Alright, everyone, I’m going to assume that if you’re reading this, you are struggling with writing consistently (I know, I’m a mind reader, aren’t I?). I apologize in advance if I sound harsh, but this is meant to kick you around some.
Okay. Newsflash, guys: every single writer ever has struggled with writing on a schedule (cue gasping and exclamations of ‘heavens, no’ and ‘even Ernest Hemingway?’ Yes, even Ernest Hemingway….probably).
This does not give you any license to get away with it, i.e. ‘if they struggled too, I can just have bad habits like binge-writing and still succeed.’ Nope. Writing regularly is how you finish novels.
Go check your bookshelves and count how many books you have. Or, if you’re too lazy, count the number of shelves and multiply that by the number of books on one shelf (Go ahead. I’ll wait).
At least three or four times that many people have struggled with daily writing and pushed through it.* They were having problems with it, too, and look at them; they have something to show for their dedicated work.
*If you’re in a library, kudos to you. Go check out a fantasy book such as Harry Potter, a classic such as Wuthering Heights, a NY Times Bestseller like Hillbilly Elegy, or a biography about your favorite (or not so favorite) politician.
So, without further ado, a list of tips.
- Be ruthless. I don’t care if you haven’t picked up a book for fun in weeks, you’re on the last season of a TV series you’re binge-watching, the world is imploding, something just caught on fire, or all of them at once. Get to work. How will you ever publish your book unless you dedicate time to writing and revising your book first?
- Writer’s block and your inner editor’s voice (Ha, these are a couple of words guaranteed to make any writer’s blood pressure rise). When you have a problem, take a step back from the book. Re-read the chapter or scene you’ve just been writing, several times if you have to. You’re looking for something that feels off. Make a note to edit it once you find out what it is, then get back to writing. Your so-called block just wants you to know that something’s off, and she’s worried you’ll forget about it
- Quite literally, pencil your writing time into your schedule. If you’re a student, this means writing in your planner to write from, say, 6:30 to 7 am. At a minimum, give it 10 minutes each day. You’d be surprised to see what you can accomplish. If you work full time, take a good look at three times: commuting, lunch break, and free time after work’s over. If you are on a bus or other public transportation when you ride to and from work, pull out your phone and work on it then. If you have a lunch break and always find yourself finishing 5 minutes early, use those 5 minutes to plunk out 100 words of your chapter. Find yourself wanting to relax when you get back from work? Understandable, but remember that 10 minutes are all you need. Besides, do you really need to watch another episode of a predictable TV show?
- Force yourself to write daily. Yes, I know I’m repeating myself, and you wanted tips and tricks, not ‘just push through.’ The muse is picky; she just wants to know you’re serious before she’ll help you with writing, and daily writing is a way to emphasize that you take writing seriously. I cannot stress this enough because I, too, have struggled with this. If you want a way to look back and see your measured progress, if you want your brain to get in ‘story mode’ and stay in it, if you want to avoid unhealthy habits such as binge writing, or if you want to finally get a completed novel in your hands… write daily. Even if you write 200 words, that’s 200 words your novel would otherwise be without.
That’s all for today, guys! Thanks for reading, and if you enjoyed the article, please don’t hesitate to comment and tell me about it, or even to share it with some friends.
Written by Rebecca M, Founder of Whimsical Wordsmiths. Want to learn more about her? Click here for access to her biography and those of her fellow writers: Author Bio.