When I was thirteen, I attended a writers’ conference in which an instructor said that, if you wanted to be a “real writer,” you had to write every day. I wanted to be a real writer.
Since then, I’ve done pretty well at keeping up a writing routine. Hardly a day goes by when I don’t write something, even if it’s just a journal entry (or blog post). These are a few of the methods I’ve tried to keep me going.
- Set an “end product” goal. This is what I did in April, when my goal was one poem a day. Your goal could be one blog post a day, one journal entry a day, one page a day on your novel (or one complete scene), or one short story a week. One year, I committed to writing in my journal every day. Some of the entries were so short that I thought it was pointless to even bother, but my friend said, “It’s still something to remember the day by.” She was right. At the end of the year, I was glad I’d done it.
- Set a “word count” goal. I only do this during NaNoWriMo, when Word Count Reigns Supreme. I found that applying it to other writing projects just frustrated me, because sometimes 1,000 words takes me 20 minutes, while other times it takes me three hours. I never knew how much time to carve out with this goal.
- Set a timer. This works best for me because it’s adaptable; back when I wrote before going to work, I’d set the timer for 30 minutes. Now that I’m conscientiously devoting more time to writing, I set it for 60. And then I don’t look at the clock, I don’t count my words, I just write. I know that I’ll get out of it as soon as the bell rings, and there’s no reason to think of it a moment before. Most days, I actually find myself disappointed when the timer goes off.
- Write first thing in the morning, even if it’s just your dream from the night before. Because trust me, something more important will always come up once the day begins.
- Use a calendar. This is how I first started holding myself accountable. I gave myself one day a week “off” from writing, and when I took that day, I’d write “no writing” on that day on the calendar. Any other day I didn’t write, I also wrote, “no writing” on the calendar. When your calendar becomes dreadfully cluttered with days proclaiming, “no writing,” you should be good and guilted into reforming your ways. Or giving up on the whole writing thing, which is always a fair option.
Not a single method above is immune to procrastination, however. My blog will always be here for you when you feel the need to procrastinate.