I’ve often talked about this with fellow writers, but a recent chat with a new friend had me thinking I’d better write about this. It’s all about how to write every day, no matter what.
If you want to really be a writer, you need to write - really - every day. Here’s how.
To make daily writing feel as painless as possible, you’ve got to make it your worst, most unshakable habit.
A friend of mine is in a writing class right now. When she told her teacher she was having a hard time finding the time to write, she got a hard response: “If you can’t find the time to write, you can’t find the time to be a writer.”
Yes, this is true. Harsh, but true.
I’m just not sure this Tough Love answer is really all that helpful, because it doesn’t come with instructions - and I think they’re warranted.
Writers learning to write also need to learn how to write every day. It’s a process. It isn’t easy and at first seems unlikely if not downright impossible. So I want to share with you how I’ve been able to do it.
The Sports Metaphor
I’m not a particularly sporty person. If I tried running a marathon, I’ve no doubt I’d have a hard time. In fact, I’d have a hard time moving at all after the first week of training.
Writing a story is no different, especially if the only training you’ve really had as a writer is in drafting emails and text messages.
- Yes, your brain will hurt.
- Your vision will blurr. No question.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome is a reality for many new writers.
- The thinking as a storyteller gets easier.
- You can always wear glasses.
- Stretch three times a day and keep writing. The pain goes away.
But What About Time?
We tend to think of time as a separate thing we need to find, save or set-aside for certain activities. But this won’t ever help you to achieve anything at all. If you want to write, you’ve got to simply do it. The only way to really make sure that happens is by turning it into a habit.
If it’s a daily habit, it will be something you simply DO, no matter the time and no matter how tired you are. Do you think of brushing your teeth as sometihng you need to make time for or do you just do it two times a day?
You might wonder if I’m suggesting you write for the same number of minutes you brush your teeth. Well, almost. If you brush your teeth for two minutes each time you do brush your teeth, then you’d be just one minute shy of a proper writing session. Yes, I’m serious.
Now, some of you may truly have a hectic schedule. Maybe you even have a hard time finding time to go to the bathroom. I’ve actually been there, many years ago and it was no fun. All I can tell you is this: if you can barely pee without scheduling it in first, it’s time to seriously examine how you’re living your life and make changes.
If you don’t, all that lost time will catch up to you, like a tsunami of regret. Slow down and write.
Just A Few Minutes!
Write five minutes a day. Seriously. It’s better than nothing! You know it’s doable. Promise yourself 5 minutes of writing every day, your minimum.
If you write by hand, that’s about half a page. If you type, that’s about 300-500 words, depending on how fast a typist you are.
When and if you feel like writing more, do that. Not like you’re not allowed! You get to write as much as you want, after you complete the five minute marker.
Trust me: it won’t be long before you find yourself in a place where you just don’t feel right if you haven’t written yet. It’s just like doing sports. The more you do it, the easier it gets. The more regularly you do it, the more it will simply become part of your life, part of you.
When you write every single day, you are a writer.
Nothing is stopping you but you - or the things you believe have power over you. Take back your own power and define yourself.
Make it your reality:
I am a writer. I write every day. Without writing, my day is incomplete.
Keep creating, no matter what.