Bloggers thrive through the creation of content. However, it’s not always a smooth road ahead when it comes time to writing articles. I know because I still struggle with facing my word editor and telling myself to produce a 1,000 to 2,000 word blog post.
Even so, that doesn’t stop me from publishing content on a regular basis. Why? Because I have lots of techniques in my arsenal that I use whenever such problems arise. This article presents a long list of tips that you can use to concentrate more on the blogging work that you need to do.
25 Ways to Improve Your Focus
Here are some tips & tricks to get you busy in front of your laptop. You don’t necessarily have to memorize them all, just pick a handful that you can use very well.
1. Stop Escaping from Your Word Processor
Sometimes, there’s a nagging thought in our head that makes it hard to write. This leads to procrastination and not getting your craft done. But let me tell you one hard truth: you have to confront it.
That’s right. You have to write regardless of the circumstances you face. It doesn’t matter whether you feel inspired or not, or whether you’re knowledgeable enough or not. These are just excuses to getting some output for your website.
As you start showing up in every session, the more you enhance and improve your skills. This in turn leads to more focus and confidence on your part.
2. Recognize the Feeling of Writer’s Block
It’s possible that this constricting feeling is due to a phenomenon known as writer’s block. When writers are in this condition, they can’t produce very well because of a mental “block” that exists in their head.
However, I see it in a different way. For me, it’s just a condition that my body and mind undergoes whenever my work is slowing down in performance. It’s not really an obstacle at all and therefore, I don’t feel stuck whenever I’m experiencing this. I promise you, writer’s block is no big deal if you know what to do with it.
3. Understand the Stages of Writing a Blog Post
One reason why bloggers never get started with the article is because of lack of direction. When you’re just typing words without knowing how to manage your content creation process, that’s when everything becomes disorganized. To help fix this, you must understand the following stages of writing blog posts:
- Pre-Writing – activities made before writing such as research and planning
- First Draft – stage in which the top priority is getting the words out
- Editing/Refining – the quality control stage of the blog post
4. Prepare Your Content in Advance
Most likely, you will have a difficult time getting words out if you don’t prepare in the first place. Have you done your content and keyword research? Do you have stock photos and screenshot images related to your topic? How about a video to engage your readers? Can you point them to authoritative sites when trying to share a bizarre idea?
These are the things that you can do now if you’re not doing anything at the moment. Gather and consume these resources yourself because these will give you a boost for generating ideas to write.
5. Research and Learn a Lot until You’re Spilling Knowledge
Maybe the reason why you don’t do well in writing is because you are still lacking research for your articles. You’ll instinctively know this because you’re having a hard time getting the ideas out of your mind. As a result, your fingers are left floating on top of your keyboard, waiting for your thoughts to come out.
From this time on, I want you to study harder on a topic until you’re literally overflowing with knowledge. Don’t let your mind become blank again while in the midst of creating your post. Search for lots of resources beforehand because I’m sure that there are already dozens of similar content on the Web.
6. Always Have an Outline for Every Blog Post You Make
Along with adequate preparation comes the structure of your blog post. By having an outline of what you’re going to write, you will see the big picture of what your article is all about. You will better identify the boundaries of the topic and keep your focus inside.
Start outlining by finding inspiration for what to put in your headings and subheadings. If you’re going for a list post, then start enumerating the items you want to include in the article. By the time you’re finished, you’ve already reached 100 to 300 words of content, which is WAY better than nothing.
7. Don’t Write in Proper Order
There’s nothing in the rulebook that says you must first write the introduction of your article. Likewise, it’s not necessary that you start off with #1 in the list, then 2, 3, 4, 5 and so on. When I created this blog post, these 25 tips were still in random order. It was only in editing mode that I rearranged them in the proper way.
The point is this: You can start anywhere you want. The reason why is because thoughts don’t flow in the right order. So don’t be afraid to skip a section because you can always get back to it later.
8. Have a Google Search Ready for You
There are times that you might stop at some point within your blog post because you are out of words. Google can help you fill those gaps.
