Woman sitting at desk with pen in hand writing, page is blank

Blank page. Type something…anything…take a phone call, answer email, open mail, stare at the wall. FRUSTRATION.

Take the frustration out of writing. Maybe you need a fruit basket…or at least an apple and a tomato. (And, yes, a tomato is technically a fruit).

Whether you’re a full-time writer or a CEO who has made it one of your tasks to write and publish a post each week to LinkedIn or your blog, DISTRACTIONS can get in the way of getting even a single post to the point where you can hit the PUBLISH button.

I’ve been writing all my life and most of it has been on deadline. Those deadlines can be very helpful; you either meet them or start looking for another job.

But when you’re writing for your own company, personal growth, or freelance work, it can be difficult to get fired up. Somehow every distraction sets in–even when you want to write. Then self-loathing begins. “Why can’t I just get this done?”

I am a huge fan of technology. I know some writers love to put pen to paper to write but when my fingers are glued to the keypad, my writing flows, hopefully. Maybe it’s because I hate my handwriting. Even so, just sitting down to write doesn’t always get the copy flowing at the pace I’d like.

That’s where the following tips and technology help me.

Woman sitting at desk with pen in hand writing, page is blank
Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Today, there are so many apps that help writers get focused. It sounds like this would be a complete waste of time. “I’m distracted. I can’t write and you’re suggesting that I start browsing the Web for apps? Sounds pointless.”

Yes, it could be if you simply wind up surfing the Web. But I’ve collected a list of apps and tips that can actually help you learn to focus better. So, whether it’s writing or some other activity that requires you to wholeheartedly focus on a task, these apps can help train and build the “discipline” muscle and keep you on track.

Build Your Discipline Muscle
The “discipline” muscle must be exercised daily or it grows fatigued and eventually atrophies, giving way to a wimpy lifestyle that leaves you lacking focus and determination in many areas of your life.

Tip 1: Eat An Apple. Your brain needs energy to work for you. Waking up grabbing coffee and running to the office to then sit down and require your brain to work at full creative capacity, is not only cruel but also a sure way to deplete your brain’s resources over time. I know some people say the caffeine works great. But, if you’re going to allow that habit, at the very least, supplement it with brain power nutrients such as an apple. New research from the University of Massachusetts reveals that apples are powerful for the brain. They’re rich with Vitamins A, B, and C, plus minerals: calcium and potassium and are loaded with fiber. But the real power in this brain food is the ability of apples to keep cells and neurons healthy despite the aging process. Wow! Gimme an apple!

Tip 2: Get A Tomato: I know you’re probably thinking this is my sneaky way of promoting ThePlantBasedDiet.com, (shameless plug!)…well, kind of. But I’m talking about a virtual tomato. Check out Tomato-Timer.com. It’s a simple, straightforward Website that will time your task. Start the clock for 25 minutes and write like you’re cooking up a Pomodoro sauce for dinner. Hungry? Where’s your apple?

Tip 3: Write about something you like: Yes, start with a prompt or a blog that you do for fun, just to get the writing mojo going. It’s like a J-School writing drill. Then move on to writing about work, or work for a client. It’s the same concept as getting paid and “paying yourself first” before you tackle all the bills. The more you write, the faster and easier it gets, especially when you first write about what you like.

Tip 4: Rescue Time: This app will help you recognize where you’re wasting time. The free level allows you to install the app on your desktop and mobile devices. It shows you how productive you are throughout the day and how much time you’ve spent on various activities ranging from those that are productive to distracting. It’s worth a look; you may be surprised to learn exactly how you spend your day online.

Tip 5: Call The Dragon In. I’ve logged so much time on my computer that my fingers sometimes get sore. I don’t have the lump that I used to get on my middle finger from handwriting. (I know—probably holding the pen wrong). Now, my fingers just call out to my brain asking for a break. So, I call Dragon Dictation in to take dictation. Talk away and the Dragon gets busy recording your thoughts into your computer.

There are thousands of apps that you can use to write better and faster. The key to developing any habit is to do it. Start small, write something, anything… then feel a sense of accomplishment. Then repeat. Write again. Write some more. And don’t worry about perfection, hit PUBLISH and start building the discipline muscle and your online following.

Phoebe Chongchua is a multimedia Brand Journalist who teaches: Think Like A Journalist, To Increase Your Bottom Line. She is also the Host of The Brand Journalism Advantage Podcast which features interviews with thought leaders from around the globe on marketing, brand journalism, and entrepreneurship. After 15 years in TV News as an Anchor/Reporter, Phoebe founded PCIN.TV. The Internet TV Station airs video stories from her online publications: Live Fit Magazine and The Plant-Based Diet as well as curates content from other sources. As a brand storyteller, Phoebe produces  business videos, articles, and photos to engage consumers and create brand evangelists.  Learn more:TheBrandJournalismAdvantage.com

 Contact Phoebe to get started on your Brand Strategy.

Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Phoebe Chongchua
Phoebe Chongchua

Phoebe Chongchua is a multimedia Brand Journalist, Brand Consultant & Marketing Strategist who is revolutionizing brand communication with consumers. She makes companies remarkable using brand journalism storytelling to grow their online presence, build a community, and gain greater market share. Phoebe is a former TV News journalist who helps brands gain a competitive advantage by learning to "Be the Media". Phoebe is the host of "The Brand Journalism Advantage" podcast and a "Top 50 Podcaster To Follow". Listen in iTunes or at ThinkLikeAJournalist.com

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