Real writers make a commitment to write, and that requires sacrifice
Though I sometimes talk about when I write and how much, I’m always reluctant to do so. Writing is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. We are individuals with different family situations, who are at different life stages and have different levels of obligations. What works for me, doesn’t apply to you – at least not directly.
But the principles of my writing practices can pertain to everyone.
If we are to be writers, we must embrace the truth that writing is not a hope, it is a habit. What writing habit can you cultivate today?
Commit to a Schedule: I write every day. Not everyone can. Some write on weekdays only, while others are weekend warriors. Maybe Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon is all you can squeeze in. Start with that.
Discover Your Time: While I like to write first thing in the morning, that doesn’t work for everyone. Maybe it’s late at night or in the middle of the night. Perhaps you arise early before the kids get up. Find out when is best for you.
Pick a Place: I have a writing office. Not everyone has that luxury, but find a place and dedicate it to writing. When we enter our writing place, our mind learns it’s time to write.
Set a Small, Realistic Goal: My first goal was an hour a day. It grew from there. But an hour might be too much for you. Can you block out ten minutes? Or maybe you don’t set a time goal, but a word count goal. Can you commit to writing one hundred words a session? If you go beyond ten minutes or one hundred words, consider it a bonus. But strive to reach your goal every time your schedule tells you to write.
Don’t Stretch Yourself Too Soon: Once you form the habit of writing, you may want to expand beyond ten minutes or one hundred words. Just don’t push yourself too fast or too soon. I didn’t push myself to write more than an hour a day, my writing (some might call it my muse) propelled me to do more.
Recognize Your Style: Some people write like the fabled hare and others resemble the tortoise. Figure out which you are. Then embrace it. But know that both have seasons when they write more and write longer. The writing hare uses deadlines and then takes a long break. The writing tortoise plods forward every day but makes more progress during certain seasons. Recognize that writing productivity ebbs and flows. Sometimes it’s futile to fight it.
The point in this is, don’t hope you will someday find time to write, begin today to make it a habit.
Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of Publishing. Get your copy today.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.