#1 Make it ‘me’ time
If writing is something you like enough to want to incorporate it in your daily life, why not turn the switch from “I have to write” into “I get to write”? If you have chosen, this very day, to write instead of play a video game or watch some tv programming, or get a haircut or shop around for that new gear, is it that big of a stretch to see the time you’ve set aside for writing as a form of self-pampering? Try it. See what it feels like. Let us know.
#2 Write something you’re passionate about
A lot of us are in this writing thing for ourselves. Especially if you’re just starting out (and if you’re not, you’re better off scrolling through some of the other articles we have on this site), and you’re taking time out of your own, precious, often unpaid daily hours, you need to make sure that you like the story you’re telling, the characters you’re playing around with—or, rather, the topic you’re covering in the current chapter of your future non-fiction masterwork. A lot of people, early in their writing careers, think they should write this or that, focus on this or that hot subject and build their leading themes around the flavor of the hour, but if we start reading back into our favorite writers’ early years, more often than not we discover that they wrote what they felt like writing, most of the time. I can’t imagine the daily grind of typing out something I hate—and neither should you.
#3 Make writing a priority
It doesn’t have to be top priority, and each and every writer’s life circumstances are completely different, but if you’d rather do the dishes, mop the floor, or brush out your pet’s fur other than write, there just might be a slight disconnect between what you think you want to do and what you actually end up doing. I’ve discovered that, the moment I choose the writing desk over the slouching couch first thing in the morning (and I can type at the couch, without a doubt, I’m just way less productive there), I end up writing a considerable amount of copy even though I didn’t think I would. Try it out, be honest with yourself, and rewing back to points 1 & 2, above, if you end up avoiding writing all the time.
#4 Develop a routine around writing
Did you brush your teeth today? How about writing your pages? Going back to inspecting other writers’ habits (and that’s one of the many ways we learn, watching the masters - even through a virtual, distant lens), we oftentimes come across ‘writing every day’, or a similar approach, as part of their success. If you have to consciously choose writing every day, it takes time, and effort, and it slows the whole process down. If, on the other hand, you set up writing as just another chunk of your daily schedule, it becomes an everyday thing, something you don’t get to question, decide on or, even, think about; something you just do. Now, how about that?
#5 Set very small goals to begin with
That way, you’ll be much more prone to having a feeling of accomplishment, every day (or week, or weekend—whenever you fit writing as a recurring feature of your life). It’s incredibly tempting to set 3k words (for fiction writers) or more as a daily goal, but getting there can be quite hard, especially in the early stages. You goals should reflect your speed, but even setting them at your daily average can be counter-productive, because life happens. Smaller goals, but ones we reach more often than not, can do wonders overall.
#6 And remember that it will take time
Going back to dental care—did you learn to brush your teeth daily, without your parents’ prompts, at the very beginning of your bathroom adventure as a kid? Or did it take a while to understand why we do it, why it’s preferable we do it often, and the exact technique to apply?
The article was written by Vesna Kurilić
Vesna is a fantasy writer, public librarian and general-purpose geek who blogs about the writing life over at skirtsnwolves.com.