Top 5 Ways to Stay Focused

So this isn’t just related to writers, all people occasionally have trouble focusing, finding motivation to do their work or, in my case, writing.  Translating the thoughts in my head to words on the page.  Here are some quick things I’ve found to help me focus.

  1. Adderall: Now this isn’t a drug commercial, I promise.  I just found that, since I was diagnosed as ADD and started taking it, everything is so much easier.  If you have been told you are easily distractible, have trouble keeping to one task for long periods of time, or make constant unrelated segues, then it is possible that you too suffer from ADD.  Next time you’re at the doctor’s office, ask if they can do an assessment.  It can’t hurt to rule it out, or identify it.
  2. Forest: These days we all find ourselves checking our phone multiple times in the hour, if not more.  For the exceptionally addicted, there is an app called Forest.  It blocks your ability to use apps for whatever time you allot as your work time.  During that period, a virtual tree grows.  If you ‘Give Up’ as they put it, the tree will die.  My combined hatred of being told I’m giving up, along with my desire to keep at least one plant alive drives me to stick to my timetable and work.  There are many similar apps if you have no interest in creating a virtual forest.
  3. Music: Music, especially when writing, is something I find very helpful.  Nothing with lyrics, as those just distract me, but calm and quiet music.  The stuff I listen to falls into two categories.  I find classical music to be especially stimulating when I’m writing descriptions and working on my world-building.  I don’t know why, it just works.  The other music that does wonders for my productivity is video-game music.  Studies have shown that the music created by video-game designers is specifically engineered to drive people to keep playing.  That same motivation can be extracted from the soundtrack, playing softly in the background, feeding you a steady supply of motivation.
  4. Change your scenery: If what you need to focus on is in house, obviously this won’t work for you.  But if you have homework, need to write, or just need to finish that project from work, a change of scenery can do wonders.  Especially because, at home, you have access to all the distractions that usually cause problems.  For me, I have a vast array of books, Netflix, and two needy cats that stand between me and my writing.  My favorite place to go is Panera.  I slip on some headphones, drink the unlimited free water, and munch on a croissant while typing as fast as my fingers will take me.
  5. Take a break: It sounds counterproductive, I know.  To get something done you need to stop doing it?  But it’s true.  Sometimes brute-forcing your work just doesn’t work.  The brain can only work so hard before smoke starts pouring from your ears.  At this point, it’s a good idea to stand up and do something else.  Throw some laundry in the wash, make a snack, go outside and fulfill your sunlight quota for the day.  Whatever it is, I guarantee you will feel rejuvenated and ready to take another stab at your work.

That’s all I have for today.  I’m going to take my own advice and take a break.

Bye for now!

Wow!

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(The first sentence of The Sword and Shield.)

Really though, just wow.  I am overwhelmed by the numbers coming in.  Almost 100 people have already visited http://www.emmakhoury.wordpress.com!  Make sure you are actually opting to FOLLOW the blog as those are the numbers I will eventually present to the literary agent that is interested in my work.  It also provides you with a notification via e-mail when I create a new blog post like this one!

Unfortunately, self-promotion requires effort and maintenance, so I’m not going to allow myself to become complacent. (Eye of the Tiger playing softly in the background) I have downloaded the apps for Tumblr, WordPress, and Blogger in an effort to get my name out there.  I will be posting to those, as well as to my Facebook and Instagram pages no less than twice a week.

For someone who isn’t that fond of social media, I certainly have a lot of it now!

In other news, I just completed my second book!  Well, I completed the first of many many many drafts of my second book.  As of right now, it clocks in at roughly 90,000 words, written in just over two months.  Like Nanowrimo but with more crying.  It is still unnamed, though I’m leaning towards The Seer.  Will have to think about it.

I know, as an avid reader and purchaser of excessive numbers of books, that the title is very important.  My process when buying a book is a bit like If you give a mouse a cookie: if I like the title I will look at the cover, if I like the cover I will read the back, if I like the back I will read the first page and finally, if I like the first page I will read the first chapter, and if I like the first chapter I check my bank account and then buy the book regardless of what the bank – or my wallet – is telling me. Somehow, despite that rigorous evaluation process, I still have FIVE bookcases absolutely overflowing with books!

I am also going to present it to the agent as having the potential to be two books.  If I flesh it out more (world-building, descriptions, additional scenes) I think I could do it!

Well that’s all for today,

Bye for now!

Let’s Get Started!

*Insert Australian Accent Here*

Look closely, here we see a writer in her natural habitat.  Observe, the desperate look in her eyes as her fingers fly over the keyboard, just barely keeping up with the ideas pouring forth from her brain.  The hunched posture, as if she wishes she could launch herself into the story and wring the main character’s neck.  The pale complexion that hints at more time in a fictional world than the outside world.

Just kidding!

But really, thank you for taking the time out of your day to visit my baby of a website.  It came in at a beautiful 8lbs 7oz and is of a binary gender.

If you got that joke I want to be your best friend.

Okay, it looks like I am incapable of being serious at the moment.  I’m too hopped up on sugar from my latest poor life choice (donuts).

So here’s where I am in my writing life.  I have completed a manuscript entitled The Sword and Shield.  It still needs a little polish, but that will have to come from an editor as I have been over it so many times that I have grown to hate it just a little bit.  My second, as of now unnamed book, is almost complete.  Somehow, the ADD gods took pity on me because I’ve written 80k words in TWO months.  So as soon as that is finished I’ll hand it off to my beta readers (family and friends) who will tear it up into tiny pieces and set it on fire.  Kidding.  I hope.

They gave me great critiques on The Sword and Shield and I’m sure they’ll do the same for this latest project.

That’s all for today, I will try to post at least twice a week moving forward.  If I don’t, assume that one of my characters pulled an Inkheart, found me, and murdered me for being so mean.

Bye for now!

The Journey Begins

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Thanks for joining me!

On 7/11/18, now to be officially known not just as ‘Free Slurpee’ but also as ‘Good News’ Day!  I heard from a literary agent and they LOVED what I sent them.  The only thing is, I don’t have a very large platform (FB, Insta, the interwebs) to promote myself with.  So that’s why I created http://www.emmakhoury.wordpress.com

This website will include snippets of the book I’m currently trying to publish, progress on the second book I am writing, and day to day observations about how freaking hard it is to write a book!

Again, thank you so much for joining me on my journey!

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