How To Write Every Day (and why you should)

By Ali Hale

If you aspire to be a writer, and read tips from well known authors, you’ll have come across the advice that you should write every day.

Sharon suggested this in the best way to start out in freelance writing:

I recommend writing every day, even if it’s only for a little while. It makes writing part of your daily routine and it makes it easy to draw on the skills you have built up even if a particular writing project isn’t very inspiring.

And she’s in good company. Stephen King (in On Writing) tells fiction writers to aim for a target of 1,000 words a day, six days a week. Julia Cameron’s bestselling book The Artist’s Way has popularised the idea of “the morning pages” – writing three pages in your journal when you wake up. And if you have a blog, whether a personal or professional one, you might well be trying to publish something new every day (perhaps you want to emulate the success of blogs like ‘Daily Writing Tips’ … ;-))

Knowing that it’s a good idea to write every day, however, doesn’t make it easy to do so! Often, you’ll be busy and struggle to find a chance to write – and when you do have the time, you may not feel creative. Here’s how to write fiction, journal entries or blog posts every day:

Fiction

I’ve found it easiest to write daily when I’m working on a longer piece of fiction, such as a novel. End each day in the middle of a scene (or even in the middle of a sentence), and you’ll never be faced with a blank screen at the start of your writing session.

Have a target number of words or pages to aim for each day – perhaps working towards a deadline. I’d strongly recommend taking part in NaNoWriMo this November (or doing your own novel writing month before then); to “win” you have to write 50,000 words in a month – averaging 1,667 per day. It’s challenging, but will definitely help you to establish the daily writing habit!

If you’re working on short stories, and aiming to write every day, I’d urge you to count planning, outlining and editing as part of your writing. You might find you need to allocate a day for coming up with ideas (brainstorming), a day for planning in more detail, then three or four days to write the first draft.

Journal

You don’t need to write in your journal first thing in the morning. If, like me, you’re a “morning person”, you might well find it’s a good time to think through your plans and hopes for the day in writing … but for many people, finding time to journal before breakfast just isn’t practical.

The important thing with daily journaling is to be consistent with when you do it. Pick a time of day when you’ll always write in your journal (before breakfast, during your lunch hour, last thing at night before you go to bed) and it will quickly become a habit.

Also, try to see your journaling as a treat – a little chunk of time set aside just for you and your thoughts. It might help to buy a really nice notebook to write in (I have a lovely A4 hardback one for my journal), or to have your favourite drink or snack during your journaling time.

Blogging

Just because you want to publish a post every day doesn’t mean you have to write one each day: many bloggers write several posts ahead of time (perhaps at the weekend, if they have full-time jobs) then publish them throughout the week. Skellie, for example, suggests:

Set aside one morning or afternoon on the quietest day of the week where you will write all non-news posts for the following seven days.

However, if you have a news-orientated blog, you’ll need to cover stories as and when they break – writing and publishing on the same day. Or if your blog is a personal diary, you might be trying to keep it updated daily (especially if you’re posting your achievements towards a goal).

In these situations, a deadline and a sense of responsibility to your readers can work wonders. Promise on your blog that there’ll be a new post each day, then set yourself a private daily deadline (eg. 8pm) and aim to hit “publish” before then. Even when you’re not in the mood to write, the embarrassment of letting your readers down will motivate you to get typing…

Are you trying to write every day? What sort of writing are you doing – and is it going well? Do you have any great advice for other Daily Writing Tips readers who want to establish a daily writing habit? Let us know with the comment form below!

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17 Responses to “How To Write Every Day (and why you should)”

  • Reem

    I think it definitely helps to get the word out there to your readers that you plan on posting by a certain time, or plan on doing anything that you plan to update them on in the near future.

    It also helps to read any material that has to do with writing, as it ups the inspiration factor, and even makes you feel like you need to work harder to be as good as the writers you’re reading about. I read blogs that talk about writing and freelancing daily, and even on days writing makes me shiver with fear, that reminder that the successful writers are the ones who keep plugging away no matter what. It’s important for us humans to know we’re not alone, and reading about someone else’s similar woes helps us immensely to just keep forging ahead.

    A great and very helpful piece! Thanks!

    Reem

  • Journeyer

    I try to post to my blog each day. Some days are definitely easier than others, as I’m a stay at home mum with 3 kids. I would love to sit down on the weekend and write a week’s worth of posts, but we keep weekends for family time.

    I have found the best thing for me to do is brainstorm or mindmap my posts during some quiet time after my kids have gone to bed. I tend not to be able to write really well at that time of day, but the general ideas are there. Then in the mornings, I can usually find time to flesh out a post from my mindmap.