Often times, I struggle with my grammar and vocabulary that it stops me from getting words out (I don’t speak native English). So I ask Google and another tool called OneLook Thesaurus for words that I can use when I have mental block. I also search for additional articles to find more ideas to write in my article.
9. Understand Your Readers’ Situation
Visualize what your readers’ situation looks like before coming to your website. If your topic for example is on how to make money from blogging, then it’s possible that your target readers want to make money online, right? If your topic is on how to make relationships last, then expect that your audience will be new couples.
The point I want to emphasize is that your focus should always be on your readers every time you write articles, and all you have to do is provide solutions to their problems. Remember, you’re creating content for real people and not for robots.
10. Make Writing Your #1 Priority
“Content is King/Queen”, plain simple. Therefore you should create more articles on your blog because it brings business to your website. Add “writing” to your focus list so that you will remember this task on a daily basis.
Another benefit of creating content regularly is that it’s a free source of traffic. When you’re just a beginner, it’s important that you master this basic concept so that you can learn to grow your online business. I learned this principle from Wealthy Affiliate’s online training.
11. Put off Other Tasks until Later
Not all tasks are created equal. This should be good news to you because you can then consciously select the actions that really matter as a blogger. For instance, you have 50 unchecked emails and 25 social media notifications, but you have a pending 1,000-word blog post to write that you’ve already researched on. What do you think matters more?
Priorities are very important to consider because when you set them wrong, that’s when you lose productivity and focus. To apply this right now, pause for a while and list down all the activities you do everyday. From that, I want you to put two or three items in your priority list and put most of your attention on them.
12. Harness the Power of Momentum
If you feel jacked up and you’re producing hundreds of words, don’t stop. Push yourself to continue working because this will build a momentum that is hard to stop. And before you know it, you’ve already reached thousands of words as a result of getting into the flow.
This is not limited to writing by the way. Maybe you are doing keyword research or generating blog topics for the next 5 to 10 blog posts. Any similar task that can be done in batches can benefit from this principle.
13. Utilize Both Sides of Your Brain
This next advice is based on science, but I will keep it concise and easy for you to understand. Basically, there are two parts of the brain: the left and the right.
Your left brain is responsible for analytical and critical thinking. It’s where your inner critic resides, which is the one responsible for checking the spelling and grammar errors in your writing. Your right brain, on the other hand, is responsible for creativity and imagination. As a writer, you use this region to generate content ideas for your first draft.
So how do you use this information to focus more? When you’re creating content for the very first time, you must turn on your right brain. And when it’s time to criticize and edit your work, you switch to your left brain. It’s when you mess up these two sides that you lose concentration.
14. Use Some Productivity Tools
To increase your focus, the most obvious way is to use productivity tools while working. Do you get more done under time pressure? Then grab a timer and start timing yourself. Do you think the Internet is distracting you? Then use web blockers to control your surfing behaviors. How about a schedule for publishing blog posts? Then use an editorial calendar to set deadlines for yourself.
15. Set a Deadline for Completing an Article
Parkinson’s Law states that “work expands to fill the time allotted for the task’s completion”. If that’s the case, then having no perceived timeframe would cause confusion on when your article will be done.
Setting deadlines forces you to think and work faster because of the time constraint you’ve given for your blog posts. I’m not saying that you publish one article everyday starting from now. Just gradually decrease the time it takes and you’ll find yourself producing more output.
16. Reward or Punish Yourself
If you’re the type of person who gets motivated by rewards, then why not set one for yourself? After publishing an article for example, treat yourself to a donut shop or maybe, a trip to the cinema along with popcorn and soda. Or much cheaper, simply take a break and watch TV for a while before resuming again.
I don’t know about this, but you can also punish yourself for not doing a great job at work. There are tools such as Write or Die and Timewaste Timer that give you penalties for not meeting a certain objective you’ve set.
17. Embrace Silence
If you need to focus on writing, then take silence seriously. Stop talking and cut out unnecessary noise by either confronting the source or simply transferring to a more silent place. I’m not a big fan of listening to music while writing. But if you think it can pump you up, then feel free to use it.
