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:
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.
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.
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!