  • Terry Finley

    Thanks for the fiction section.

  • Lisa the Correspondent

    Thanks for this post.

  • Clare

    I set up my blog, Three Beautiful Things, with the intention of writing it every day. I thought — what sort of an idiot would fail to write three sentences and a header?

    It’s worked, pretty much. There’s a post for every day since 18 May 2004. If I’m away from a computer, I write in my notebook and catch up later.

    There are a couple of things that have kept me going — one is that I know my father reads it at work with his sandwich, so have to post by lunchtime; and the other is that I get the occasional message from a reader who says that 3BT is helping them through a dark time — so I’m haunted by the feeling that someone out there might be waiting for a post.

  • Jason

    If you want to really know how you can make immediate improvements on your writing, click on my name.

  • jennifer

    Bill O’Hanlon, the author of many books including “Write is a Verb” says that to help you establish a habit of writing everyday, you should start by writing for 15 minutes a day. Obviously you can write longer if you get into something, but he says you should make it your goal to write for 15 minutes everyday.

    I think that’s really good advice because it allows you to break writing into managable chunks and doesn’t make you feel overwhelmed because lets face it, 15 minutes is really not that much time.

    The idea is that eventually you’ll want to keep on writing for longer. I’m going to try it starting this weekend and see how it goes.

  • Susabelle

    Writing everyday is really critical! I feel it when I DON’T write in a day. I am either writing in my blogs, or writing in my novel, ever single day. I might not get a lot accomplished, but it’s something, and it keeps me in the “habit” of writing.

    I set some goals when I started blogging; I write in my personal journal on LiveJournal at least four times a week. I have a big readership and this keeps me on track. I do paid writing for a tech blog, I can write as much or as little as I want, but I set a goal of at least two articles a week. For my writing blog, I try to update at least once a week. For the disability services blog I write for, I write one article a week.

    I find that setting those goals then “keeping up” with them has helped me develop much better writing habits, not to mention plenty of great practice.

  • Dwayne Phillips

    I find that I feel better when I write (is that the definition of an addiction?). Hence, I write every day because I feel better.

    Journal writing – everyday at 10AM

    Short stories – written 6-8PM two or three nights a week

    Blogs – 1PM

    Having a book in progress is the easiest way to write everyday.

  • Spyda

    I try to write everyday on my blog but some times it’s just not easy. Thank you for this post, it’ll inspire me to write everyday for at least a week 🙂

  • Dianna

    Writing every day can be difficult at times. Especially if you have no computer access for days… I tend to think of those times as my ‘vacation’ times, where it’s not an obligation. But I still write.

    And thank you for mentioning Nanowrimo. (One of my deepest loves; next to Sweeney Todd and, of course, Sailor Moon.)

    ~Dianna

  • Samantha

    Meh, I frequently write in my journal and actually always enjoy it – it’s a fun activity to me – but after several years of this I don’t feel it’s so beneficial as others here suggest.

    To me the suggestions in under the ‘FICTION’ title may offer more. I see more worth in a goal like that.

  • Bobby

    This one time I heard a story online that made me dive through a plate glass window!

  • joji

    Hi .. Iam so nervse when i wrriet some thing, first becouase of speling and grammer also .
    but i try to wrriet at lest fife to ten sentenses every day .
    The English is my third langueges so that is why aletel defecoult for me, but i never get tiert ofit ..
    i will try to wrriet in a beter way for next time .
    thanks

  • Baruch Atta

    This webpage comes up first when i enter “write every day” into Google. So google thinks that many people are picking this link first and there are many links to this page. Very good.
    I am an aspiring writer. My main block is that I am not writing everyday. So this advice is good advice for me. NPR had a show today, I think “Fresh Air”, that gave advice on writing, and “write everyday” was the first item. I googled it to followup.
    The second piece of advice was “rewrite everyday”. The interviewee said that he rewrites the previous day’s writing every day.
    As for writing itself, he first creates charaters, then location, then puts them in action.
    I will follow up on that too!
    Wish me luck.

    BTW, joji, your writing is so cute! It is “aletel defecoult” to read, but once we get the meaning, it goes to the heart. Keep it up!

  • usha

    today is very cold and windy. Every one is sleeping in my family but i am still awake. It is deep pitch dark night. but the unique silence around. There is undescribable silent music of darkness. Which has a strange beauty of its own. I can hear the music of night cricket. And some sweetness of wind.

  • Hans

    I agree. A writer should write every day. As for myself, I’ve set a deadline that I’m determined to meet which is to write a chapter every week. It gives me something to look forward to, a challenge that helps me focus on the novel I’m working on.

    Thanks for this post.

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