How do you make writing a priority in your already busy life? Here are some tips that will help you do just that.
The first suggestion is to know why you want to make writing a priority. Seriously. If you’re having trouble writing regularly it may be time to examine your motives. It’s totally okay not to write, ever, or for this period in your life. Most people don’t write and many of them get along just fine.
On the other hand if you find yourself writing in the cracks of your schedule because you more or less must, it may be time to make writing a priority.
It’s just an experiment
However you decide to make writing a priority, keep in mind it’s just an experiment. Even if you find the absolutely perfect for you method of making writing a priority this week, the chances are your needs will change as your life changes. And your life will change. You get married or don’t, have kids or don’t, change jobs, move, and so it goes. Writing can stay a priority through it all, but how and when you write is apt to change. Don’t expect certainty.
Write daily or at least predictably
Writing every day is great if you can work it out. It removes any doubt and limits the temptation to put it off until tomorrow.
The notion that you have to write daily, however, to succeed is just that, a notion. It works for some and not for others. Frank McKinley wrote Stop Feeling Guilty For Not Writing Every Day and I think I just fell in love!
Find your own pace as writing becomes a habit. Just be honest with yourself – if you’re procrastinating, stop it.
Plan too how long you will write in each session or how many pages, or words. Some measure like that can act as the motivation just when you need it most.
Okay, I’m an early riser by nature. So I write early in the morning. One advantage of writing early is it gets done before the day gets busy with other stuff. Even if you’re not up early, it might be worth starting first thing in the day until the habit settles in.
By the way, BrainPickings has an interesting article called How Long It Takes to Form a New Habit and it can be considerably longer than 21 days. In fact 66 days may be more like it.
Plan what to write next as your writing day ends
If you know what you’re going to write when your next writing session starts it will be much easier to get started and keep writing. You can make a what’s next note where you leave off.
Bookend with a buddy
Bookending is a great way to create accountability. Find a friend you can call every day and say something like “I’m going to start my 3 hours of writing now.” You want someone who will respond with no more than ‘okay’ or something similar. This isn’t time to talk. Then when your 3 hours are up call back and report that you did it or you didn’t. Again, just report.
Somehow if I tell someone I’m going to write it’s actually much easier to do it than if I don’t.
Make writing a priority for you
When someone calls me about ghostwriting a book and says “everybody tells me I should write a book,” my response is, “great, but how important is it to you?”
Sure, we often write ‘content’ and other such about things that we’re not truly excited or passionate about. That only works if we’re passionate about actually putting words on the screen.
Write because you love to write – anything else is just plain silly.
Write well and often,