How to Write Every Day
Writing every day seems like a luxury that only full-time writers can enjoy. But that couldn't be further from the truth. You don't need a seven-figure advance and cabin in the woods to create a sustainable writing routine and reap the benefits of writing every day.
Here are seven steps you can take that will make writing work for you regardless of how busy you are.
Track Your Writing
When working on a larger project, it can seem like you're shovelling words into a black hole. Weeks and months go by, and you still have 21 chapters to go.
Keeping track of how much you write will help you quantify the progress you're making and stay motivated and accountable.
There are many ways to do it – from paper habit trackers and spreadsheets to specialised writing trackers.
Writing Analytics has a tracking engine built-in. It records the words you add as well as delete, how much time you spend typing and records when you get distracted. Everything happens behind the scenes so you can just write and see your words add up.
Have Your Tools Ready
Free time comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. To make the most of it, bring your writing tools with you everywhere.
Choose a text editor that works both on desktop and mobile and synchronises your work between the two so that you can pick up where you left off. Needless to say, the Writing Analytics editor works seamlessly on all platforms.
The next time your train is delayed, you might be in for a productive writing session.
Keep a List of Ideas
You may think that when you write a lot, you will struggle to find new ideas. Usually, the opposite is the case. The more you write, the more ideas you'll have. The key is to start capturing them and getting them ready for drafting.
Some people can write from an idea. Others prefer working from an outline. Set some time aside to process your ideas into outlines so that you always have a couple ready for drafting.
If you're a fiction writer between books, pick up a random writing prompt. These can rapidly escalate and develop into new ideas for books and short stories.
Share Your Progress
For most people, writing is an entirely self-motivated endeavour. If you give up, nobody will notice. Often, that's exactly what happens.
Asking a friend to keep you accountable is a great way to ensure you stick to your commitments. This can be a fellow writer or someone supportive that's close to you.
With Writing Analytics, you have the option to share your dashboard with a friend or writing group. They'll be able to see your stats live as you update them.
Create a Habit
The most powerful benefit of writing every day is that after you've been doing it for long enough, your body will start working to your advantage.
If you can write in the same place at the same time every day, your brain will start associating those cues with writing and make it easier for you to begin.
Atomic Habits by James Clear is a fantastic introduction to habit formation.
Writing Analytics comes with a built-in streaks calendar to keep track of your writing habit. You don't have to tick off days. It all happens automatically when you write something in the editor.
All you have to do is not break the chain!
Set Lower Goals
If you haven't written for some time or are just starting out, setting a high goal like 1,000 or 2,000 words a day is counterproductive. You may be able to sustain that pace for a while, but the strain will catch up with you eventually.
Besides, life is full of surprises and unexpected events. It's better to start slow and work your way up until you know that you can comfortably sustain that pace for weeks.
When people burn out, they usually stop writing for months at a time or quit altogether. Why not start writing 100 or 200 words per day? Establish your routine and adjust your goal gradually when the previous one starts feeling too easy.
Writing Analytics will show you predictions based on your past activity to help you decide what goal to set. Remember, even what seems like a small daily goal can lead to substantial outcome over time.
Don't beat yourself up. Adjust your goals down if you have to. Keep the momentum going. There will be a time when you'll be able to write more again.
Your writing routine isn't something you set up and forget about. Life changes and your routine needs to evolve to be sustainable.
Maybe you change jobs and have to leave home early. You won't be able to write in the morning anymore. Switch your usual writing time to later.
Neil Gaiman talks about this in his interview on the Tim Ferriss Show. Early in his career, he used to write late into the night. Later, he changed to writing early in the morning. These days, he writes in the afternoon.
You may be a morning person, and making the switch will be hard. But it is possible to do.
The same applies to your daily goal. Don't beat yourself up when you can't hit your usual daily word counts anymore. Dial it back and keep the momentum going. You'll be able to bring it back again.
Stay flexible, and you will enjoy a very happy writing life.
Writing Analytics offers you a suite of tools to help you create a writing routine that will last. Try it free now.