Write more and you will become a better writer, more proficient and more productive. But the benefits of writing every day go beyond honing your writing skills.
I know that I think better, and I function better, when I write regularly.
Writing clarifies my thinking. Taking the random bits that are floating around my head and putting them on the page is incredibly helpful.
When you write a lot, you have to come up with ideas to write about. That causes you to pay more attention to what is happening around you. Suddenly, everything you see, hear and experience becomes something you can write about.
Writing every day creates discipline. Doing anything every day will cause you to become more disciplined, but writing is especially powerful.
There are lots of ways to get in the writing habit. Here are some things that work for me, and that might work for you, too.
Make a commitment to writing every day, no exceptions. Saying you will write three times a week, or that you will “try to write more often” isn’t good enough. Commit to writing daily.
Set a goal of writing for a set time period or at least x words, such as 500 or 1000. Every day that you meet your goal, put a big read X on your calendar. Jerry Seinfeld said this motivated him to write jokes—he didn’t want to break the chain and have a day without an X on the calendar.
Make an appointment to write. Then, honor it. If you do not allocate the time to write, it won’t get done. Put it on your calendar and do it. It is best to do it at the same time every day so it truly becomes a habit. Consider your internal clock and when is best for you to write, but first thing in the morning can be good. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time—you can accomplish a lot by writing for 30 minutes a day.
Get an accountability partner. Have someone to whom you report your progress. For example, let’s say that your goal is write at least 500 words a day. After you do your writing for the day, send an email to your friend with the number of words you wrote. That’s it. No explanation, no excuses. Just 520 or 631 or 477 or whatever the number is that day.
Write however you are most comfortable. Want to write in longhand on a yellow pad? Okay. Or you can key the words on your computer or tablet, or speak them into voice recognition software. How you do it is less important than the fact that you are stringing words together.
Actually write. Don’t spend your writing time thinking about writing or planning to write. Write. You can write a blog post, an article, part of a book or whatever you want to write. Just write. Planning before you write, especially if you are writing a book or other long piece, can make the writing easier, so go ahead and plan. But don’t use your writing time for planning.
Don’t interrupt your writing time. Don’t answer the phone, check Facebook, do research or read your email. Just write. Set a timer for the amount of time you have committed to writing so you aren’t even tempted to look at the clock.
Editing comes later. Writing and editing are different skills and they use different parts of the brain. Don’t edit as you write. Just get the words on the page during your writing time. You can go back later and edit.
That’s it. That is all you have to do. Think you can’t accomplish anything writing just a little bit every day? Well, there is nothing to stop you from spending more time writing, but you can get a lot done even in just a little time. A 30,000 word ebook would take two months to write if you wrote just 500 words a day.
And how long will it take you to get that book done at your present rate of 0 words a day? Yeah, that’s a long time.
Get started. Write today. Write every day.