I often search out public spaces such as the library or Starbucks to enjoy a few cat-free moments and force myself to write. Some days it’s blissfully quiet. At other times there are meetings featuring voices at are… sharp. They cut through focus and attempt to divert and distract. After I’ve taken time and effort to schlep to my temporary workspace, I want to work, not move to yet another space. Here are three tricks I employ to prevent those voices from destroying my writing session.
Tip 1 – Revise expectations
Instead of getting frustrating that I can’t do what I wanted as my focus threatens to shatter, I revise the list and my expectations. For example, on the particular day that prompted this topic, I planned to work on one of my yarn swatch posts for Anzula. I have the outline, now it’s time to fill in the blanks. It’s at the point where I need mostly quiet as I decide on the correct words to use. Instead, I scribbled outlines brainstormed topics until that one voice faded toward the background. These are equally important and a task I often neglect. Productive procrastination at its finest!
After it finally merged with the other background chatter, I returned my focus to the original project for the remainder of my writing session.
Tip 2 – Write different
My handwriting oscillates between neat and tidy and near illegible scribbles. If I need to focus on getting words onto paper no matter what, sometimes I’ll work on how I form each letter. Sometimes I’ll practice the script I was taught in grade school, or I’ll turn the page 90 degrees and use the longer width of a page.
Tip 3 – Add more noise
Yes, headphones often help to muffle sounds even if they aren’t plugged into anything. I have a noise app on my phone, it allows me to mix in different levels of white/brown noise and other sounds. They help me to mask and lessen most sharp and unwelcome voices. There are many different apps for this, take a look around to find one you like.
I hope these three tips help you to focus!