I know. You are thinking that writing every day is impossible. You have a lot going on. Life is busy. People are demanding of your time. You have a lot of responsibilities and not much time, and what little you have leftover you are unlikely to give up easily. I totally get it.
I too live in the world of too little time and too much work combined with impossible dreams. And yet, we writers want to write. We think about writing, dream about writing, and visualize ourselves writing. Not only do we want to write, but the experts tell us to write. Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, and Barbara Kingsolver all recommend writers tap the keys every day.
But really, it is easy for a professional writer who spends all day drinking coffee and staring at the computer screen to tell everyone else to write every day. They no longer have to suffer through the workaday drudge of balancing life and love. I mean, they have personal assistants and lives of luxury, right?
I do not think that is true. I think they too struggle to sit down at the page every day—just like you and I do. I think the greats are just as challenged as the rest of us and create scenarios and schedules to keep them on track.
So, if King and Kingsolver can get themselves to the page every day, how do they do it? And how can the rest of us, who work jobs and have kids and deal with a lot of life, do it too?
If planting your backside in the chair each day is a struggle, then try out these tools to make it happen.
1. Take writing off of the lofty pedestal.
If you think of writing and your writing time as sacred or spiritual, then stop it. Treating your writing time as though it is a time of awe-inspiring inspiration could actually keep you away from writing. When we build up an activity in our minds to be overly important, sometimes we avoid it. If you can shift your mindset and think of writing as an enjoyable habit, akin to drinking a cup of tea, then you are more likely to write.
2. Make writing a ritual.
Many successful writers set aside a specific time to write. Some wake up early and write before the rest of the house is rustling around, and some stay up late at night to tap the keys while everyone else is dreaming quietly. Integrating your writing time into a ritual can make it more enjoyable and more engaging. We tend to stick with rituals once they are established, so this technique can be particularly effective. Connect your writing with a beverage, a snack, and a particular time of day. If you were to make a pot of coffee, grab a biscuit, and open your computer first thing in the morning, you have added writing into your morning coffee ritual.
3. Lower your expectations.
Stick with me for just a minute. I know this sounds bad, but it actually is a simple mindset shift that can bring you and your daily writing routine together. If, like many writers, you have enjoyed the occasional all-day writing extravaganza that allowed you to produce a large amount of writing, keep that memory but do not make that your expectation. Sometimes, as writers, we heighten our expectations of our writing time to become impossible feats—hours and hours spent producing everything from prose to poetry. But those instances are few are far between. Instead, set a reasonable expectation for your writing time. That makes the time you spend writing more enjoyable because you meet your personal expectation rather than fall short of it.
4. Set up your space.
What do you need to write? Do you need your notebook, the comfortable yellow armchair in the living room, and a foot stool? Do you need your wide desk with your white board on the wall next to you? Do you need to be away from home so that the house does not distract you? What do you need in your writing space? What you needed to write ten years ago may be completely different from what you need to write now. Take stock of what your real needs are—furniture, food and drink, tools and resources, and anything else that helps you focus and write.
5. Bring it all together.
If you make up your mind that writing is a simple, enjoyable habit that you do for a short amount of time each day, the pressure around writing can be lessened.
If you make writing a part of a daily ritual, like the first 15 minutes of your day while drinking a cup of coffee, then it becomes a part of your routine.
If you keep your expectations to a point where you can meet them no matter what the circumstances, like writing for 15 minutes a day, you are more likely to feel successful writing daily.
And if you have your space set up with everything you need to write, you are more likely to use your time productively rather than spending it searching for the pencil sharpener.
Writing every day does not mean you have to write for hours upon hours every day. Not at all. King and Kingsolver are spectacular professionals and have earned their place in the canon. For the rest of us, we can take their advice and engage in the writing process and communicate the desires of our hearts by writing every day. Sure, we work a lot, we have people to care for, and we have more responsibilities than time, but at the end of the day, the longing that we feel to write must be satisfied. We need to write.
If we can set aside just 15 minutes, we can successfully establish a daily writing routine. No one said that daily writing must take half the day to be successful. It is OK to write a little bit each day (in fact, writing a small amount each day can be highly productive). Give it a try. Put these steps into action and start writing each day.
Related Blog Posts
About the Site