As a writer, I find that sometimes it is difficult for me to stay on task. I imagine that it is similar for a lot of writers. When I'm writing, I'm surrounded by distractions. The tv is the biggest for me. So many things catch my attention and when I'm busy, that is exactly what I don't need. Once I find my groove, I need to be able to stay in that state of mind, or any amazing idea I may have is lost.
Recently, I was diagnosed with ADD. It wasn't really a surprise to me, I have always had a less than average attention span. I would find myself forgetting what I was talking about halfway through a sentence because someone started laughing... I have always been a planner. I like to make lists to make sure that I don't forget things when going on a trip, or even going to bed. Story planning came to me naturally. I don't plan things like the plot line. I can't know the ending to this story, because it hasn't been told to me yet. I am just the medium. That doesn't stop me from planning a few bumps along the way or even who the characters are. They become so real to me that I can hear them. These voices are one of the things that keep me focused on my writing. They will yell at me constantly until I can get their story written down and out of my head.
Music is my other getaway. When I turn on the music and pop in my headphones the rest of the world disappears. I add to my playlist daily. Anything I remember or hear on the radio that I like gets added. There are things that I keep on the computer that I don't have on my MP3 player and vice versa. I need them to vary a little, but I really don't know why. When I'm writing, or even just busy, the music is just background noise. I don't actually hear any of it.
I think maintaining focus is an important part of being a writer. We all have to be able to give ourselves over to our minds. It allows us to reach our goals easier. I also think it makes our drafts more readable. When you can get something out quickly and in longer sessions, it flows better. Its fresh in your mind. I remember when I was younger and writing one of my first works, I would sit it down for a week simply because life called. When I'd come back to it I would be flipping back 5 pages or more to read what I had previously done so I could mentally prepare myself for what was to come. A lot of times its so frustrating, because you can remember that you had a great idea, but that's the only memory of it. Just that it was great.
So, as I was saying earlier, I have music. It truly does help to have a block to keep from getting distracted, and I hope that it shows in my writing. As a writer, what do you use to keep you focused?