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 A Writer's Life, how to write, The Writer's Toolbox, the writing process, thinking on writing, writing, writing advice, writing and thinking, writing everyday, writing time

5 Ways to Find Time to Write

writing1.jpgFor most writers finding time to actually write can be one of the most difficult things to do. Many writers have other jobs that help pay the bills while trying to build their passion as a writer. And some, like myself, are stay at home moms (or dads) who write as something to do to keep the insanity of parenthood from pulling them under. You would think that the stay at home parent would have a slight advantage to those who work and be able to write all the time. This is not true.

Finding time to write and balance the schedule of my son has been quite difficult these last few years. Mostly because set schedules are hard to stick to when a child decides to get sick and requires your every moment to help them feel better, or he gets grumpy and doesn’t want to do what you ask and it becomes an epic battle of wills, or he decides he want to be played with no matter how much you want to sit down and write, oh and then there’s the accidents like fingers getting squished by doors or that jug of milk that gets spilled all over on the kitchen floor by an over helpful toddler. Any one of these things (and more) can bring your day to a screeching halt and those plans for writing just got vetoed in a big way. And even when said child goes off to school, a parents job is never truly over, and in some ways gets even more complicated.

Let’s go back to those diligent people who work outside the home (or some who work at home). Writing isn’t much easy for those folks. I know a few of those kind of writers. Who juggle work, family, and writing. Some manage to squeeze some writing in during slow times at the office. Others don’t have that luxury and have to wait until home, but between all the grocery shopping, little league soccer games, and still finding time to do some exercise for yourself, well there isn’t a whole lot of time left over for the true passion of writing.

Does any of this sound familiar? Do you wonder if it will ever end and you actually WILL get time to write? The answer should be yes. If you really love writing and those characters just won’t leave you alone until you get them down on paper, then YOU will find the time to write.

  1. Smaller Chunks

The best thing I’ve found that works for me is to be willing to tackle writing in smaller chunks. Think one scene at a time, or one section of a scene. Know what you are going to write before you even start writing.

  1. Know What You’re Going to Write

You know all that time you spend in the car driving from one place to another? Or you’re folding the laundry, or cleaning the house? Use that time to think about what’s most important and what needs to be tackled first. So when you do get a minute to write, you’re not wasting it asking yourself, “So what do I write now?”

  1. Carry a Notebook Everywhere

Carry a notebook everywhere you go. Be ready to pull it out and jot down notes, thoughts, short scene or story summaries, or character descriptions when you get the chance. Waiting in doctor offices, or waiting for your vehicle to get a tune up are perfect times to pull out that notebook!

  1. Work late, Work Early

Be willing to have some late nights or early mornings to write. I know infringing on sleep is hard, but if you are like me and spend half the night thinking of your characters instead of sleeping, then you should just get out of bed and write. Believe me, it’s easier that way.

  1. Make Sure to Write Everyday!

Be willing to MAKE time for yourself. Sure the dishwasher needs to be unloaded. Sure the cat needs to go to the vet. Sure you really should be getting laundry done for work the next day. But finding at LEAST 15 MINUTES to write each day is important. Find ways to fit that time in no matter what. Even if that means eating on paper plates for the next two days. Everyday that you write makes it that much easier to write, and soon you’ll be wondering how you managed to get so much writing done in the small amount of time you have to dedicate to it.

If writing is truly a passion that you want to explore, YOU will find the time to write.

What ways do you use to find time to write? Feel free to post comments below.