How to Focus on Writing When Your Cat is Peeing on the Kitchen Table

I only write when I’m focused and concentrated, and I only write when I’m comfortable. I used to try to write without any planning, but I can’t get the results I want if I’m not in the writing zone. When I’m in this writing zone, words just come at me with a tremendous speed. I love it. It feels like I can do it all day long. Nothing but write. Just me and my words. And, nothing can distract me, nothing. Not even our cat on the kitchen table. On the other hand, if I feel like I’m forced to write, I can’t seem to find the words anywhere. Not even if they were handed to me on a piece of paper. It’s so hard when that happens. But, because I’m planning, it doesn’t happen anymore.

I am planning to get in the writing zone

I plan my writing. Not only do I plan what I’m going to write, but I plan how I am going to write, and where I’m going to write, and what type of software I’m going to use to write. Sometimes I even use a pen and a paper, but nowadays, I mostly use three types of software. That’s WriteRoom, OmmWriter and iA Writer (my favorite). They all help me stay focused and get in the writing zone, even when my cat has jumped up on the table, is sniffing the food and ready to do some damage. I don’t notice.

There are always four things I do when I write. When I combine them, they keep me very focused and I don’t get distracted. Not by anything, not even the cat.

1. I only write what I want to write

I always keep writing no matter how bad I feel the structure is, and how bad I feel that the sentences are. I always just keep writing. It doesn’t matter. I always write until I have enough content. I never do any editing or adjustments, I write at least five hundred words. When I feel that I have added everything, all the small details, I start the editing process. I never start editing before I’m finished adding the details. That’s important to me. If I started editing before I was finished with the content, I would spend a lot more time, and I wouldn’t get nearly as much done. My blog is about marketing, but that doesn’t keep me from writing about writing, or whatever personal journey I’m going through at the moment. That’s because right now, writing is what I want to be writing about. I always write what I want to write.

2. I never have any goals or deadlines

I have a lot of goals and deadlines, but not when it comes to writing. Some people have a goal of writing 1,000 words a day, other people have goals that they are going to finish writing one or two blog posts, or whatever they are writing. I never have any goals, other than write when I have the time to write, and write when I feel like writing, what I feel like writing, and just write in order to have fun. If I’m not having any fun, I won’t do any writing. I don’t see it as work, or something I need to do every single day (in order to get paid). If I did, it would be hard to have fun doing it. For instance, I didn’t write a single word yesterday.

I see writing as a way to escape. It’s a way to create another type of reality. It’s a way to create something that only I control. When I write I do everything on my own terms, and only when I feel like it. I’m in total control, and I’m loving it.

3. It’s in my head before I start writing

I usually don’t add a lot of notes. I usually don’t plan my posts several days ahead of time. But, I do my best to think about what I’m going to write before I sit down at the kitchen table and start writing. I can start the thinking process an hour before, a few minutes before, or even a few days before. It all depends. I work on the blog post in my head, I think about the different angles, and the different paragraphs. I even think about if I have written similar blog posts that I can link to, like when I wrote about the benefits of blogging while on vacation, yes, I actually thought about this before I started writing this post. I never think about all the details before I start writing, if I did, I wouldn’t be creative, and I wouldn’t have any fun writing. And to me, yes I know I’ve said this before, it’s all about having fun (and hopefully learning a thing or two while having fun).

What I’m actually saying is that writing is about passion. Not so much that I’m staying up late at night, writing thousands of words, like I’m obsessed with a story. Nah, it’s not like that. Not at all. It’s just about feeling good about what I’m doing. I guess that’s it.

4. I need the perfect word processor

I’m one of those guys that just can’t feel good about writing if I’m not using the perfect software. I just can’t use Microsoft Word when it comes to being creative, and do the actual writing. I can use it when it comes to adding details and editing, or adjusting the structure, but that’s it. I just can’t stay focused on writing, if I’m not entirely comfortable with what I’m looking at on the screen. That’s why I have tested, what to me feels like every single writing tool available on the Internet. I have finally ended up with the best three writing tools, and even though I have been switching from one to the other, because I couldn’t decide on which one I wanted to use, until recently. I want to show you exactly why I love iA Writer (Mac only), I think you’re in for a surprise. Take a look at the video below, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

It’s your turn

Do you have any techniques to help you focus on writing when the cat is peeing on the kitchen table? Or do you have to lock yourself inside the office in order to get anything done? I’d love to hear your opinion. Where, when and how do you write? And, do you use Microsoft Word or any other types of software? Let’s discuss in the comments.

