too. Finish coding this particular function and then i’ll let you have a cigarette break !

    It works

  38. Aspiring Spirit July 7, 2006 at 2:52 pm #

    Related to #7 (Chunking), I use the 15-5-3 method. Here is how it works. Work on whatever task (writing, coding, etc.) for 15 minutes straight. No interruptions allowed. Then reward yourself with a 5 minute break to do whatever you like. Then repeat the process 3 times per hour. If you follow the plan, you should get 45 minutes of solid output for every hour of elapsed time. I find this method to be very effective for me. Especially since I am easily distracted. But if I know that there will be a break, I can concentrate. You will also find that the more you do this, the 15 mintues become 20, 30, …. resulting in more output.

  39. Colleen July 7, 2006 at 3:26 pm #

    I do all of these things! All but the noise cancelling headphones trick. THAT idea is especially golden.

    Excellent, excellent post!

  40. Jonathan July 7, 2006 at 4:37 pm #

    Excellent advice; thank you, Matthew! I have definitely found #6 (bribes) and #7 (chunking with breaks) to be helpful in my own experience. Regarding breaks, I find that it’s helpful to actually get up and get the blood flowing: take a brisk walk, do a few sets of pushups, etc.

  41. JaneB July 7, 2006 at 10:28 pm #

    “Shitty First Draft” is a phrase famously connected with Annie LaMott (Bird by Bird, notably) and you are remiss for not crediting her.

  42. Matthew Stibbe July 8, 2006 at 6:52 am #

    Rather than try to reply to each of these comments individually, I’d like to say thank you to everyone who wrote, commented or linked. I’ve made a list of new tips and posted that.

    One small thing. Thanks to JaneB for pointing me to Annie LaMott. I haven’t read anything by her or heard of her but I guess I must have picked up the phrase ‘Shitty first draft’ in the ether somewhere and used it without realising the context. I’m going to have a look at her books now.

  43. Duncan Jauncey July 9, 2006 at 10:32 am #

    I’ve just implemented a Java version of WriteRoom, called JDarkRoom:
    http://www.duncanjauncey.com/jdarkroom

  44. Logan July 9, 2006 at 8:58 pm #

    Very nice article!

    But I do have to disagree with the early morning stuff. It takes me a while to wake up if I have less than 8 hours of sleep, and I enjoy working late so 6am is just screwed. =P

    But I liked it. Found it from Digg.

    …Logan

  45. neon July 9, 2006 at 10:35 pm #

    Practice and practice again. It’s the only way to mastery. Write anything every day. Don’t think about it too much, just start writing. It makes wonders for me.

  46. nowhereman July 12, 2006 at 5:20 am #

    4. Stop with the blog already.

    heh nice blog.

  47. Sérgio July 13, 2006 at 10:11 am #

    You’d look very strange using Bose noise-cancelling headphones in a pub! Anyway, if it works…
    (advices #10 & #2)

    Just kidding… Good tips. :o)

  48. Bill Kruse September 1, 2006 at 6:57 am #

    Imagine a man kicks in your door, puts a gun to your head and says “Write!”.
    You’ll write.

    BB

  49. tunisian guy September 18, 2006 at 5:37 pm #

    it’s obvious to give tips for writing..
    every body is different !
    it would be better to say :
    these are the tips working on me !?
    my self i liked them but instead of taking it as it
    i will make my very personal tips..
    something that may work with me
    thx

  50. Amit September 25, 2006 at 9:51 am #

    Cool man….i will too try out these things :)
    But i am not sure whether they will work for me or not

  51. Michael October 5, 2006 at 9:07 pm #

    In Joan Bolker’s excellent “Writing your dissertation in fifteen minutes a day” whe tells the story of a poet who wrote a lousy first draft, but then proceeded to hone it 17 or so times. She then makes the point that everyone’s first drafts are lousy – it’s where you take them to afterwards that’s important, and concludes: First make a mess, then clean it up. That is, that first lousy draft is an essential way to get to the other drafts.
    Not as colourful as “a shitty first draft” but much the same message.

    regards

    Michael

  52. LaurieG November 28, 2006 at 10:53 am #

    I have discovered that the Brain Gym’s PACE method is a great way to center myself to prepare for “cognitive heavy lifting”. Originally designed to help children get ready to learn, it helps me get rid of the ‘jitters’ that prevent me from truly tuning in and getting on with my work. It sounds silly, but give it a try. It’s described here: http://www.ysu.edu/rdg-studyskills/PACE/introduction_to_pace.htm

  53. CZ January 7, 2007 at 6:00 pm #

    The soon to be released Scrivener (OS X only) has a full screen mode, in addition to many more features that can help a lot of writers.

