Writers must learn to control factors that influence the ability to focus, especially in what some call a culture of distraction. In our efforts to promote metacognition and flexible writing processes, writing teachers need to engage students in study and discussion of factors in our temporal, social, media, social media, and attentional environments that influence focus while composing. This article examines these facets of our contemporary scenes of writing by reviewing recent research in composition studies and psychology about writing and attention, discussing the results of a survey of undergraduate writers’ composing practices, and sharing insights from assignments that help writers notice important elements of their environments. The article recommends assignments and questions to encourage reflection on writers’ interactions with these elements in order both to find focus and to promote process-related transfer and adaptability in our ever-changing scenes of writing.


Creative Writing | Critical and Cultural Studies | Rhetoric and Composition | Social Media