Signature Jens P. Berget

  • http://billdorman.me Bill Dorman

    Hey that was pretty cool; did you have to hire somebody to speak with the accent to make it more sophisticated. I thought it was cool to hear the Jen’s voice.

    My next question is; while you are sitting there formulating your thoughts for an English speaking post is it rolling around your mind in Norwegian or English?

    I have been trying to carve more time out for writing. However, the more time I do for this then it takes away from the commenting. I’m trying to find the happy balance.

    I’m also trying to be a little more purposeful with the writing and cut down on some of the fluff. I would like to work on developing a little more depth and richness to my words but still have it sound like me.

    Good to see you; I looked in my reader and had 20 ‘unread’ from you but it must have had something to do when your internet went down.

    Hope all is well and good to see you.

  • http://slymarketing.com jens

    That darn accent won’t go away, but as long as you find it to be sophisticated, I guess I should be happy :)

    I certainly understand what you’re saying when it comes to finding the balance. This is hard. I want to spend hours every single day to write and create my own stuff, but on the other hand, it’s so much fun and I find it to be even more important to support other people. It’s the support and building relationships that are the real essense of what we’re doing online.

    But, we need to find the time to create a product and to develop as writers as well. But, like you, I’m still trying my best to find the balance. Let me know when you have the solution :)

    It’s great to see you here Bill. While you where writing your comment, I was writing my comment to your guest post :)

    Jens

  • http://adriennesmith.net Adrienne

    I got to hear Jens!!! How cool is that and I agree with Bill, what a sophisticated voice you have.

    Seeing how you are already a novelist, you probably are a pro at writing schedules. Me, I just write and I edit as I go. Sometimes I can breeze through writing a post while other times I’ll go back over it time and time again.

    I don’t really have any specific schedule for writing but I do publish my posts on Mondays and Thursdays. Sometimes I wait until the night before to write while other times I already know what I want to write and will do them a few days ahead of time. Like right now I have an idea of what my Thursday post will be but am not 100% positive. Nope, no set schedule.

    I love your headlines Jens, you do grab our attention. That I do know for sure.

    Enjoyed the post and hearing your share with us what software you love. I don’t have a mac so I’m stuck with my PC. But, it’s all I’ve ever known.

    :-)

  • Brankica

    I was already feeling down seeing it is for Mac only (still on Windows) but I just saw there is an iPad version. I can’t wait to get my hands on this, looks like an amazing tool! Thanks, Jens

  • http://www.wonderoftech.com/feed/ Carolyn

    Hi Bill, I agree with you about Jens’ accent. So cool! If you want to hear more of it, head to today’s Wonder of Tech where Jens has a guest post, including a video with his sophisticated accent. I think you will enjoy his brilliant writing.

    I didn’t think your blog had any fluff. My bad. :-0

  • http://www.wonderoftech.com/feed/ Carolyn

    Adrienne, I’m so glad we Americans agree on Jens’ accent. I was so thrilled to hear it when Jens submitted his guest post to my blog on Spotify. See, Jens? Your biggest fans love your voice! :-D

  • http://adriennesmith.net Adrienne

    Guest posting, I’ll rush right over. Thank you for sharing that Carolyn…

    Anytime you need comments girl, give me a shout. Sometimes I don’t make it all the way around for every post. I give it my best shot though.

    I’m off!!!

  • http://www.wonderoftech.com/feed/ Carolyn

    Hi Jens, Great video! I can see why you use this software, what a wonderful feature, well demonstrated. I don’t know if lightening the other sentences would help me or not. Can you make the other sentences dark when you want to edit?

    I am guilty of editing while I’m writing, though I try not to do that. This software probably would help with that nasty habit I have.

    As far as getting into the “zone”, I know exactly what you’re talking about. When I lived in England, I took online fiction writing classes with Gotham Writer’s Workshop and I wrote my weekly fiction pieces with specific surroundings. I didn’t know much about what I was going to write until I sat down at the computer and got into the zone. Sometimes I amazed myself at the stories I would concoct (where did that come from?).

    But writing my blog is very different. I am more analytical and often outline or write down the points I need to cover. I have written on several computers in all sorts of surroundings. I’m not often in the zone.

    What guides me in my writing is whether I think what I’m writing will help people. I’m not trying to be altruistic, but it’s a good indication to me of whether my article will have value to the readers. I think that’s why I struggled so much with my #NicheAmnesty article. It was about me, how does that help readers? But it was very popular. Go figure.