  54. Bugga March 2, 2007 at 5:30 pm #

    Good info!! but i kinda lost interest and CONCENTRATION after the first comment…anywayz, c ya all later! Id go for a Cigarette right now!! (sapo)

  55. rd March 8, 2007 at 8:50 pm #

    great tips. especially the full screen one,
    only problem, ive just spent close to 20 mins reading the comments, what a waste of crucial essay writing time!!!

  56. Sam Tilston March 29, 2007 at 4:12 pm #

    I’m even having trouble sleeping let alone writing will all the noise these days. Constant bombardment of emails, text messages, phone calls and beeping machines. Give it a break!

  57. Santosh April 10, 2007 at 10:40 pm #

    I am not a writer. The problem with me is switching from one task to another. The solution I try is to take a few minutes break between the tasks to meditate i.e. to make my mind blank. Works sometimes!

  58. air jordan April 26, 2007 at 12:08 pm #

    Keep work and home separate. Ideally, you need a separate room or outbuilding for work. It’s good to shut the door on work at the end of the day. It also shuts out distractions. I also use Bose QuietComfort 2 headphones with noise-canceling but no music to shut out sounds from outside.

  59. Tony May 5, 2007 at 6:29 pm #

    Great little piece of Bad Language from Matthew Stibbe (via Matt Bartlett) with some useful and witty hints on writing to a deadline. I need all the help I can get. and do you konw where a\i can buy wood nike shoes and wood car ,thanks ! :)

  60. Yoppy Soleman July 12, 2007 at 3:12 am #

    Thanks for four article. GBU.

  61. Wesley Atkins July 16, 2007 at 1:33 pm #

    Excellent tips. Im finding it extremely hard to concentrate on anything at the moment and this will help a lot.

  62. Alidou Moussiliou August 20, 2007 at 2:18 pm #

    Right now, I’m preparing a technical offer and I’m not concentrated on it. And I check on google how to concentrate on writing and your link appears. Now I’m going to switch off my email and going to my paper, because I think about how much I’ll loose if I miss this assignment. Thank you very very much.

  63. shankar August 30, 2007 at 1:16 pm #

    I find that I program greatly if I chain my leg to the chair, with a rope and a clip lock. If anyone tries to make me get up (usually for some trivial thing) I point to the chain and say I can’t remove it for another hour.

  64. Chris Jones August 31, 2007 at 3:18 pm #

    Getting started is often the hard part. If I’m feeling reluctant, I take the path of least resistance by starting with a little editing on yesterday’s writing. This is like a singer warming up on scales. Within 10 minutes, I’m usually warmed up, fully engaged, and ready to roll.

  65. Julie October 24, 2007 at 7:22 pm #

    I found this because I’m trying desperately to finish an article but simply can’t seem to concentrate. Out of sheer frustration, I typed “Concentrate” in my Google Toolbar and came across your post. I especially like the full screen idea. As soon as I submit this comment, I’m going to try that and hope like hell it helps ;)

  66. ANARCHY-TV.COM November 15, 2007 at 4:31 pm #

    The real quesiton is: why are we forcing ourselves to do, things we don’t want to do? Why is life so shitty that we have to do this? Why can’t we be doing the things we *want* to do?

  67. Konst November 26, 2007 at 3:47 am #

    Hello I just came across your page when i was trying to find some way of concentrating on the chemistry im reading i think it really helped me especially the change place hadn’t thought of it. Great Blog. Thanks for helping me and wish me luck on the test Matthew!!

  68. Bob Page November 28, 2007 at 3:46 pm #

    My tip – I write long pieces of text in notepad. No Formatting of anykind, just to get the words out. Otherwise, you’d be amazed at how much time I can spend determining font size, margins, line spacing, etc..etc..etc.

