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The longer you focus... 

...the more focused you will become.

Focus long enough and you’ll tap into something called Deep Work.

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What is Deep Work?

“Deep Work,” writes Cal Newport, who authored a book on the subject, “is a state where your mind is free of attention residue and, therefore, is operating at the highest level of intensity that it can.”

What’s attention residue?

Attention Residue is, basically, lingering thoughts.

Let me explain.

When you move from one activity to another, your focus does not fully transition.

Some of your thoughts stay with the last activity — the last text you sent; the last conversation you had; the last YouTube video you watched — and those residual thoughts linger in your brain, hindering your focus.

It’s imperative that writers understand this because...

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Focus is the key to writing faster.

Sounds obvious, right? Sounds like common sense…

But given the way most people write — myself included — it’s not.


Most of us write with multiple tabs open, with the door open, with the phone resting screen-up on the desk. Most of us write until something distracts us.

Sure, we eventually get back to work. But when we do we’re always a bit less focused, less there.

Start, stop.
Start, stop.
Start, stop.

This pattern is *killing* your writing speed.

Remember, every time you stop focusing, attention residue floods your brain — and it takes a toll.

“Until that residue clears out, which could take half an hour,” writes Newport, “you’re operating at a reduced cognitive capacity.”

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So, every time you abandon your writing flow to check Twitter or answer a text or chat with a colleague, you’re forfeiting your concentration and efficiency, your speed.

My advice:

When you’re writing, write.

Create an interruption-free environment for a set period of time.

Close your tabs.
Close your door.
Mute your phone and put it out of sight.

If you want to maximize your writing speed, minimize your distractions.


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