By Melissa Tamura
“Write every day.”
No matter what author you turn to, nine times out of 10, they recommend readers to do this. And they’re right. If you want to be a writer, you have to write every day. As Stephen King has said before, writing is a discipline, not a car wash.
If you have a large project in mind, like a novel, a writing habit helps you take small chunks out until, all of a sudden, you’re done! Besides, venting on paper can help you to relax and work through issues. Writing is therapeutic—millions of teenagers have already figured that one out.
No one can make you write every day—that’s up to you.
But once you’ve made the decision to start, keeping that resolution is trickier. Here are five tips to help keep you on the path and stop you from slacking off.
1) Don’t Do It For the Money
There is no money in writing. A lucky few get paid, and an even luckier few make a living—but the vast majority of people will never see more than a couple dollars for their efforts.
And that’s fine, because they’re not in it for the money, and neither are you!
2) Set A Goal
Whether that goal is 100 words or 1000, set it and reach it.
No one cares how long it takes you to write those words, all that matters is that you do.
Members of National Novel Writing Month (more commonly known as NaNoWriMo) are very familiar with this tactic. By writing only 1,667 words per day every day, they write 50,000 words—or an entire novel—in one month. Crazy!
3) Keep It Consistent
Start writing at the same time every day. Find a space in your daily schedule where you have some free time. No matter what’s going on, use that time and just go for it.
The first few days may be hard—you have things to do, places to be, people to meet—but after a while, you’ll get used to it and the words will come pouring in.
4) Write In A Group
Writing can be a lonely task. To avoid discouragement, get a group of friends together and encourage each other to meet your daily word counts, or join a writer’s circle where you can share your work.
Meeting regularly with other writers and sharing woes and works-in-progress are great motivators.
5) Remember Why You’re Writing
Is it because you love to write? Because you’ve always wanted to? Or something else?
Whatever the reason is, figure it out!
On the days when the writing is slow and your productivity is at an all time low, you’ll need to remember why you’re doing this. There are thousands of writers in the world who never get heard or read, but they keep on trying, because even if the rest of the world doesn’t agree, they love what they do.
And, if you want to be a writer, you should love what you do too.