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5 Ways For Authors to Stay Focused During COVID-19

Hi authors! As many of you know, the Written Word Media team sent out a survey in early April asking how you and the fellow indie author community are braving our new realities as we adjust to life post-COVID-19. One of the top responses to our survey was that authors are having a hard time remaining focused on their work.

It’s not surprising that now more than ever we are fighting to stay creative and tuned into our work, so we wanted to send out our top five tips on how to remain focused despite a chaotic moment in history. After all, you never know when inspiration will strike – so it’s good to be prepared at any moment. Keep reading for our tips on how to adjust your focus in this new normal!

1. Keep your eye on the prize

It’s easy to get consumed by the COVID-19 crisis and turn inwards. Following quarantine restrictions, I’m sure we all had plenty of nights wondering how we would carry on. While it’s important to be gentle with ourselves, it’s equally important to remember that at the end of this pandemic we will return to some sense of normalcy. The “real world” will still be waiting for us. That’s why it’s crucial for people to keep their eyes on the prize during this time! Remember what is true and important to your writing journey. Is it finishing your next chapter? Learning more about email marketing? Getting “good” at social media use or setting up a Facebook author page?

Here is a brief list of resources we have compiled that will help you continue to learn as an indie author. We hope revisiting what is important to you gets you back on track.


2. RRR: rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation

We all need a treat every once in a while. After a long, hard day of work or making progress on one of your goals, giving yourself a reward is a great motivator! This might mean sitting down with your favorite movie for the night. It could also mean taking a chance to finally meditate. Rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation allows our brains to better process what we’re experiencing. Also, as more and more reports emerge about how stress affects us at work, we’re reminded that it’s crucial to fold in stress-relieving habits into your daily routine.

Whether you’re on your yoga mat or at your writer’s desk, meditation can be a helpful way to tap into your more zen self. Some moves include breath awareness, body scanning, and simple stretches that can even be done while seated. If you’re interested in learning more about how meditation can help you as a writer, check out this link.


3. Know you’re not alone

We’ve all been through a big change with COVID-19, and with it, many of us have been feeling a little off our game. One frustrating part of this is that it can be hard to understand why exactly you might be feeling this way or how you can manage to feel better.

For starters it can be helpful to recognize that you’re not alone. Over 25% of authors who responded to our survey said that the primary challenge they were facing from COVID-19 was related to lack of focus or motivation, finding time to write, or trouble being creative. Keep in mind, these authors listed these items as their main challenge. Many more are likely struggling in a similar way, it just isn’t at the top of their list.

Recognize it’s ok to be feeling a bit off, and instead of dwelling on why you are feeling strange, focus on what excites you or makes you feel better. One tip we have is to connect with your local writing community. Send texts or call friends to check in. Sharing a sense of togetherness is one of the best ways to pull yourself – and a loved one – out of the doldrums and back on track.


4. Game on!

Who doesn’t love a little healthy competition? A great way to stay on track with your writing goals is to follow along with online challenges to stay on your word count. Not only can writing challenges be fun, but you will feel more likely to maintain your work levels when others are holding you accountable.

Some websites like StoryADay are leading word count or chapter accountability challenges. So once you’ve refreshed with relaxation and gotten in touch with what matters most to you, you’ll be ready to dive into hitting those character counts. You can either join in on pre-existing challenges or create one with your writer friends.

Another option is to simply challenge yourself. As we mentioned in our article on beating the author blues, breaking down a project like writing into small tasks can make it less intimidating and can present a fun challenge! Instead of saying “I’m going to write 500 words today.” Make a list like this:

  • Write 100 words
  • Write 100 words
  • Write 100 words
  • Write 100 words
  • Write 100 words

Mark off each “Write 100 words” item as it’s completed. This has been proven to increase motivation and will bring in your author’s focus like never before!


5. Strategy will always win

It’s never too late to create a plan for what you want your days, weeks, and even months to look like right now. If you’re one of many who has fallen off the calendar scheduling bandwagon (I’m guilty!) it may be time to revisit the strategic planning you have used in the past. You might want to start small here – look ahead to the upcoming week and plan out what one day will look like for you. 

If you find planning one day to be helpful, this can easily transition to one week. The important thing is to build back the habit of strategically planning your time so it can once again become a habit. Having a strategy for when you will get writing done creates focus and is bound to be more successful than jumping into work blindly. For more tips like this, check out this article on how to be a more organized writer.


If you could, please use that comment box to share ways that you’re staying focused right now. We’d love to hear about any tricks you have. Happy (focused) writing, all!

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2 comments on “5 Ways For Authors to Stay Focused During COVID-19
  1. I have two more:
    1) Put boundaries on news consumption. Stay informed, but don’t obsess. (Best of all, do some writing before you first check the news.)
    2) Find new sources of creative fuel. If you’re used to getting ideas by being out and among people, find other ways to feed the creative furnace. Read a book or listen to a podcast that has nothing to do with your writing, so you can cross-pollinate your thoughts.

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