Whether you’re doing NaNoWriMo and are racing to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days, or you simply want to establish a daily (or regular) writing routine, these writing tips will make it easier to meet your goal.
There’s a difference between a goal and a commitment. A goal is something you decide to do. While a commitment is the passionate sense of dedication you feel that keeps you glued to your goal, day after day after day, until it’s completed.
Years ago, I woke up with these words dancing in my head:
Without commitment, discipline is impossible
With commitment, discipline is inevitable
It’s not enough to want to write every day, or even to decide to write every day, you have to make a deep and firm commitment to yourself and to your writing if you’re going to succeed.
2. Make a list of the top 10 reasons why you want to write daily
Keeping your commitment to write every day is easier when you have strong and clear reasons why you’re writing. So make a list of what you want to get out of a daily writing practice:
- Create a strong habit of writing
- Open more easily to inspiration
- Master the craft of writing
Also list what you hope to accomplish through the completed project, whether it’s a book, a series of articles or blog posts, or something else. Put on your list how you hope your completed project will help you, as well as your readers.
- Build your credibility
- Complete a book you can feel proud of
- Build up your blog content, and boost your readership
- Earn money from your writing
- Promote yourself, your book, or your business
For your reader:
- entertain and educate people, helping them see themselves and others more clearly
- make people laugh, cry--feel
- walk people step-by-step through the process of learning what you know
Read your list often. The stronger (and more deeply felt) your reasons “why,” the more committed you'll feel and the easier it will be to keep your commitment.
- Do you write, no matter what?
- Do you write first, and let everything else come later?
- If you’re not inspired, do you sit down and write anyway?
- When you get a rejection, does that fuel you to do better and submit more?
- Do you do all of these on a consistent basis?
The stronger your commitment, the easier it is to truly make writing a top priority and to live the above actions and attitudes as a way of life.
4. Write first!
How often do you find yourself saying, “I’ll write as soon as I finish … (the dishes, my favorite TV show, organizing my desk, etc., etc., ad infinitum)” And how often does the day slip by without you doing any writing (or very little)?
There’s only one way to answer both of the above questions with “never,” (or at least “rarely”), and that is to Write First!
- Let the dishes sit in the sink for an hour… Write First!
- Record your favorite TV show… Write First!
- Let the piles of paper on your desk get a little dustier… Write First!
When you Write First! your world not only doesn’t fall apart, it usually goes better. It goes better because you feel good about yourself, and your writing. It goes better because things get done in the time you have. It’s one of those weird truisms that the less time you have to get something done, the more focused and productive you become. So don’t be afraid to Write First!
5. Break your daily goal into smaller goals
The bigger your daily writing goal, the more likely you are to put it off. While the smaller your daily writing goal (or pieces thereof), the more likely you are to get it done.
Think about it:
It’s easier to squeeze a fifteen-minute writing session into a busy day than to find a free hour to write. Do this four times a day, and you’ve written for an hour.
It’s easier to imagine writing two hundred and fifty words in one sitting than a thousand. Again, do this four times a day, and you’ve written a thousand words.
It's easier to write a specific scene or subsection of your chapter to completion in one sitting than to write an entire chapter.
The smaller the goal, the less your resistance. The less your resistance, the more likely you are to actually do it. If this seems like a trick to get you to sit down and write, you’re right. It is. If your goal is to write daily, there’s no law that says it all has to be done in one sitting.
The beauty of this little trick is that it has lots of treats for you:
- The smaller your writing goal, the most easily you’ll complete it.
- Completing a writing goal makes you feel good, builds your confidence, and makes it more likely you’ll write again, soon. Lots of little completions skyrocket all these good feelings.
- Once you get started, you often write past your small amount of time or word count goal.
- Even one short writing session a day helps you build a daily writing habit.
Small writing goals keep you writing consistently.
The more consistently you write, the more likely you are to grow your daily writing habit from 15 minutes to a half hour, and then on to an hour or more.
If you'd like some help staying focused and writing regularly, or navigating the details of writing and promoting your book or ebook, please visit my Writing and Ebook Coaching page. I love helping authors build a strong foundation for their writing success.