Most writers tend naturally to write in spurts – frantically typing away when the muse strikes, and going through slumps when they can’t seem to get anything out of the keyboard.
But the best writers seem to say that consistency is key. Writing every day, no matter what the quality, is the key to improving your writing.
As Jane Yolen says “Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without exercise, the muscles seize up.”
And another quote from Jodi Picoult: “You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.”
So okay, we know we need to write consistently. So how do we go about doing that?
Set aside time
First thing, plan out a block of your day that will be writing time. Choose your best time: when you know you’ll be focused and energized. It doesn’t even have to be a long time – even fifteen minutes can get you somewhere. If it’s going well, you can always extend it. Make that time sacred.
Accept your imperfection
None of the amazing novels you’ve read were ever hammered out exactly as is on the first try. Authors go through a ton of work before they generate something worthwhile. So what makes you think your work has to be polished, publishable material the minute it hits the screen? If you can accept that what you’re going to write isn’t going to be perfect, then writing every day gets easier.
Get a jumpstart
If you start out not knowing what to write, do a quick google search for a writing prompt. There’s a lot of stuff out there that can give you a spark. Or if you’re stuck on a work in progress, try jumping to a different part of your story and string it together later.
Keep track of your writing times. If it works for you, mark off on a calendar or check off a box on a list. Make a goal for how many days you want to write in a row and set rewards. You can give yourself a little reward for a week, a bigger one for a month, a great big one for a year. And if you’re having a really hard time, then dole out rewards every day for the first little while.
Do whatever it takes to get yourself in the chair every day. Set a reminder on your phone, or a post-it note by the computer. Get a friend to nudge you.
Make yourself do it
When it all comes down to it, you’re the only one who can accomplish this goal. You have to exert the willpower and remind yourself of your goal, even on the harder days. I promise it will pay off! 🙂