Monday, June 10, 2024

Thoughts on Focus for Writers & the Distractions We Battle

by Larry J. Leech II @LarryJLeechII

With all the distractions that we … did you see that? A squirrel chased a Blue Jay off the bird feeder. I can’t believe it. I didn’t think Jays feared anything. 

Sorry about that. Just when I started to write about distractions and the inability to focus, oh geeze, the Jay has gone after the squirrel. I’ve never seen a squirrel run so fast.

Oh yeah, focus. My plan was to write about focus. 


I can do this.

Focus. For as long as my mind can stay on topic. For the moment, that’s writing this blog.

Limiting distractions as a freelancer is something I had to learn when I left the corporate world more than 20 years ago. I struggled at first. I answered every email as soon as it arrived. I found myself checking out the internet every 15-20 minutes. I answered calls and texts whenever my phone rang or beeped. And I didn’t get much work done. 

Until I changed my actions. 

Today, I minimize my email, close my browsers, flip my phone face down. I do all this to stay focused on the task at hand. 

But I’m not immune to distractions, especially during times I work at my preferred coffee shop. Dozens of people stop in every hour, and I love to people-watch. So, I put my head down and force myself to stay focused on my laptop. And get work done.

These changes have worked for me, and here are a few more ‘focus’ techniques to consider:

Set a timer to work 55 minutes each hour and then take a five-minute break.

Set a timer to pray twice a day during your break.

Hang a Do NOT DISTURB sign on the door of your home office. Or close the door.

Establish a reasonable ‘to do’ list each day AND break each into a smaller task with a deadline.

You may have a few other suggestions. Feel free to share in the comment section … now look, a butterfly. So pretty. Now’s there’s two. Ah, they just fluttered away.

Wait, where was I? Yeah, that focus issue. When achieved, productivity increases. Goals and deadlines are met. Peace replaces anxiety. 

And you’ll have plenty of time to watch butterflies.


Editor-in-Chief at Bold Vision Books and writing coach of award-winning authors, Larry J. Leech II has spent more than forty years writing and editing. He started his career as a sportswriter in southwestern Pennsylvania where he covered prep, college, and pro sports, including the Pittsburgh Pirates and Steelers. 

In 2004, after 2,300 published articles, Larry moved into the book publishing industry. Since that time, he has ghostwritten 30 books, edited more than 400 manuscripts, and coached hundreds of authors through the writing and publication process. You can find him online on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.


  1. Yes, those distractions can be irritating at times. God has given us many gifts to enjoy. Focusing on our writing is one of those gifts. :-)

    1. Melissa, I love that you enjoy writing as a gift.

  2. Oy. Constant struggle. Prayer helps. Oy.

    1. Candace, you're not wrong. Prayer does help!

  3. Nicely written, Larry. I was chuckling all the way through it. My husband and I have offices (spare bedrooms) that are separated by a short hall, and we keep the doors closed while we're working. The rule is "Do not enter if the door is closed. Knock only if you're bleeding profusely." 😊

    1. Thanks, Kay! I love how you are your husband handle not being disturbed. And the rule for being interrupted!

  4. Wow how do you know me so well!😂