On Writing Every Day
One advice that most writers who have been writing a long time will tell you is that you should write every day. I saw in a video where in an interview Stephen King said that he wrote two thousand words every day even on Christmas. That’s a lot of writing.
I have written two thousand words in a day, but I don’t consistently write two thousand words every day, those days are rare. They usually occur when I am just starting a new book and I have new ideas that flow through my fingers onto the keyboard and into words on the computer screen. Some days I don’t write more than 300 words per day. These are days when I am primarily editing work that I have already done. Considering the number of projects I have in the works right now, these days are also rare. Rarer still however, once in a while, I will have a day where I don’t write anything. Life does get in the way of writing sometimes, but I try not to make it a habit. I do agree that writing every day should be a goal for everyone who wants to be a writer.
I have heard some writers who are good writers say that they don’t write every day. They say that they write three to four days per week, but they will spend hours at the computer writing on those days. The days away from the writing process give them time to formulate what they are going to be writing next while they go about their business of living life. I don’t think that would work for me. I tried to exercise 3-4 times per week, but then I discovered that didn’t work for me because I found it difficult for me to get back into it on the day after I didn’t exercise. I found that it took more willpower to exercise 3-4 times per day than it does to exercise every day. I discovered that if I want to make exercise a regular part of my life, I have to do some kind of exercise every day.
Making A Small Time Commitment
I believe that the same goes for writing. When I decided that I wanted to make a habit of writing, I started writing every day. I didn’t, however, decide to write all day long. I started by deciding that I would write for fifteen minutes every day.
I didn’t think of this on my own. I heard a story about a man who decided that he wanted to start running every morning, but he didn’t have the motivation to run every day, so he decided that rather than committing to running every day, he would commit to putting on his running shoes every day. He knew that he could commit to that each day and once he had his running shoes on, he figured that since he had his running shoes on, he may as well run at least around the block. Eventually, the man ran a marathon all because he made that commitment to put on his running shoes every day.
Understanding How Willpower Works
Remember how I said that I don’t enough willpower to do something 3-4 times per week, but I did have enough willpower to do that same thing every day? Well, I heard that there was a recent study that showed that each of us has a certain amount of willpower available to us every day and that when that willpower is used up for the day, we go back to doing things that we do habitually. That’s why exercise programs and diet programs and other things that we use willpower to promote change.
This is why when I decided that I would write every day, I determined that I would make the small commitment to write for fifteen minutes per day as early in the day as possible. This idea of as early in the day as possible is also a key because I didn’t want to use up my daily allotment of willpower on something else before I could begin writing.
That’s not to say that I write just fifteen minutes per day now. I write a lot more than that most days. However, in the beginning, I made certain that I took the time to write on a daily basis and developed the habit of writing every day. Once the practice of writing every day for fifteen minutes became a habit I increased the amount of time that I wrote every day.
If writing a book of any kind is a dream of yours, start today (or if your allotment of willpower is used up for today, begin tomorrow). Take fifteen minutes and begin writing that book. You can do it. Commit to fifteen minutes.
Donna Brown is the pastor at Faith in God Church in Brandsville, Missouri. . As Author Cygnet Brown, she has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener
She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .