Last week I launched the first ever #WeWriteNow challenge for my subscribers. It was an experimental challenge to see if a group of writers could find a way to form a daily writing habit despite their busy schedules.
Now I know some of you are going to read that sentence and get mad because you’re busy. But guess what? Everyone’s busy! Everyone has to juggle school, work, family, or friends with their writing passion.
Finding the time to write everyday isn’t easy, but it is possible if you have the right plan and today I’m going to share that plan with you.
So if you’re ready to make a crucial change in your writing journey, get pumped! Your change starts today.
Step 1) Pick A Time
This part is easy: the first step in creating a daily writing habit is picking the amount of time you’re going to write.
The trick to not failing at this is to pick a reasonable amount of time. Think of this like a new year’s resolution: if you say you’re going to go to the gym every single day when last year you only worked out 5 times, you’re going to burn yourself out and quit. The same thing is true with setting a writing time.
There’s a good chance you’re not in the position to dedicate 1-3 hours a day to writing. But guess what? You don’t need to be! All you need is a focused 30 minutes a day where you close out of Facebook, turn off your wifi, put your phone on airplane mode, and sit down to write.
That’s it. 30 minutes. 30 minutes a day is all it will take to transform your writing.
I know you’re busy, but I also know you can find that 30 minutes. Maybe you wake up earlier, maybe you go to bed later. Maybe you don’t watch Scandal, The Late Show, and Prison Break all in one same night. Whatever you need to do to carve out that 30 minutes, do it.
It’s a small price to pay for a significant change in your writing journey.
Step 2) Pick A Word Count
Picking a word count is important because a manageable word count will shift the way you think about writing. When I first tried to write everyday I put way too much pressure on myself. Similar to my failed workout resolution, trying to write 10 pages a day when I wasn’t used to writing 1 burnt me out fast.
In the #WeWriteNow challenge I decided to go a different route by setting a daily word count target of 500 words a day. Unlike my unrealistic 10 pages/day target, this was one I knew I could achieve. Knowing you can achieve your writing goals everyday makes a world of difference when you’re trying to form a daily writing habit!
With 500 words writing transformed from this overwhelming burden to an exciting break I couldn’t wait to get to every day. I got to enjoy the rush of creating and had a wonderful break from the other draining activities of my daily routine.
Once you start with a word count you know you can hit, you’re likely to write even more without realizing it! Over 50% of the writers in the #WeWriteNow challenge have doubled or tripled their daily word count at least once during the challenge! For me this happened on day 7—I sat down to write 500 words and when I was done I wrote 4,801!
By setting a goal you know you can achieve, you make writing everyday a fun activity that just happens to push you closer to your writing dreams.
So what should your count be?
I recommend you start small. Remember, you can always write more. If you commit to writing anywhere between 250-500 words a day, you’ll see your story grow and your writing will transform for the better.
Step 3) Have A Plan
Whether you’re a plotter or a pantser, you need to go into this writing time with an idea of what you’re going to write.
If you only have 30 minutes a day to write, you can’t waste any of that time brainstorming. Before you sit down at your computer or crack open your notebook decide what you’re going to write that day: it could be a chapter, it could be a scene, it could be one, short conversation.
It doesn’t matter what you plan as long as you know what you’re doing when your writing time starts.
Remember, it doesn't have to be an elaborate or completed outline of what you think will happen. Just make sure you have a general guideline to get you started and make the most of your limited writing time.
Step 4*) Get Out Of Your Way
Alright, so this isn’t actually a step, but it’s an important mindset you need to have when sticking to a daily writing routine.
I’ve gotten a chance to talk to many of you now and I know you struggle with a lot of the same things I used to struggle with. One of the biggest struggles I had to get through was learning when to be a perfectionist and when to turn my inner editor off.
If you’re writing the first draft of your novel with this daily writing routine you need to accept that everything you write won’t be perfect. You can always go back and edit/revise/polish what you write, but you can’t edit something that isn’t on the page. Use your daily writing routine to crank out your first draft. When you’re done you can worry about how realistic your dialogue sounds or how well you nailed the descriptions.
But for today, for the 30 minutes you spend writing today, you need to get out of your own way and just allow yourself to write. Write freely, without judgment and without a filter. If you do that, your daily word count will soar!
I will run the #WeWriteNow challenge again in the future, but you don’t need the challenge to keep writing. I’ve created a worksheet you can use to stay motivated and keep track of your own writing progress! Be sure to download your daily word count tracker and let me know what techniques help you write everyday!
So there you have it! You officially know how to write everyday. Now you have no excuse for not starting today! Get out of your way, pick a time, a word count, and let this awesome chapter in your writing journey begin!