We writers all have that word-count hang up, don’t we? If we’re lucky, we’ve had the occasional day where we hammered out words in their thousands. But those days are rare, when the inspiration keeps flowing, and the temptation is to hold out on writing until we think one of those days has arrived.
I don’t know about you, but if I always waited for a prime writing day, I’d hardly write a thing. And the longer I wait between writing days, the less likely it is I’ll get one. Here are a few reasons why I think it’s much more productive to think about writing for consistency, rather than for quantity.
1. Keeping a Pulse
Writing consistently keeps a finger on the pulse of your work, so when you come back to a work in progress, you know what’s going on.
2. Practice Makes Perfect
There’s a lot of truth in the old adage. Repetition creates a pattern in your brain, like muscle memory, that springs back into place more easily each time.
3. Creating a Habit
Along the same lines, they say it takes 21 days to create or break a habit. Whether or not that’s accurate, consistency is definitely a key ingredient to making a habit stick. If you want to get into a daily writing habit, there is no magic formula other than sitting down daily and writing.
4. Working with Flow
There are some days when the words flow easily, and some days when they don’t. If you’re hung up on word count, then this can be very frustrating. If, however, you’ve determined it’s more important to write daily, no matter how many or few words you write, then you will likely be less discouraged by your lack of progress, which in turn makes you more relaxed and more likely to write well.
5. Word Count will Follow
If you focus on writing consistently and worry less about word count, the good news is you’ll still get word count. Some days will be light, other days heavier, but in the end you’ll still be producing words every day and eventually you’ll finish your manuscript – something that won’t happen if you wait for the right day.
So if you’re serious about writing, try shifting your focus from word count quantity to consistent writing times and see if that helps you reach your goals. 🙂