    I do better with deadlines, to I try to self-impose them. But if I want a break, I take one. I’m not publishing tomorrow on my blog, I’m resting on the laurels of your amazing article today! This will give me time to catch up and visit other blog posts I missed while I was away.

    Thanks so much, Jens, for your awesome and inspirational article, here and at The Wonder of Tech! :-)

  • http://www.wonderoftech.com/feed/ Carolyn

    Thanks, Adrienne, I appreciate that! Jens article is so amazing, I would hate for anyone to miss out on his brilliance. :-)

  • Farhan

    I really like the title of your post its amazing,I think good atmosphere is necessary for writing purpose

  • Eddie Gear

    Those are some interesting tools Jens. In fact I’ve heard alot about writing room. However, I have my own zone set up when I write. Loud music, bright room, lots of fluids. Its a very different way of writing for me. I guess most bloggers would prefer quite and calm ambiance.

  • Bojan

    I am using Pages in full screen. CleAn UI, and additional utilities in single simple app for MAC

  • Sunshine

    Hi Jens,

    As a freelance writer, I really have to focus on writing everyday and meet the deadlines or else I’ll be dead. lol

  • Joe Barlow

    Wow, what a great idea for a post. Count me among those who need a dedicated writing space, although it doesn’t have to be my house. Indeed, I much prefer to write in coffee houses because my telephone isn’t constantly ringing, and I don’t have neighbors dropping by asking me to help them move furniture. :)

    And yes, the correct word processor can make a world of difference to one’s efficiency. Make sure you MAXIMIZE it while you write, to reduce your temptation to check Facebook and Twitter!

  • Justin

    Hi Jens,
    Lately I have been taking the time to write several posts in one day so that I can focus on other blogging stuff during the week.

    It’s like once I release the resistance I can just keep writing and writing.

  • Ruth Zive

    I wish I could just walk away from my freelance obligations and write “only what I want to write”. I suppose I’m driven to write a lot of what I do because the pay is good and it affords me a certain lifestyle, and I guess that’s a choice.

    Writing is indeed my passion, and I’m grateful to be doing something that I love. But I’m struggling to focus my writing entirely on those TOPICS about which I am passionate. I love Ashtanga yoga, designer handbags and special needs advocacy – but those niche markets aren’t nearly as lucrative as the one in which I currently write. Maybe balance is the answer.

    Great headline, by the way – I’m wondering if you have any tips for how I can maintain my composure and focus when the dog is crapping on living room couch.

  • Eugene

    I’m on PC too. I thought I was breaking some sort of unsaid blogger code by not using a MAC. Glad to see I’m not alone :).

  • johnseena

    Thanks for a great blog with many interesting posts!

  • http://slymarketing.com jens

    Hi Adrienne,

    Thank you so much. I’m not entirely happy with my sophisticated voice, but I’m glad you and Bill enjoys it :)

    Too bad this software is only for Mac (and iPad), but I’ve tested a sofware called DarkRoom for PC, it’s fairly similar and it’s free, you might want to check it out.

    Thanks again for all your support.

    Jens

  • http://slymarketing.com jens

    Hi Brankica,

    Yes, I just saw that iA Writer is for iPad. This is the first app I’m going to buy when I finally get an iPad. It looks awesome. Let me know if you end up buying it.

    Jens

  • http://slymarketing.com jens

    Hi Eugene,

    I used to have a PC as well, but that’s a long time ago :)

    I’m not going to say anything bad about PC’s, most of my family and friends and co-workers use PC’s. What’s important is the quality of the content and the relationships we create, not the hardware :)

    Jens

  • http://slymarketing.com jens

    Hi Carolyn,

    I truly understand what you’re saying, blogging is about writing articles to help people and to share what we know. I used to add lots of bulletpoints and outline articles, but I discovered that when I didn’t do this, I was more creative and it was more fun. Now, I just write whenever I feel like it, and whatever comes to my mind.

    Thanks a lot for all your help and support!

    Jens

  • http://slymarketing.com jens

    Hi Bojan,

    I have been using Pages as well, I prefer all writing tools that are in full screen mode. I’m not sure why, but I can’t seem to focus on the words if I’m not writing in full screen mode.

    Thanks a lot for your comment, I really appreciate it.

