I am 33 years old, and I have never been consistent with anything except writing. I have been writing hundreds of words every day since I was 12 years old. Most days it was just journaling. But recently, I have been realizing more and more that I want to write fiction not only to teach but to inspire, and entertain. I love to use my imagination to create all of these amazing worlds that are full of characters and situations that are only prevalent in my mind. It is my joy. And it is my one thing.
Over the past few months, I have started to become more vocal about the fact that I write so much. It has been such a part of my life that I never really thought much of it. Until some people started telling me that this isn’t normal. It isn’t normal to write so much everyday. Only a minor percentage of people are able to maintain the discipline to build consistency in their writing.
They asked me for my secret.
How am I able to write 3000 words everyday?
I considered the question and I culled it down to the following ten fixations that are responsible for my productivity with writing. I wanted to share it with the world in the hopes that one or more of these will cause you to start writing more. Building these rituals, or habits into my daily lifestyle and into my mindset has caused me to become a writing fiend. Not only that, but I am not wasting hours and hours in Imposter Syndrome mentality, or worrying about the quality of my writing versus the writing geniuses.
Consistency Over Intensity
This is one of the most important lessons I have learned over the past few months. I used to be one of those people who write hundreds of words one day and then not write anything for a week or so. And then I would have another inspired day and I would write another thousand words and then nothing for days. The cycle continued over and over again. There are many reasons why this isn’t the right way to build a creative habit.
The problem that I encountered was that I lost momentum. That day when I wrote many words, I had built a bit of momentum. I had some words in my head, and I felt like I could write forever. But the next day, by not writing, I had killed any momentum that I might have built that first day.
Not only that, but writing every single day no matter if you are feeling inspired or not, teaches you to keep on learning and improving your writing no matter what. Also, it teaches you that writing isn’t about being inspired, but about writing. Writing inspires you to write. It isn’t something outside of ourselves. Way too many times, writers or creative people give way too much credit to people outside of ourselves. It isn’t right. The muse might be sitting on our shoulders and giving us inspiration, but she only comes to us when we are writing consistently, every single day no matter what.
We are turning Pro as Steven Pressfield calls it. We are not amateurs anymore. Let’s stop acting like one.
Turn Pro – Treat your writing like a job
Like I said, we are turning Pro. Professionals treat their writing like a job. I wake up every single day and I have a set routine. People ask me how many times I miss my routine. I don’t pay attention to that. All I am concerned with is keeping on with the routine. Even if I miss a day, I just keep on going as if nothing ever happened. One day missed doesn’t mean that my whole routine has gone to shit.
I also write every day, every morning. I write throughout the day as well, but the my most important writing happens as soon as I wake up in the form of journaling and my fiction novel. It is a non-negotiable for me. I have to write everyday. It’s like breathing to me now. If I don’t write, I feel like something’s off. I don’t feel right. I feel like the world is discoloured somehow. As soon as I do my words, I feel accomplished and good about the general state of the world.
Happiness is writing my words daily. It is that simple.
Get over perfectionism – Just write a lot of crap and be fine with it being crap
This one is a big one for me, being a perfectionist at heart. I want everything I do to be perfect. I want to keep on editing until it is perfect. Or never write my words until I know they are going to be perfect. It is absolutely terrible. The truth is nothing and no one is perfect. Nothing! No one! So why do we imagine that we are going to be the first ones to be perfect?
We are imperfect beings writing imperfect words on an imperfect piece of paper. Let’s realize that fact, and just write crap. If that is what it is, then I’ll just write so much crap, but I’ll keep on writing. I know I’m writing crap, but I keep on writing. I try to improve the crap from level 10 to level 9 perhaps, but I’ll still keep on writing.
Writing words everyday is the key. Write, write, write. That’s the only way we are going to keep on improving. We will never be perfect, and we should just give up that notion. But we can keep on improving and stepping closer to that sense of perfection.
Keep on writing even though you don’t feel like it
I think you got a sense of this one from my previous statements. There are many mornings when I wake up and I don’t want to do my morning routine. I am feeling sick or pretending to feel sick. I’m tired, or grumpy, or lazy, or just being human. I don’t wanna, I throw a tantrum in my head.
Those days are especially important in our battle against our lower self. If we want to respect ourselves, and love ourselves, we cannot let our lower self get the better of us. We need to keep on trudging and beat our lower selves into submission. We are better than this, people. We are not children who need to only do things that we like to do.
