Writing is meant to be enjoyed. For those who write to live (translated: you’re lucky enough to be able to write and call it a job, or even better, a career), it doesn’t always feel like work. Sometimes it can. Sometimes, no matter how many writing-related accomplishments you’ve crossed off your bucket list, you just don’t feel like it.
Normally you’ll hear you should never force yourself to write. Yet going on writing hiatuses isn’t a healthy habit, either. Writing a little every day is the most efficient way to keep yourself motivated and on track even when you’re not pressured with a deadline. But how do you keep yourself on track? Writing daily isn’t always feasible … is it?
There are ways, friends. There are always ways.
Schedule 30 Minutes of Daily Writing Time
Trying to write every day is a big commitment. Many writers measure their progress by word or page count: the more you write in one sitting, the better. For some, this is a good self-motivator. But depending on your schedule, spontaneous life events, the weather, what have you, writing whatever you consider to be “a lot,” every day, isn’t always going to be possible. The harder you try, the more likely you’re going to end up burning yourself out. Writing droughts, as you probably know, are the worst.
Instead of measuring your progress by amount of completed work, measure it in time. Even if you’re not all that busy, schedule out 30 minutes specifically for writing every day. You might only write a few good paragraphs in that amount of time, if you’re not really into it. That’s fine; at least you wrote something. And if 30 minutes are up and you’re still breezing through—and you have time to keep going—go for it!
Switch Up Your Medium
Boredom is your worst enemy. Even when you’re writing a story you love, sitting down and working on the same project week after week can get tiring. If you open your file and just don’t feel like working on that particular story, that doesn’t mean you have to erase writing from your to-do list for the entire day.
Switch off between that story and another side project, like a poem or a blog post or a hypothetical podcast script. Anything to keep your brain in creative mode without having to force yourself to do something you don’t feel like doing that day. If you generally have trouble switching back-and-forth between projects, use a journal as one of your alternate outlets to keep up a steady flow of ideas without leaning too much on one over the other.
Set Aside One Day for Revisions and Rewrites
You might not consider revising and rewriting as actual writing progress, but writing seven days a week is tough no matter how extensive the project. Sometimes you’re going to unintentionally fall back into some bad writing habits. Terrible writing happens. To every writer. So going back and reviewing some of the work you’ve done recently can actually turn out to be more beneficial than you think.
Establish your own “writing work week” and reserve the last day of that week as a revision day. For example, if you want to keep it simple and set your week Sunday through Saturday, make Saturday your revision day. This day gives you a chance to review what you’ve accomplished and critique yourself in smaller “portions” while still making progress on whatever you happen to be working on at present.
My favorite phrase: one sentence is still one sentence closer to finishing. Slow progress is still progress. If you keep it up daily, you’ll spend less time worrying about how much you’re not getting done (you think) and more time actually writing.
Try out these suggestions. Let us know what works for you.
Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.