  69. Charlotte January 30, 2008 at 10:10 pm #

    A nice post. I really enjoy your blog–especially when I am supposed to be doing something else!

  70. Tom April 20, 2008 at 10:00 pm #

    Awesome, even though I found this while being distracted from an essay. Its quite funny, in a way.

    and yes. Tea and biscuits are the best bribe. ever.

  71. Antiques May 9, 2008 at 3:17 pm #

    I agree most with the 6am work. Not only does the work turn out better when you are rested, but it is the quietest time of day.

  72. Christopher July 4, 2008 at 7:04 pm #

    Here’s one I find helpful. Buy a used computer, doesn’t have to be new or state- of- the t art Keep it in another room. Leave it free-standing & you won’t be tempted to take a minute and surf. Make it a dedicated device for writing only.
    Write write and write some more. Shut down your main computer and follow the advice on this site. That way the temptation to take a break and break your concentration are eliminated. Of course, save everything you put down. Send your kids & wife to go shopping. Put the cat out.

  73. Air Force Ones October 27, 2008 at 12:40 pm #

    I do all of these things! All but the noise cancelling headphones trick. THAT idea is especially golden.

    Excellent, excellent post!

  74. nike dunk November 10, 2008 at 1:50 pm #

    hi, nice to see this, actually i did this long time ago and i was really impressed when i got a very close result to yours.

  75. Wedding Planner November 13, 2008 at 4:15 am #

    Thanks for four article. GBU.

  76. Kerry Anne Orr January 28, 2009 at 10:43 pm #

    Loving the idea about the noise cancelling headphones, will definately try those out, not too sure about the 6.00am start though, it’sa bad enough at 7.00!

  77. the Assessor April 1, 2009 at 6:41 am #

    I found these ten tips extremely usefull. I’ve been trying to put together some new copy but find myself getting distracted far too easily. following these tips should help me

  78. Liam Snell June 9, 2009 at 11:27 pm #

    Start early, highest priority first, work only 50 minutes then break 10, then 50 then break 30… repeat 50,10,50… Stop and come back tomorrow… Works for me…

  79. shamanyy July 17, 2009 at 8:02 am #

    Guys, this kind of article is really worthy ready it. Remember the methods above, and you will be a good writer.

  80. iwc watches August 13, 2009 at 9:05 am #

    I agree most with the 6am work. Not only does the work turn out better when you are rested, but it is the quietest time of day.

  81. Jay November 1, 2009 at 4:17 am #

    I also pack & light one of my pipes. I can’t do any work on my stories without a pipe. (antis: shut up in advance)

  82. ed hardy December 18, 2009 at 7:20 am #

    ghest priority first, work only 50 minutes then break 10, then 50 then break 30… repeat 50,10,50… Stop and come back tomorrow… Works for me…

  83. Nichola A. December 31, 2009 at 6:18 am #

    Thank you for the tips! I’m writing a story for a friend and can’t wait til I get this stupid writer’s block out of my head.

  84. San Francisco article writers February 22, 2010 at 7:26 am #

    For me we need only time management in order to handle various task in a time. Just consider planning as well in doing stuffs. Enjoy

  85. gilbert March 3, 2010 at 7:30 am #

    Q10 is an invaluable little text editor that helps you concentrate on writing. It’s full screen, has no menus and you can use timers or word counts as triggers for alarms.

    Best of all it has a typewriter sound effect. The sound of each click is really encouraging and somehow helps me be more productive when writing.

    http://www.baara.com/q10/

  86. Aaron June 27, 2010 at 1:56 am #

    Hi Matthew, DEFINITELY shut off email and turn off the house and cell phone. I could write a novel if I could do that for just a week. Great tips here.. thanks for sharing.

  87. Marshall September 29, 2010 at 12:00 pm #

    Get an odd job for a week or so. Seriously. Einstein did this when he felt he’s not able to concentrate on his research effectively.

  88. Benjamin May 24, 2011 at 12:30 am #

    I just found this, likely the way everyone else did…

    After reading through comments, I realized something- writing this paper I have is a large portion of my grade, and because every little grade counts for me in aiming for valedictorian (yes, I have a very solid shot, even in my class of 450+…believe it or not!), this COULD in fact be forcing me to miss an opportunity at a large amount of money.

