I am still in the process of trying to keep a daily writing practice.
I truly believe it is the only way I will be able to write more often, more consistently and become a better writer.
But some days I don’t write.
But when I write, I feel great! Especially when I am able to keep a writing chain (writing on consecutive days non-stop) and I feel rubbish when I miss a day of writing. I feel guilty.
If I miss a day of writing, it’s usually because I have left my writing till late in the day when I have little energy.
The task of writing also seems too daunting at the end of the day. The temptation to think I can just write tomorrow is too strong. And if I’m tired I can think of at least 10 other things I could do instead like watching TV. Other times I know I don’t write because I am procrastinating or I’m just being lazy.
But when I don’t write daily I find that:
- I get more lazy
- My ideas seem to dry up
- I lose momentum in my writing
- Too many missed days of writing makes me lose my motivation
- Missing too many days makes me feel like I am starting at square one all over again
Many successful writers have one thing in common, and that is they write daily.
Now here is the secret. It is not the quantity of words that matters at this stage, but the frequency of writing.
Hemingway was known to write at best 400 words a day. But he did this every single day and produced Pulitzer prize-winning books.
Jeff Goins wrote a blog post everyday single day when he was starting out. And now he has over 4 books. And he still consistently writes 500 words every day.
The key is to write every day.
How much should you write?
Be realistic. Shaunta Grimes has written a number of books by writing for just 10 minutes every day.
The trick is to know how much time you can set aside every day no matter what and write. She knew that despite a busy life, she could manage 10 minutes a day every day.
Often we think we need to clear hours from our diary to indulge in a 3-hour writing session. But not everyone has the time nor the actual persistence to sit through 3 solid hours of writing. You need to build up the mental strength to it as well.
Shaunta, in her blog post, suggests you:
“Think of either an amount of time or a number of words that you are absolutely certain that, no matter what else happened in a day, you could meet.
Now cut that in half.
Maybe, cut it in half again.
Keep going until you have a goal so small that it would be psychologically more difficult for you to break it than it would be for you to just give in and get it done.”
The key is to start small but be consistent.
I started to do this last year with just 15 minutes day. That 15 minutes soon turned into 30 minutes and I’m still writing at least 20 mins a day. Habits build upon themselves until they become a part of you .
My secret is to just commit to a minimum of 500 words a day. If you can make the task so small, then it becomes achievable to do every day. In fact, it becomes impossible to not do it every day.
Micro habits are powerful. Its the small things that really do make all the difference over a long period of time.
What new micro habit can you start to help you write daily? Can you do 10 mins a day?