How to start with focused writing?

Post written by Orsolya Hernold

There are some basic questions before starting with focused writing: when? on what? for how long? how? what to do with it afterwards?


Think about your day. How do you wake up, what you do afterwards, your work and free time, your evening routine. Where could you put in one moment of sitting down to write? What works for you? You can experiment with it for a couple of days, write in the morning, during your lunch break, in the evening before sleep. It does not matter when you do; get to know yourself from this aspect as well.

Paper or digital?

I do both. 20 years ago I started with a notebook and I am still insist on certain topics to write on paper. It is more a question of when I write, because I do not like to start my day with my computer, so my morning writings are on paper. But in the evenings, I prefer the digital way. So figure out for yourself, what suits you best. The important thing is to have it handy – you can keep up the writing routine more if the paper and pen is close by where your are, or the device is on and you have the place made for your journal on it.

For how long?

If you have never written a diary, I suggest to take small steps. Choose an area of your life, select a topic offered on this site or the daily focus, and try to write one sentence a day. That is just a couple of seconds. Or scrabble down some words that come to your mind when you sit down with the intention to dedicate your time towards this endeavor. Just make the time and space in your day for writing – which can stay at this stage or can expand to writing longer texts.


If you are writing sentences there is one rule to keep in mind: always use first person. “I thought, I felt, I did…” The writing is about yourself, not in general or not about another person. So have your words reflect this.

What happens next?

Okay, you have your focus, you have your sentence of the day and you kept doing it for a couple of days, now what? Rereading your work is your harvest. You decide when, but after let’s say a week, look back at what you wrote and reflect. Is there anything new you discovered? Unusual? A pattern? A rhythm? Is the tone negative or positive? Maybe it is just every day blah-blah and you cannot make anything out of it? Go give it a try again with a new focus or continue with this one and try to go deeper – lengthen your text, write in a different time of the day, explore more areas: thoughts, feelings, reactions, fears, joys or sorrows.


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