"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
Information & inspiration to hone your craft and increase your cash...Since 2009

Friday, July 10, 2020

How to Stay Focused on Writing During a Pandemic

We’re living in unprecedented times and many of us authors and writers are still in lockdown or are practicing social distancing at home. Whether or not you’re stuck inside, there’s still an undertone of anxiety that can make it super difficult to stay focused on your writing.

Not spending your time at home writing might induce feelings of guilt or FOFB (Fear of Falling Behind)--especially when you check into Facebook and see your friends posting about how much they’ve gotten done.

So, let’s talk about how you can stay focused on your writing during the pandemic and alleviate some mental pressure. 

Staying Focused on Writing… DO

Staying focused doesn’t necessarily equate to sitting down at the keyboard, writing and never getting up. Here are some of the dos for achieving your writing goals

Write up a Schedule 

It can be pretty tempting to join the pajama crew and stay in bed all day. The first step toward focused writing is creating a schedule that works for you. Structure has gone out the window for a lot of people, and it's exactly what you’ll need if you plan on getting words on the page without distraction.

Be realistic about when you’re going to wake up and go to bed, and what your most active times of the day are. Set aside times for your writing and guard them--close the door, switch off your phone, block websites that are time sucks so you can better focus on your work-in-progress.

Remember, though, taking breaks is an important part of every schedule. You’ll feel more peaceful and creative in your writing if you set realistic daily goals for yourself — instead of deciding that you’re going to write 10,000 words in the few hours you have to write.

Take Breaks

As I mentioned above, taking breaks is an important part of being productive. Your mind needs time to mentally reset after intense focus sessions. Do set aside time to take a break, and during them, spend time doing things that will keep you calm or enrich your life, rather than scrolling through your newsfeed.

A few great break ideas include:
Desk exercises
Having a healthy snack
Adult coloring books or pages

Have Mental Health Days 

When you get overwhelmed, there is no shame in taking a day to reset. This means getting away from your computer completely and spending time doing things that enrich your life. What that looks like is up to you, but spending time with family (even on a Zoom call) is a great idea.

Relaxing in bed, reading, or catching up on your Netflix ‘must-watch’ series are a few things you can do to unwind and take a break from thinking about all the stuff that’s going on outside of your control. Once you’ve had a day like this to reset, you’ll likely find that returning to your schedule and staying focused is much easier.

Or, if you can’t bear the thought of not making progress towards your writing goals for a whole day, spend some time working on your author website instead of focusing on your book.

Manage Your Exposure to the News/Social Media 

This is a big one.

During times like these, it’s important to be intentional about the way you use the news and social media feeds. There are horrible things happening and bad news is often addictive. It’s easy to fall into the trap of consuming it and doing nothing else. Dwelling on the ‘what ifs’ is human nature.

If you find yourself getting too worn down and need to take a break, here are some tools to help you:


With Freedom, you can block distracting apps and websites that drain your productivity.


This app shows you how much screen time you have on your devices and coaches you to use them less.


This app doesn’t block or measure anything, but it does provide amazing focused music to play while you work. It’s pretty cool!

Try the Pomodoro Technique

This is a great method for increasing your productivity. It’s a technique that involves focused sets of time, intersected by smaller breaks. Basically, you shut off everything around you, write for a full 15 or 20 minutes, and then you take a quick break. After four or five of these focused sessions, you reward yourself with a longer break of 30 or 45 minutes before getting back to work.

Challenging yourself to beat your own score (word count) per session, is a great way to stay focused and increase the word count of your work in progress.

Staying Focused on Writing… DON’T

Now that we’ve taken a look at some of the things you definitely should do to increase your productivity, let’s discuss what you shouldn’t do. 

Don't Be Too Hard on Yourself 

We’re already going through a pretty tough time, so bullying yourself about how little you’ve written will only make you feel less motivated and more guilty. And guilt is not a great motivator when it comes to writing. As I mentioned previously, taking breaks and mental health days is a good thing — it will help you regain clarity and focus. If you don’t hit your word count or other goals, think about adjustments you could make instead of beating yourself up.

Don't Burn Yourself Out 

This goes hand in hand with being too hard on yourself. If you’re forcing yourself to stay at your writing computer without taking breaks, you’re going to burn yourself out. And that could sabotage your long-term productivity. Don’t force yourself to write when you’re already tired or in need of a break.

Final Thoughts 

You don’t have to spend energy worrying about the future or things that are out of your control. Focusing on your writing rather than the craziness this pandemic has brought on will help you regain control, push you toward your goal, and become a healthier, happier person in the long run.
Just remember to take breaks and take care of your mental health!



Dave Chesson is the book marketing Super-Nerd behind Kindlepreneur.com. His focus is on providing in-depth, actionable information for indie authors, such as his recent guide to book writing software. His free time is spent reading, immersing himself in sci-fi culture, and spending time with his family in Tennessee.


Image credits: Pixabay.com


  1. Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting?I have read a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style. Thanks a million and please keep up the effective work. view

  2. Thanks for featuring Dave whose points are well taken. It is easy to get lost in and then overwhelmed by the news. I find myself reading more than writing during this pandemic. But when the urge hits me to write, watch out! I've submitted one a day this month. Next week I will rest.

    1. Best of luck with your writing, Linda. It's important to get that rest!

  3. Lin,

    You go girl! I'm nowhere near that. :-) For sure, this pandemic can cause a great deal of pandemonium and angst. Writing can help us to feel empowered and focused on the positives. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Be well.

  4. Thanks, Dave, for the insight and encouragement. It's been a challenging stretch, for sure. Finding something of a routine again here, which feels great. Appreciate your thoughts.

    Jen, thanks for hosting today. You always supply just what I need. :) Happy weekend!

    1. Glad I could help, Karen. This is a trying time, but we'll get through it. Keep writing!

  5. Glad you found this info useful, Karen.
    We aim to please @ Pen & Prosper. :-)