“If you’re going to be a successful writer, you’ve got to find the time to write.”
If I’ve heard that once, I’ve heard it a million times. You know what? It’s true. Writers write. It’s what they do. They’re not on Facebook or Twitter fifty times a day, and they’re certainly not watching Real Housewives, or E!news.
They’re writing. Even when they have no words, even when they don’t feel like it, even long after their bodies are begging to go to bed.
Writing is one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever had. And it’s the only job I’ve loved.
It took me time, along with some trial and error, to find what worked and what didn’t.
Here’s what worked for me.
- Get a planner. You know, one of those spiral bound, hold-in-your-hand, planners. I cannot use the one on my phone. I need something right in front of me that I can write my schedule in every single day. Makes me feel professional too.
- Before I go to bed I look over my schedule for the next day and for the next week. It helps me know how much writing I’ve got to do and sometimes I even get ahead of my daily word count.
- Write down your daily word goal. Whether it’s 5K words or 100 words, write it down! If you are seeing that you can’t make your goal, then lower it until you can consistently meet your word count. Once that happens, you’ll find that you can increase your word count goals.
- I write out my writing schedule first. Then I schedule things around that. Writing takes center stage, and if I know I have an appointment at 11 a.m. then I know I have to get up early to meet my word count for the day. Sometimes I find that 5 p.m. has rolled around and I still haven’t finished, so I go back to writing after dinner time or after my son has gone to bed.
- Have an accountability partner. I have a group of writers that I write with on-line. We check in every 30 minutes with how many words we’ve written. It helps to have someone there cheering you on. Plus there’s that whole competitive thing. 🙂
- Make goals. 1 year/3 years/5 years. I’ve done this and at the end of the year I go back and do a review. This is how I’ve met many of my goals and make higher goals for the next year.
- Cut out things that are not furthering your career. For example, turn off The Real Housewives and get your butt in the chair and write. The same goes for Twitter and Facebook.
- Cut out toxic people. You know who I’m talking about. Those people who belittle your dreams and constantly tell you you’re just not going to make it. Those people are dangerous to your career and dangerous to your writing soul.
- Get up early. I get up before dawn so I can enjoy my coffee in peace and quiet and center myself. Whether you pray or meditate, you need this time to look at your day, calm yourself and get ready for the day ahead.
- Do it anyway. There will be days you sit at the computer, your fingertips poised on the keyboard and freeze. Write anyway. Start typing, even if it doesn’t make sense, until the you have something on the page. Remember, you can always go back and edit.
- Do it again until it becomes habit. They say it takes 30 days to do something to make it a habit. Write for 30 days until it becomes second nature.
- Be grateful. Writing is not a race. It’s a journey. Don’t forget to enjoy the little victories along the way and be grateful for the small things. Gratitude brings greatness.