A consistent dedication to writing regularly is often what separates the successful writers from the unsuccessful ones. Even so, it can be all too easy to get caught up in the other distractions of life and let writing fall by the wayside. An optimistic New Year’s writing resolution or written plan is a great idea, but might not be enough. Below are five ways to ensure you will write every week until you finish your novel.
- Enlist the help of others. You need both support and accountability. Your loved ones need to understand that you will be regularly unavailable at certain times each week. If you can also find someone amongst your friends or family to check up on you in person or by email on scheduled writing days, it can help with your motivation. A writing mentor is a worthwhile investment as your mentor is someone who holds you accountable, providing the gentle push that many aspiring writers need from time to time.
- Make writing dates. Even better than having someone to cheer you on is someone who will physically sit with you while you do the work. Many people find they are more likely to stick with an exercise schedule when they have someone to do it with, and the same can be true for writing as well. If you don’t have any friends who write, you probably know someone who does something creative whether it’s sketching, knitting or even woodworking. Set aside time each week to meet with the friend in a space where you can each work on your individual creative projects. Besides the good this will do your writing motivation, it will give you a great excuse to be social and this itself will raise your spirits and leave you feeling refreshed and ready for the creative labour.
- Find your ideal time. Many people find they work best when much of the rest of the world is sleeping, but whether this is before the break of dawn or late at night varies from person to person. Most of us have some sort of constraints on our time, but we can still work with what is available to figure out when we are at our most creative and alert. If you can set a regular writing time, this helps to coax ‘the muse’ into paying regular visits.
- Plan your writing at non-writing times. One source of writer’s block is simply not knowing what happens next in a story. Try to deal with story problems when you don’t have to be completely engaged in the task you are doing whether that’s cooking, commuting, running, showering or some other activity. Then when you sit down to write, your issue is already solved. Imagine what characters will do or say, where they will go. If necessary, use a voice note recorder on your phone or a standalone one so that if an idea suddenly comes to you it will be there when you can get to pen and paper or keyboard.
- Prioritise your writing life. This is easier said than done. Too often, everything else seems more important. However, if you can make time for things like eating, showering, caring for your family and going to work, you can also make time for writing. Having a well-planned schedule might make other daily demands on your time more manageable, freeing up extra time for writing that you might not have realised you had.
What strategies have helped you to make sure you are writing each week?
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