Posted in A Writer's Life, better writing, build confidence as a writer, free writing, How to Be a Writer, how to write, The Writer's Toolbox, writing, writing advice, writing discipline

5 Steps to Setting Up a Daily Habit of Writing

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In order to be a writer, one must write. But let’s face it, it’s not always easy to find the time to fit writing in, especially as a daily thing. But I’ve been writing long enough to know that I’m a lot more successful at writing, when I make writing a daily habit. So let’s take a look at five steps to be a daily writer.

Step 1: Time of Day

First identify the best time of the day to write for you. Everyone will be different, so don’t judge what works for you against someone else’s writing time. If you aren’t sure, do some experimenting. Is it first thing in the morning that you do the best writing? Is it midmorning or midday? Or is it the afternoon, or late at night?

Step 2: Set a Time Period

Next, set a period of time that you will write. This can be anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, to several hours, or more. Even if it’s just a short writing session, if you are writing everyday, then that time will add up. You may find too that somedays you will get more writing in than others, and that’s okay.

Step 3: Have a Routine to Get You Started

It’s a lot easier to start writing if you are in the right mindset. Otherwise you could be sitting for half your writing time or more just trying to get into the piece you want to write on. There are many ways to get into a writing mindset. I will list a few here.

  • Listen to music you have specifically for writing
  • Start by free writing for 10 minutes or so to get into writing
  • Spend a few minutes clearing your mind and setting an intention on what you plan to do
  • Have a specific spot that you write and only write so when you sit down you are automatically put in the writing mood
  • Use a “writing hat” which is anything you wear or have near you while writing

You can do one or more than one of the above, or even come up with your own way(s). The important part is having a routine, so that your mind knows you are sitting down to write, and it’s time to get to business.

Step 4: Do Things to Prep for Writing

It’s important to only write during the time you allot to write. This may mean doing some prepping before hand such as letting anyone who lives with you know not to bother you during this time, turning off distractions like the phone or access to internet, and deciding the day or night before what you will be writing on. If you set an intention to write on something specific, you will be far more likely to have a great writing session the next day.

Step 5: Have Fun With Writing

Most important step of all. Don’t forget to have fun with writing! That’s why you started writing in the first place isn’t it? Writing was fun. It was exhilarating as you created new characters and worlds, or mind-blowing nonfiction. That should still be the case. Don’t let your deadlines or feelings of obligations suck all the fun away. Remember why you started writing, why you keep writing, and how much fun it is to play with words!

Do you already have a writing routine, and would like to share? Please feel free to post in the comments.

Posted in beginning writer, better writing, Blood Feud, book publishers, Bookerfly Press, editing, Emperors of Ethia, first publication, great writing, how to write, learning to write, lots of writing, Michael Knost, novel, novel writing, publication, publishing, the writing journey, the writing process, writing, writing discipline, writing progress

Taking the Plunge to Self-Publish

It has been a long road since I started writing my novel Blood Feud. The journey began in April of 2012. I remember it well — a month of straight writing where the ideas just flowed like water. They pooled onto the page with little effort as months of thinking about my story and characters finally found a permanent place on the page. My story flourished but my poor family suffered from neglect. So at the end of the month and about 50,000 words later, I took a break. A few weeks later I came back to my marvelous work of art to realize everything I had written was total crap. And that pretty much sums up the next four years. Awesome spurts of writing where words flowed and family suffered just to end up with… yep you guessed it, more crap.

That my friends is the way of the writer as I am sure some of you are quite familiar with.

But something happened in my fifth year of writing. During my sixtieth (and really that’s not much of an exaggeration) rewrite of Blood Feud, the crap fell away and a good story finally started to form. At least to the point where I felt confident enough to send my work to a professional author, editor, and friend (Michael Knost) so he could tell me it was crap too. And to my surprise, he said it was a pretty awesome story.

Crap, what do I do now?

Continue reading “Taking the Plunge to Self-Publish”

Posted in procrastination, The Writer's Toolbox, writer's block, writing blues, writing discipline, writing everyday, writing journey, writing time

Writing Procrastination and What To Do About It

Procrastination plagues all writers at one time or another in the writing journey. It’s a barrier that must be broken through to be a writer, and separates the casual writer from the real writers. Procrastination a tricky beast that takes on the face of many problems like writer’s block, the missing muse, the “I don’t have time to write” excuse, or how about the “I can’t write, because I’m just not that good at it anyways.”

Say what!? That stuff isn’t procrastination. No. No. No. Those things are real problems. Really they are. Aren’t they?

Come on. Let’s be honest. Let’s call it what it really is. It is procrastination. What does procrastination mean? It means not wanting to do something. And all the excuses above do what? It makes it so we don’t do anything at all. Sure we want to write. We talk about it all the time, but talking is NOT writing. So we talk and we use terms like writers block or the missing muse. Or say things like “I don’t have time to write”, or “I can’t write, because I’m just not that good at it anyways.” But all this talking is just keeping us from writing.

Writer’s block. It’s hard to be even semi serious about writing without hearing those words at some point. I used to be someone who used the term writer’s block like it was a real thing and it actually meant something. And then I pushed past the barrier of procrastination and discovered for the first time what being a writer really meant. I don’t get writer’s block anymore. I’m simply a procrastinator when I don’t write. I call it what it really is. The best way to fight writer’s block is to writer EVERY SINGLE DAY, even if it’s 10 minutes of mental vomit or what some call free writing. Eventually, that “block” will fall away as a solution to the problem is revealed.

Ever heard or said this before? “Well, my muse is missing. I can’t write.” Wrong. Real writers write with or without any inspiration. We just do it, because there is no other option. Real writers write when there isn’t a spark of inspiration to be found. Real writers understand the importance of keeping up the momentum of writing, because stopping means losing the drive to write and it often means a project goes unfinished or a deadline is missed. We all live for those rare moments when that bolt of lightening hits us and says “Look at this awesome new idea.” But in reality most writers just write. There is no magic lightening moment. There is no little spark that jump starts a writing project. Writers write, and every once in a while, they are rewarded with being immersed in the Writing Zone. And that sort of experience is better than any muse any day of the week.

And then there’s the “I don’t have time” excuse. There is always time to write. Really there is. Cut out that three hour television watching marathon right before bed and write. Get up a little earlier in the mornings and do writing before the day gets started. Stop wasting time surfing the internet and use it to write. I’m sure a closer look at the daily routine will shed some light on where time is spent, and what can be reduced so writing can have its time. Ultimately, sacrifices will have to be made. The real question to ask is… “How bad do you want it?”

Let’s not forget the “I can’t write, because I’m just not that good at it anyways.” No one is a good writer. Not at first. Not even ofter a few years at it. Writing takes a long, long time to cultivate. It takes lots of practice. It takes lots of mistakes. It takes time. It takes dedication and a full commitment. Writing is like a muscle in the body. It only gets better with practice. The more practice, the stronger it gets. Good writing doesn’t happen overnight. And writing is never perfect, no matter how many years of working at it, but it does get better. And there’s no better feeling in the world than to compare work from one year to the next. It’s a measuring stick that makes all the effort, all the sacrifices mean something.

Want to be a writer, a real writer? Then stop procrastinating and stop using words like writer’s block and missing muse. Find some time to carve out for writing only. Guard that time. Be jealous of that time and let nothing hedge in on that time. And be a writer with mistakes and all. The next time procrastination rears its ugly head, tell it to shut up and just write.