18. Transfer to a Better Place
To be more productive, you must intentionally change your environment in a way that it will suit your work style. The first thing you can do is experiment with the best possible place to work on. You might be a work at home pro or a coffee shop junkie. Whatever resources you have will ultimately dictate the places you can work on.
For more information on working places, check this article for more viable options you can choose from.
19. Take a Really Deep Breath or Meditate
There’s something special that happens when you take a deep breath or meditate and place yourself in a very relaxed state while writing. You’ll have greater power and control over your thoughts as a result of relieving yourself of stress and bad vibes.
Also, when you emerge out of this activity and solely focus on your writing, your creative thoughts will start to flow like mad. Try this technique for at least 5 minutes and see the difference.
20. Be as Physically Fit as You Can
I don’t mean that you pursue fitness in order to be more productive. However, I do want to point out that your physical condition is a huge factor in becoming more focused at work.
To start off, try going out for a walk or ride a bike every day to feel more alive when you get to your laptop. Don’t forget to take your important meals for the day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). Wear comfortable clothes and sit in a comfy chair so that you won’t get distracted that much.
21. Watch Your Energy Level and Conserve It
Energy governs all the movements and thoughts of our body. It’s what we use whenever we perform our day-to-day activities (even sleeping). Therefore as a blogger, you must learn how to conserve this finite resource.
The best way to do this is to concentrate ALL your efforts in writing and not even spend any time thinking of other things. Checking social media, reading emails, watching TV, & talking to people on the phone all consume energy. I would rather end up getting tired in front of a word document than in these unproductive activities.
22. Create Good Habits and Stop the Bad Ones
Do you want to write at least an article a day? Then make it a habit to write every single day. Start with 300 to 500 words, which I believe is easy enough for you to accomplish. The goal in the beginning is not to produce results but simply to show up consistently without fail.
Also, you must cut the bad habits you once had in order to give way for the good ones. If you stay in social media for hours, then start allocating that time for writing. I can’t explain everything in full detail, but I recommend you read James Clear’s free e-book “Transform Your Habits” to get started.
23. Eliminate the Doubts and Fears
You may have the productivity tools and are gifted with great physical & mental health. But if you are full of doubts and fears, then it’s all useless. Ezra Taft Benson once said:
Some of the greatest battles will be fought within the silent chambers of your own soul
If you’re very serious at getting focused, then you must let go of the doubts and worries while working on your blog. Simply kill the negative thoughts and start paying more attention on the good things that blogging has to offer.
24. Always Keep Your Goals and Purpose in Mind
Successful bloggers don’t just blog for the sake of blogging. They have other goals in mind which is the main reason why they are writing and publishing content. That’s why I highly recommend that you define your real purpose for writing blog posts right now. Make sure your goal is very “loud” that it takes all your attention and focus.
Some of the goals you can have as a blogger are the following:
- Publish an awesome blog post everyday
- Repurpose your content into books or videos
- Get your articles ranked in Google’s top 3 spots
- Grow your email list effectively
- Build a loyal follower base on social media
- And of course, make lots of sales!
25. Fully Commit to Completing Your Writing
As I end this article, I want to end it by saying that you MUST finish your article no matter what. It’s a terrible feeling to give up or not complete your craft. You don’t eat a steak that is half-cooked. A building is useless when it only has frames. You don’t gain muscle by going to the gym for a week. If you climb on Mount Everest, you won’t be remembered if you don’t make it to the summit.
The same principle goes with writing blog posts. For every piece you abandon, you are giving yourself a reason not to write. When you’ve accumulated a lot of these unaccomplished articles, eventually you will meet burn out.
But if you commit all your resources and efforts to getting the job done and not giving up when times are tough, that’s when you get stronger and more confident with your skills. That’s how you can stay focused on writing blog posts in the long run.
Do you find this list of tips helpful? What are you using right now to sustain your focus in writing? Is there a technique that I missed? I’d be delighted to know your thoughts by sharing them in the comments section below.