You’ve heard the masters say the key to great writing is writing every day. And you’ve tried that before, but you gave up trying.
Why? Because writing is hard. And life has this fun little way of getting in the way.
Well, I need you to know something: I did the exact same thing you did.
I tried writing every day. But life threw some nasty uppercuts. Plus, I believed I just couldn’t write unless I felt inspired to write. So I didn’t.
My writing took a hit as a result. And I don’t mean my stories were meh. Nah, I mean, I couldn’t connect to the story and would abandon it as a result.
Do you know what else happened?
- I felt my desire to write slipping away
- I grew depressed because I wasn’t achieving my goals
Maybe the same is true for you. But you can avoid it. Not only this, but you can write every day and make it stick. So how do you make time to write every day?:
- You “sift” for time
- You focus on the carrot (or the reward)
Sift for Time
Time is gold: it’s valuable and it’s the one thing we wish we had more of. Time, though, is much easier to sift for than gold. In fact, all of us do have more time to write. But we don’t think we do because we bury time with one big lie we tell ourselves.
The big lie we tell ourselves is that we don’t have time. Now, I’m not suggesting our lives aren’t crazy or that we don’t have crammed schedules. What I am saying is that this lie actually buries overlooked free time in our schedule or replaces free time with more comfortable pursuits.
Free time doesn’t have to look like a random free afternoon or even an hour. Free time can be ten to five minutes. Free time can be sittin’ on the john. Free time can be ten minutes before bed. Free time can be chillin’ on the bus ride home from school. Free time can be all the commercials interrupting your favorite show. Free time can be waking up ten minutes earlier than you usually do (I know, dude, now I’m pushing it but trust me your bed will be exactly where you left it when you get back).
The point is, you make time for important pursuits. You make sacrifices too. So if you truly want to be a great fiction writer, if you truly want to write every day, then you sacrifice that five to ten minutes of *insert activity here* and replace it with writing.
You don’t have to write gold every day either. No. And you don’t have to continue writing that novel you’re currently working on. You can write anything and that’s the brilliant part.
And if you don’t feel like writing, write why not. Literally. Take a post-it out, a piece of paper, or open a new Word doc and tell the page why you have no desire to write.
Finding time to write has its rewards, precious sunfish. So let’s focus on what those are…
Focus on the Carrot
Soccer might not seem worth it until you nail that bicycle kick past the goalie. Bench pressing iron weights might not seem worth it until your awesome guns start to rip your sleeves. Writing every day might not seem worth it until you write fiction that gathers a fandom-following.
When things get tough in your other pursuits, you remind yourself of the reward, of the carrot dangling at the end of the stick. Focusing on the reward keeps you going, no matter what. With writing, however, you see results much sooner than the fandom at the end of the road.
Five things will happen to you that happened to me:
- You’ll unearth your precious writing voice
- You’ll gain a deep connection to the page
- You’ll gain a deep connection with your characters
- You’ll rarely (if ever) get writer’s block
- Your writing style will improve
And that’s just five things. If you’re struggling to build scenes, find your unique voice, create iconic characters, or simply write words at all, then start writing every day. These benefits are coming your way, as long as you work toward them.
Lastly, you must do one last thing to make this all happen. You must make the effort to apply these tips.
Every busy youngin’ like you can write every day. So no more excuses. In the words of Yoda, “Do or do not. There is no try.” Sift for the time, and stick with it. Just like with soccer practice or working out, you have to break old habits and start new ones if you want to succeed. You’ll see great things happen when you do, and your craft will wildly improve. Promise, little papaya.
I invite you now to take a serious look at your schedule. Below, I’ve provided a worksheet for you to help map out your schedule and discover gold nuggets of time you can dedicate to writing:
Lastly, share this post with your friends. Tell them about the stand you’re making for your craft and why. Share it far and wide, little tweety bird. Be proud of the promise you’re making to improve yourself.