    Thanks for the great article!

  89. John B. July 23, 2011 at 1:55 pm #

    Great post on writing!! Thanks!!

  90. Snr Weav^r October 12, 2011 at 10:12 am #

    great blog matthew I will put these techniques to use right about now.I like the 6 am and noise reduction thingie

  91. Caramello Koala November 10, 2011 at 2:26 am #

    Great post! It’s good to see a short list without any fluff, all of these points are solid. I use a program called Scrivener and it really allows me much more productive writing sessions than I had with Word. I also find that meditating is great for writing, when I meditate thoughts of what I should be writing always seem to spring up in my head!

    • Matthew Stibbe November 10, 2011 at 6:35 am #

      Yes, I tried Scrivener and it looks very good. But now after nearly 20 years, Word is sort of hardwired into my brain! :)

  92. John Wilfred Guiriba May 21, 2012 at 6:46 am #

    This helped me a lot.Thanks!Now I know :)

  93. Carlos De Santis November 21, 2012 at 12:07 am #

    Typewriter.

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  10. How to concentrate on writing » Hakuna Matata - July 6, 2006

    [...] Tips are worth to bookmark if you are in similar situation. [...]

  11. How to concentrate on writing - lifehack.org - July 6, 2006

    [...] You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. Share and Enjoy:These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers canshare and discover new web pages. [...]

  12. Concentrate at Quantum Thinking - July 6, 2006

    [...] Some great tips on how to concentrate on your writing or coding. [...]

  13. Rats! In My Brain! » Archive du blog » How to Concentrate On Writing - July 6, 2006

    [...] Seen on Digg: How to Concentrate On Writing. [...]

  14. Rod Trent at myITforum.com - July 6, 2006

    How to concentrate on writing…

    When I am up against a deadline and I absolutely, definitely have to get on with my work, I use a few……

  15. Gan’s Weblog » How to concentrate on writing - July 6, 2006

    [...] Link to: Bad Language / How to concentrate on writing [...]

  16. encantada.nu - July 6, 2006

    [...] thanks Kelly: how to concentrate on…  [...]

  17. Benny Chandra dot com » How to concentrate on writing - July 6, 2006

    [...] to concentrate on writing: Kurang satu: berhenti ngejunk di milis ID-Gmail! » | Refresh| [...]

  18.   How to concentrate on Writing by Blogging Pro - July 6, 2006

    [...] For the details that go along with each point, check out Bad Language. [...]

  19. Running Sandwitch » 翻译:如何集中精力写作 - July 6, 2006

    [...] 原址:Bad Language: How to concentrate on writing [...]

  20. » Blog Archive » Need to write something? Got a deadline? - July 6, 2006

    [...] This is also a good reminder for me. Here’s ten ways to stay focused and on task when you’ve got a deadline to meet. [...]

  21. Asgenar’s Writing Info » Bad Language / How to concentrate on writing - July 6, 2006

    [...] Bad Language / How to concentrate on writing [...]

  22. How to concentrate on writing: Inside the CBC - July 6, 2006

    [...] Staying focused isn’t always the easiest thing to do, especially if one of many journalists or associate producers, grouped together in a series of veal-fattening pens ergonomic workstations.      We stop and start. Throw out drafts. Get frustrated. And wish we could just lock ourselves in a dark room for a half-hour with no distractions and… just… write. Well, life isn’t fair, but I did find a great little article called How to Concentrate on Writing that has some good tips. Among the suggestions: [...]

  23. Like Your Work » Blog Archive » links for 2006-07-07 - July 7, 2006

    [...] Bad Language / How to concentrate on writing (tags: writing) [...]

  24. karlyns.com » links for 2006-07-07 - July 7, 2006

    [...] Bad Language / How to concentrate on writing (tags: writing) [...]

  25. Ballinger’s Blog » How to concentrate on writing - July 7, 2006

    [...] Bad Language / How to concentrate on writing These are suggestions from a professional writer for other writers; most are good ideas for students too. Found on Digg [...]

  26. memor.ia blog - July 7, 2006

    [...] Bad Language / How to concentrate on writing (tags: writing tips) [...]

  27. Bad Language / Overwhelmed and happy - July 7, 2006

    [...] My post ‘How to concentrate on writing‘ got picked up on LifeHacker and Digg and yesterday I got an astonishing number of visitors, comments and emails. [...]