Sometimes as adults and as high achievers, we have to do things even if we are not in the mood for it. So, put on your galoshes, and let’s go into the unknown. Let’s keep on writing, even when we don’t feel inspired. Even if you don’t feel like writing a single word, you need to sit down and finish your minimum daily word requirement. Just do it.
Talk about your writing all the time
This was an interesting one for me, because I am a very private person. Also, if I thought to myself, if I don’t tell people about my writing, then they won’t ask me about when my novel will be done, and they won’t ask to see my novel when it’s done. I won’t have to show my writing around, and I won’t get judged for it. I felt safe in that regard.
When I started telling people inadvertently that I’m writing a fiction novel, all of a sudden, people started asking me for a copy of my book so they could read it and critique it. Eek. That was so scary to me. I didn’t want that. I wanted to keep my writing in a little bubble. But if I wanted to get better, I had to keep on writing. And keep on getting feedback as well.
So now I talk about my writing all the time. I try to get as much feedback on my writing as possible.
It also in a way makes it real for me. I am a writer. I am writing. Talking about it with others, somehow makes it more real to me, than just writing.
Build awesome routines around your writing
I have written about routines before, but again, I’ll reiterate. Have a great routine set up around your writing. Most prolific writers write for 3-4 hours a day every single day. That’s all they do. They wake up, they do their morning ablutions, and then they write for hours on end, until they are done for the day and then they go on with the rest of their day.
I do the same, although I don’t write for 3-4 hours straight. I take breaks in between, because I cannot write for more than 1.5 hours at a time. I get tired. I’m still building my writing muscle.
Do whatever works for you. But build a routine that helps you write better. Meditate. Exercise. Journal. Move. Sleep well. Eat healthy. Everything that you are doing is either moving you towards becoming a better writer in general, or it isn’t.
When my morning routines go well, my words come out so smoothly that I can’t even imagine who is writing. It feels so effortless. As if I’m just dictating the words and some other person is speaking those words to me. When I’m fit, and healthy, my words come out better. When I sleep well, I write better. When I have a minimal of distractions and drama in my life, I write better.
Do the same in your life. Figure out your routine, stick to it, and watch your writing soar.
Track your streaks and don’t skip even a single day
If you had an addiction to a drug or alcohol or sex, your therapist would tell you to stay away from that addictive material absolutely and completely. There are no cheat days in that addiction.
The same applies to writing. There are no cheat days. Do not skip any days. Write everyday, even if you only manage to write a 1000 words or 100 words, still write your words. Do not skip a single day. Build your streak as if your life depended on it. Your writing’s life definitely depends on it.
So write, and write, and write some more.
Do not skip a single day and reward yourself for long streaks by doing something really nice for yourself, whatever that means to you.
Just take it one day at a time – focus on the process
Forget about the end result. We put way too much pressure on ourselves by worrying about the end result of our writing. Just forget about winning the Pulitzer Price for Fiction or being on the New York Times Bestseller lists. That is not important right now. Today, the most important thing for us to write our words. Tomorrow, the most important thing will be to write our words. Day after tomorrow, the most important thing for us will be to write our words.
The trend continues.
The only thing that matters is the process of taking each word from inside of your head and putting it down on paper. Build the string of words, so that it builds a book. Don’t worry about where the string of words will go. It isn’t important. It might end up being the best book people have ever read, or it might turn out to be a dud. That is highly inconsequential.
All we are doing is building our writing muscle. Making it stronger and stronger and stronger.
Write for yourself
To continue on that vein, when we start writing for some entity outside of ourselves, we censor ourselves, and we worry about our writing style and quality. I tell myself every time I write that I am writing for myself. I’m writing that book that I would like to read. I’m writing that blog post that I want to read. I am writing for me.
I am not writing for some person in this vast world. If I start writing for someone else, I feel like I lose my authentic voice. I lose my writing style, and become inauthentic, shallow, and hollow.
I want to write for myself, which is when I have my truest voice and words. I also don’t feel pressure to write faster or prettier. I don’t need to use bigger or fancier words. I don’t need to delete anything because I’m writing for myself.
Write 3000 words everyday
The last thing I want to remind you of is that this is supposed to be fun. Truly! Writing is fun. We write because we find it fun. I love to write. It is one of the best things on this planet. The high I get from writing is better than the high I might get from a bungee jumping experience or even travelling around the world.
All I want to do is write all the time. Write and write and write some more.
It is fun!
Let’s keep this in mind and let’s stop being so freaking serious.
I hope these words help you to start your own writing routine. You can start off with a minimum of 50 words a day or even 10 words a day. Whatever works for you. And then build from there.