    Jens

  • http://slymarketing.com jens

    Hi Sunshine,

    I know exactly what you’re saying. If I was making money as a freelance writer, I would be writing every single day as well, and I would meet every single deadline. I would hustle.

    I’m earning my money working at a college, that’s a little different :)

    Thanks a lot for stopping by, I really appreciate it.

    Jens

  • http://slymarketing.com jens

    Hi Farhan,

    Thanks a lot for your feedback.

    I also need a good atmosphere when I write. That’s very important to me.

    Jens

  • http://slymarketing.com jens

    Hi Eddie,

    I have many different way to write, and sometimes I listen to loud music as well. I use Spotify, and I have to big speakers in my office. And I always drink tea when I write :)

    Thanks a lot for sharing how you write.

    Jens

  • http://slymarketing.com jens

    Hi Joe,

    I have tested writing in various coffee shops, and restaurants. But, I was so worried that I had to buy something. I ended up buying a few cups of tea, and then I thought that it was just too little. So, I ended up sitting on the grass in a park instead :)

    I love to test new places to write, but so far, what works best is the office at home.

    Thanks a lot for your brilliant comment Joe.

    Jens

  • http://slymarketing.com jens

    Hi Justin,

    I have also been writing in batches, it’s so much easier to write several posts during one day. This way we get a lot more done, so I can certainly understand that you’re doing this.

    Thanks a lot for your comment.

    Jens

  • http://slymarketing.com jens

    Hi Ruth,

    It sounds great to be a freelance writer, even though you don’t always write what you want to write, you get to do what you love doing, write. I wish I could do that.

    Start using iA Writer, and you won’t even see your dog crapping on the living room couch :)

    Thanks a lot for the feedback, I really appreciate it.

    Jens

  • http://slymarketing.com jens

    Wow, that sounds awesome. I would love to have six cats. If you start using iA Writer, you can add 6 more, and you won’t even notice them while you’re writing :)

  • http://slymarketing.com jens

    Thanks a lot for your feedback :)

  • Liza M.

    You have a different approach on writing. A carefree attitude, enables you to freely be into your work. Unlike mine, I am most having a difficulty meeting such deadlines. It is tough but I love challenges. So my style is quite different from yours.

  • http://slymarketing.com jens

    Hi Liza,

    I love challenges as well. Even though I don’t have deadlines or goals, sometimes I create challenges just for the fun of it, and make deadlines, just to see what happens, and if I can keep them and if it will improve my writing.

    Thanks a lot for your comment.

    Jens

  • Mary

    Thank you for tips, but they are obvious

  • http://slymarketing.com jens

    Hi Mary,

    Thank you so much for the feedback. It wasn’t as obvious to me, especially since I’ve just discovered iA Writer :)

    Thanks again.

    Jens

  • Michael Said

    Writing to a plan is important otherwise you could end up all over the place in your article. You have given some sound food for thought in this post, thanks for sharing.

  • http://slymarketing.com jens

    Hi Michael,

    I agree that it’s important to stick to a plan for many (or even most) people. I have tried it, and I have a plan, but it’s not as structured. I need to be able to just write, and see what happens. This way is the best way for me.

    Are you using any software to outline what you write?

    Thanks a lot for your comment.

    Jens

  • James H

    I know where you are coming from with the comment about the perfect word processor.

    I have a desktop, its a powerhouse and cost me 4k, I came into some money and was a little careless when I bought it, I still find myself typing on the laptop though, I just need the freedom to move around that the desktop wont give me.

  • Michael Said

    Hi Jens, no I do not use any software when outlining my writing. Do you and if so what do you use?

  • Wade

    Hi Jens great article. I like to write in the moment and do not fancy too much structure, different strokes for different folks. That said, when I am hired as freelance writer to write numerous articles for clients, then I sit down and make it happen without any frustrations.

  • Barbara

    Catchy title, thought it would be good for a laugh, but there wasn’t one.

  • Bojan

    Mate, I find thIs out of this world! Immediately installed on my iPad and will follow up on my MAC… Looking forward using it. Thanks a million for your awesome headline that sparked my attention and delivered even more awesome recommendation.

    Thank you!

  • chan luu

    Hi Jens great article. I like to write in the moment and do not fancy too much structure, different strokes for different folks. That said, when I am hired as freelance writer to write numerous articles for clients, then I sit down and make it happen without any frustrations.

  • http://slymarketing.com Jens P. Berget

    Me too :)

    It’s so much easier to write in full-screen mode, I stay a lot more focused that way.

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