  28. Organic Mutant » Blog Archive » I’ve got to do this - July 7, 2006

    [...] Some fabulous tips on how to concentrate on writing (something I want to do a lot more of (sorry for the hanging prepostition)). [...]

  29. Running Sandwitch » links for 2006-07-07 - July 7, 2006

    [...] Bad Language / How to concentrate on writing (tags: productivity tips writing) [...]

  30. Solopreneurial Tendencies - July 7, 2006

    Concentration…

    Matthew Stibbe at Bad Language gives us list of 10 Ways to Concentrate on Writing. While some of these items I practice religiously when I’m having a mental block or need a motivational jump start (which is most days), others are new to me….

  31. Reflections » Blog Archive » How to concentrate on writing - July 8, 2006

    [...] need to stop reading blogs and get some work done on my dissertation! (sighted on Blogging Pro) Comments(0)How Christianity is Changing China World Magazine has an insightful article on How Christianity isnormally link to article that require a subscription, but this is a magazine well worth reading.) Comments(0)Reinventing Jesus and Textual Criticism Justin Taylor writes on “Reinventing Jesus” and TextualHe summarizes some of the important issues regarding the accuracy of the text of the New Testament. Comments(0)Brittany McComb: Silenced At Graduation Valedictorian Brittany McComb of Foothill High School inApparently freedom of speech doesn’t apply to Christians sharing about what matters most to them. Comments(0)The Emptiness of Modern “Art” BBC News reports about a strange art display. “An artist’s sculpturethought that the display stand looked better than the art piece! (Sighted on Mark Roberts blog.) Comments(0)View more News andNotes… [...]

  32. Bad Language / Readers’ tips on ‘How to concentrate on writing’ - July 8, 2006

    [...] My post ‘How to concentrate on writing’ generated a ton of comments. It was wonderful to read through them all. Here are a few of my favourites (with links if the commenters gave them): [...]

  33. blog.forret.com | links for 2006-07-07 - July 8, 2006

    [...] Bad Language / How to concentrate on writing # Switch off email. # Isolate myself. # Greed and guilt. # Stop with the blog already # Get up early # Little treats # Chunking # Go full screen # Shitty first draft # Change location (tags: writing tips productivity editing procrastination) [...]

  34. Long Legs » How To Get Things Done - July 8, 2006

    [...] I found this page that offers a few tips that seem pretty straight-forward. Still, I think I need a better cure to… just get things done. Help me to get things done! (Selling or simply not using my delicious computer is not an option). [...]

  35. Life By Dictionary » Good Tips For Struggling Writers - July 9, 2006

    [...] Bad Language / How to concentrate on writing [...]

  36. links for 2006-07-09 at protocol7 - July 9, 2006

    [...] How to concentrate on writing (tags: writing lifehacks productivity tips) [...]

  37. Bad Language / Tools for writing: Distraction-free text editors - July 9, 2006

    [...] I am easily distracted by things on my computer: email, blogging, IM etc. (More tips on how to concentrate on writing in my recent post.) Several people have recommended using a back-to-basics fullscreen word processor. Here are a few alternatives: [...]

  38. Podcast Browser » Blog Archive » How to concentrate on writing - July 9, 2006

    [...] Professional writer gives ten tips to improve concentration and get the copy written. Would work for other forms of writing and brain-intensive work too, such as coding.read more | digg story [...]

  39. 生活帮-LifeBang » Blog Archive » 如何专心工作 - July 10, 2006

    [...] 原文链接 [...]

  40. COLD CASE » Blog Archive » How to concentrate on writing - July 10, 2006

    [...] read more | digg story [...]

  41. FriendsWithManagers™ » Blog Archive » LNK: Ten Tips for Writing - July 12, 2006

    [...] Ten Common Sense Tips on how to concentrate while writing (but could easily be applied to anything that requires thought). There have been 0 responses to this entry. This entry was posted on Friday, July 7th, 2006 by Joshua Hynes at 7:32 am and is filed under Links. You can follow all entry comments through this RSS 2.0 feed. You can trackback to this entry through this URI. [...]

