The best piece of advice that has ever been given to a writer is simple.
Write all the time.
Write every day.
The only problem with that is, as a whole, writers really want to skip this part. We just do not want to sit down and have to trudge through the process of stringing together just the right words, avoiding treacherous plot holes as we go. The idea of it is daunting as hell.
Instead, we clean our microwave. We play with out cats. We do anything else with the excuse, “It had to be done sometime.” Well, so does your writing. Your book will forever remain this image in your head unless you sit your butt in that chair.
Here are my five steps to creating a daily writing routine.
- Pick a time of day that works best for you. I like to start all of my work at precisely 9 AM. That way, after I hit a home run with my word count goal, I am free for the rest of the day. I also work very well in copious amounts of sunlight. If you’re a night person, pick a time later in the night. Just pick a time to start.
- Set a word count goal. Start simple if you don’t have a deadline. You would be surprised at how easy it is to hit 500 words a day. If you feel you can fly past that, then do it. If not, push for that 500 and then call it a day. At least you hit your goal. Right now, I like to function at a 1,500 to 2,000 word count a day (mostly because my ghostwriting has deadlines). It’s possible. I’ve even managed 5,000 word days by splitting my writing time to morning and evening.
- Create a space that works best for you. I like to open the curtains in my bedroom and write in bed. I saw another writer carve space in her walk-in closet because she needed darkness to write. Whatever it is that you need, make it. It’s nothing fancy. All you need is a place to drop your butt. (A drawer full of candy doesn’t hurt either).
- Decide how you want to write. Are you the kind of person that needs absolute silence to maintain your train of thought? Or, do you find yourself more productive while jamming to some tunes? I consider myself part of the latter. I use Spotify to create playlists or to binge my recent obsession (Bastille, if you were wondering). It’s free to sign up and I think it works much better than using Youtube.
- Lastly, and this may be the most important part, WRITE. Put pen to paper or fingers to key board. Don’t worry how awful it is. That’s what revisions are for later on. Then, when you go out and buy that nifty package of red pens, you have something to tear apart while you sift for gold.
That wasn’t so hard, right?
Do this as often as you can until it becomes an everyday habit. You’ll surprise yourself with how much you will get done. You will have days where you’re sprinting full speed ahead and you’ll also have days where you find that you’re dragging ass. Don’t fret. Just hit that goal and get on with your day.
Soon enough, you’ll have a book. A whole book.
Then we can talk about destroying it… I mean revisions!