5 Ways to improve your writing and concentration

1. Eliminate distractions

Whether you are in a crowded newsroom, a noisy café, or just easily distracted there are online tools that will help you concentrate on your writing. Ommwriter, free downloadable software available for Macs, allows you to write in a meditative space. All you see when you use the program is your words and a serene background. You can also try DarkCopy, an online tool that allows for distraction-free writing.

2. Write down ideas when you have them

Everyone has that moment when they have a brilliant idea but, because they didn’t write it down, cannot recall it later. Don’t let this happen to you again by keeping a notepad with you at all times. If carrying a spiral notebook or reporter’s notepad isn’t really your style, check out the variety of cool notepads available including the Moleskine notebook, the Notepod, and AquaNotes, which are designed for use in the shower.

3. Use a better spell checker

No spell check is completely foolproof, but you can rest a little easier if you use After the Deadline, an advanced spell checker that is miles above Microsoft Word or any other tool. AtD not only checks for normal spelling and grammar, but also checks the style of your writing, whether you use active or passive voice, how your sentences flow, and — most importantly — whether you used the right word (e.g. “right” instead of “write”).

4. Tame the web

“Being a good writer is 3% talent and 97% not being distracted by the internet.” If that’s true, then eliminate online distractions by temporarily blocking the sites that distract you from your work. You can use web browser extensions like LeechBlock for Firefox or StayFocusd for Chrome that let you list time-wasting sites and how long they should be blocked. This way, even if you are tempted to play an online game or check Facebook, you won’t actually be able to.

5. Use natural remedies

Even before the internet, writers used natural remedies to help improve their concentration and memory. Foods like oatmeal, blueberries, yogurt, and coffee can help keep your mind clear and your focus on your work.

Flickr photo by Saucy Salad

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