  42. Attack of the Rob Bot! - proof that I use the internet » links for 2006-07-06 - July 12, 2006

    [...] How to concentrate on writing – Bad Language (tags: copywriting productivity writing) Technorati Tags: This entry is filed under Links. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. Leave a Reply [...]

  43. Better Communication Results - July 13, 2006

    [...] I am easily distracted by things on my computer: email, blogging, IM etc. (More tips on how to concentrate on writing in my recent post.) Several people have recommended using a back-to-basics fullscreen word processor. Here are a few alternatives: [...]

  44. straydog scraps » Scraps and Morsels 20060713 - July 13, 2006

    [...] Bad Language / How to concentrate on writing How to be more productive not just in writing but any kind of work you do. … (tags: advice productivity writing) [...]

  45. Linky na víkend 17 na depi.sk - IT & Life Weblog - July 16, 2006

    [...] How to concentrate on writing – ako sa sústrediť na písanie [...]

  46. links for 2006-07-07 at - July 18, 2006

    [...] Bad Language / How to concentrate on writing Can I have a cookie? (tags: writing productivity tips) [...]

  47. Kreativrauschen - July 22, 2006

    Konzentrationshilfen für Rechnerarbeit…

    In dem Artikel “How to concentrate on writing” beschreibt Matthew Stibbe 10 Strategien, um sich auf das Schreiben zu konzentrieren.
    Eigentlich lassen diese sich aber ganz generell für Arbeit am PC anwenden:

    keine E-Mails
    Isolation

  48. Bad Language / Music for working - July 24, 2006

    [...] Mostly I use my Bose noise-cancelling headphones without listening to music at all (see my earlier post, how to concentrate on writing). Sometimes, however, music is essential to my work. I listen to different kinds of music depending on how I’m doing: wake up, get started, keep going, calm down, concentrate etc. Here is a list of my top ten but what works for you? [...]

  49. Sistaweb » Noch kein Abschiedseintrag - July 24, 2006

    [...] Schade, dass mir dieser Artikel nicht schon früher untergekommen ist. Mathew Stibbe, Journalist aus Amerika, schreibt über How to concentrate on writing: “1. Switch off email. I don’t start Outlook (or if I do, I disable all the notifications that tell me I have new mail). 2. Isolate myself. I use Bose noise-canceling headphones but don’t plug them into anything. The silence really is golden. (…) 4. Stop with the blog already. When I’m pressed for time, distractions like blogging and hoovering become very compelling. Knowing this makes it easier to resist. (…) 10. Change location. Sometimes, if I’m really struggling to get started, taking a laptop or my notebook to a cafe and scribbling out something there – a fresh new location – is a good way to jolt-start an assignment.” [...]

  50. Michel Leblanc, M.Sc. commerce électronique. Marketing Internet, consultant et conférencier » Les nouvelles qui ont retenu mon attention dernièrement… - August 3, 2006

    [...] Se concentrer pour écrire [...]

  51. CoffeeCritters - » How to concentrate on writing - August 8, 2006

    [...] Link [...]

  52. Programming » How to concentrate on writing - August 24, 2006

    [...] Professional writer gives ten tips to improve concentration and get the copy written. Would work for other forms of writing and brain-intensive work too, such as coding.read more | digg story [...]

  53. Totem Consult - August 28, 2006

    Astuces) > 10 (+1) truc pour se concentrer sur la rédaction d’un document…

    Matthew Stibbe, rédacteur en chef de Articulate Marketing, nous livre, dans un billet récent de son blog (www.badlanguage.net), les dix trucs qu’il utilise lorsqu’il doit se concentrer sur un document à rédiger (et qui est un peu à la bourre)….

  54. technofornication » Blog Archive » [Howto] blog pro and stay mentally sane - August 28, 2006

    [...] 3. Try not to multitask while blogging. Post in short but efficient periods of time. Just cut to the chase while redacting, and avoid being distracted from your principal task, or getting lost on the websphere.. even if it’s hard! You are more more efficient when focused. And you’ll learn better too. [...]

  55. Stumbles for 9/22/06 at LifeDev - September 22, 2006

    [...] How to Concentrate On Writing 10 Ways to Get ‘er Done These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. [...]

  56. radioseo blog » Blog Archive » How to Create Content, Build Links and Increase Search Rankings by Marketing with the Digg Effect - September 26, 2006

    [...] How to Concentrate on Writing Here’s some advice all article writers could use now and then. Matthew Stibbe created a short list of 10 ways to focus on getting writing done.   [...]

  57. The Stingy Scholar » Blog Archive » Mouse Party - October 22, 2006

    [...] Some concise, practical tips on how to turn off distractions and focus on writing. [...]

  58. Bad Language / How to work from home - November 7, 2006

    [...] Keep work and home separate.  Ideally, you need a separate room or outbuilding for work.  It’s good to shut the door on work at the end of the day.  It also shuts out distractions.  I also use Bose QuietComfort 2 headphones with noise-canceling but no music to shut out sounds from outside.  (See my earlier post on how to concentrate). [...]

  59. mobmash blog » Blog Archive » links for 2006-11-22 - November 22, 2006

    [...] Bad Language / How to concentrate on writing (tags: personalgrowth motivation productivity) [...]

  60. Psybertron Asks » Productive Time Management - November 28, 2006

    [...] Great little piece of Bad Language from Matthew Stibbe (via Matt Bartlett) with some useful and witty hints on writing to a deadline. I need all the help I can get. [...]

  61. [Mauvaises pensées d’un consultant] :: 10 trucs pour se concentrer et écrire [en] :: December :: 2006 - December 20, 2006

    [...] Un post court et bon, dans un blog que je ne connais pas, sur les trucs et astuces pour écrire quand il faut vraiment s’y mettre; la discussion qui suit (dans les commentaires) vaut le coup aussi… [...]

  62. meish dot org » links for 2006-07-06 - January 5, 2007

    [...] Bad Language / How to concentrate on writing (tags: writing productivity lifehacks tips) [...]

  63. Sunspots: The MV = PY edition - January 8, 2007

    [...] How to concentrate on writing “When I am up against a deadline and I absolutely, definitely have to get on with my work, I use a few tactics to force myself to concentrate…” [tx MS] [...]

  64. Top Blogs » Blog Archive » 10 Tips to get some work done - February 5, 2007

    [...] the rest at Bad Language Tags: Writing, Concentrating, [...]

  65. 75 Resources That Will Help You Write Better Content · un/popular web culture - February 13, 2007

    [...] Concentrating on Writing [...]

  66. Bad Language / In praise of earplugs - March 22, 2007

    [...] Concentration [...]

  67. Carlos Leopoldo - April 15, 2007

    Cómo concentrarse para escribir…

    Esto es una traducción libre del inglés al español del artículo “How to concentrate on writing“, escrito por Matthew Stibbe, el cuál encuentro muy útil para todas aquellas personas que escriben en su blog o simplemente para tareas esc…

  68. mustsuccess.com - April 16, 2007

    How to concentrate on writing…

    When I am up against a deadline and I absolutely, definitely have to get on with my work, I use a few tactics to force myself to concentrate:

    1. Switch off email. I don’t start Outlook (or if I do, I disable all the notifications that tell me I h…

  69. Notebook » How to concentrate on writing - May 20, 2007

    [...] Bad Language 1. Switch off email. 2. Isolate myself. [...]

  70. Karib Corner-Blog Reports » Blog Archive » How to concentrate on writing - July 8, 2007

    [...] copy written. Would work for other forms of writing and brain-intensive work too, such as coding. read more | digg story Filed under: Tech [...]

  71. The Peculiar Club » Finding Inspiration for Writing - August 9, 2007

    [...] amazing where we end up getting our inspiration. A sunset can launch a sonnet. The right encounter could start (or make the perfect conclusion) for [...]

  72. Bad Language / Multitasking makes us stupid - January 29, 2008

    [...] here are a couple of previous posts that may help with concentration: How to concentrate on writing and Distraction-free text [...]

  73. Top 100 Self-help, Self Improvement Guides | Shape Up America - February 28, 2008

    [...] How to concentrate on writing [...]

  74. How to concentrate on writing Help. How. Learn. Outline. Essay. Paper. School. Write. Steps. Writing. Highschool. College. Exam. Brainstorming. Ideas. Creative. Tips. - February 28, 2008

    [...] copy written. Would work for other forms of writing and brain-intensive work too, such as coding.read more | digg [...]

  75. The Most Incredible Ways To Improve Thyself! | Shape Up America - March 7, 2008

    [...] How to concentrate on writing [...]

  76. L0Q.com - Life’s Quest » Blog Archive » The Most Incredible Ways To Improve Thyself! - April 14, 2008

    [...] How to concentrate on writing [...]

  77. Bad Language / How to make money writing for the web - May 13, 2008

    [...] Learn how to concentrate on writing. [...]

  78. Back after a short break… | El Mundo Con Otros Ojos - June 25, 2008

    [...] as I was looking around, I hit this entry. I have a feeling it was written for me… Time to start the next book – this week. Once I get [...]

  79. Cómo concentrarse para escribir - November 16, 2008

    [...] es una traducción libre del inglés al español del artículo “How to concentrate on writing“, escrito por Matthew Stibbe, el cuál encuentro muy útil para todas aquellas personas que [...]

  80. Computer Consulting Marketing FAQs Unplugged. | 7Wins.eu - January 28, 2009

    [...] Guy Cross Screen Breaks, when is it time to unplug?: Mark Greenfield – Higher Education Web Consulting Is Technology Harming Today’s Youth? Internet Kavanah | eJewish Philanthropy: The Jewish Philanthropy BlogCan’t Connect to Network? Reboot Your Router. | Biden PC’s IT BlogPodCamp Ottawa 2008 is happening November 23 | Mark BlevisGreg Atkinson Blog Archive Best Out of Office Replies Video Post: Radiohead In In Rainbows _ The Red Frog Blog _ AWP _ Web and Graphic Design, Consulting and Marketing Solutions Archives : blog.delaranja.comBad Language / How to concentrate on writing [...]

  81. Mitt tips för att skriva när det känns kämpigt « Trotsig Frizon - March 12, 2009

    [...] Om det är att koncentrera sig som är svårt är följande tips helt sanna, från bloggen Bad Language. Isolera dig, muta dig själv, gör INGA andra saker förrän du är klar. Byt skrivplats eller [...]

  82. Concentratie | burningCat - March 29, 2009

    [...] Een artikel bedoelt om de concentratie te verhogen tijdens het schrijven, maar uiteraard ook erg geschikt om de concentratie te verhogen tijdens het developen. Share and Enjoy: [...]

  83. Distraction-free writing — Bad Language - May 5, 2009

    [...] is important to have a proper physical environment. Matthew has already outlined the essentials of concentration on writing, so check there [...]

  84. Don’t Lose Focus « Our Creative Community - May 6, 2009

    [...] How to Concentrate on Writing [...]

  85. The “Write” Headspace: Tips for Writing « FELTWORKS - May 28, 2009

    [...] How to concentrate on your writing [...]

  86. The Ultimate Guide to Getting Rid of Laziness and Procrastination! | Shape Up America!! - October 2, 2009

    [...] How to concentrate on writing [...]

  87. The Most Incredible Ways To Improve Thyself! | Shape Up America!! - October 5, 2009

    [...] How to concentrate on writing [...]

  88. I want to get more writing done. Here’s how I’m killing off my distracting demons. | John McGarvey - web copywriter - January 22, 2010

    [...] come up with a plan after reading various articles on productivity – notable Matthew Stibbe’s tips and various informative posts on Lifehacker. Here’s what I’m going to [...]

  89. Focus, focus, focus « CyberText Newsletter - January 25, 2010

    [...] Focus, focus, focus January 26, 2010 Got a looming deadline? Then try these tips from Matthew Stibbe at the Bad Language [...]

  90. Rules of thumb for writing - Bad Language - August 1, 2010

    [...] exclusion of the outside world. This is why concentration is so important (see my earlier post on How to concentrate on writing) and why interruptions are so deadly to productivity. Source: the wonderful, wonderful book [...]

  91. Left brain vs. right brain for writers - Bad Language - August 11, 2010

    [...] you don’t need to get out of your left-brain and into your right, but boost your creativity, concentrate on writing and shush your inner critic. If you enjoyed this article, please share [...]

  92. 8 Concentration Tips to Kill Off Distractions | CopyPressed - October 15, 2012

    [...] http://www.badlanguage.net/how-to-concentrate-on-writing [...]

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