This is one of my fundamental writing philosophies. You have to write every day. Without it you will not make it as a writer.
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Waiting for inspiration
There are some aspiring writers who wait for inspiration. They only write occasionally, when they are inspired by new ideas or are in the right mood to write.
The problem with this is how often does that happen? How often do you feel truly inspired and can’t wait to sit down and start writing? From my own experience I can’t say it happens often.
The occasional writer
I was one of those occasional writers mentioned above as well. I would sit down to write once, maybe twice a week, but only when I had new ideas or felt that I was in the right mood.
To make it short, I never got much writing done. Sure I wrote a lot on these occasional days, but I got nothing done on every other day. Looking back I can count the days it happened on one hand and those were the lucky month.
It wasn’t uncommon for my focus or even my ideas to change between these different writing sessions. I simply forgot all about the piece that I worked on two weeks ago and by now had lost interest in getting back into it. Instead I had found a newer, more interesting idea and started working on this one. In the end I started writing a new story every month, with burning passion and desire only to afterwards wait to get this feeling back. Often it took me a long time and by then I had already abandoned my idea.
From occasional to real writer
Once I got serious about my writing I realized that things just couldn’t go on like that. I realized that my waiting for inspiration or the right mood to write was just another form of procrastinating and making excuses.
I realized that it wasn’t inspiration that was the most important part of a writer’s profession but it was a daily writing habit. Whatever was going on, I had to sit down and write every day.
Inspiration was not something you should wait for, but instead something you invoke. It was by simple writing that I could bring myself into an inspired state. I only had to get through the first terrible fifteen to thirty minutes, after that things went smoothly.
Why write every day
As I said above, if you only write every once in a while or wait for the moment to be right, you will not make it as a writer. There are many advantages that writing daily can have for you:
1. You will improve faster
If you practice your writing skills every day, you will improve faster. The reason is simply that by honing your skills every day you will get used to writing. You will remember how yesterday’s writing time went, where you had troubles and which things went well and which didn’t. You can actively work on getting better in those areas and not repeat your mistakes. If you only write occasionally you will most likely not remember what went well and what did not the last time you wrote.
2. It will help make your writing stick
Writing is hard work and you need discipline to make it, especially once you start working on longer pieces. If you write only once in a while, you won’t build up any discipline. By forcing yourself to write daily though you will slowly get used to it. It will slowly transform from a chore you do every once a while and will instead become a daily habit.
3. You will do more work
While you write more when you are passionate about a new idea, you won’t get much work done if it only happens occasionally. Even if you write 5.000 words in one day, if it is only one day of the week, even someone who writes only 1.000 words will get more work done altogether.
4. Developing a new attitude
If you do something every day your attitude towards it changes. When you write once per week it will seem like a nice hobby that you do when you are feeling right and that you don’t have to force yourself doing. When you start doing it daily though you will start to take things more serious. You will start to build up a whole new mindset about your work.
5. It will be easier
When the last time you wrote is yesterday, you will remember where you left off. You will remember what scene you were at, what your characters were doing, the general mood and your thoughts about it. This makes it much easier to continue working on your story as opposed to someone who last wrote a week or so ago.
6. You will get things done.
This was one of the biggest takeaways for me. If you work on a story every day, you can’t help but finish it one day. As a writer we often have many different ideas on our mind. And as I said before, if you only write every once in a while, you might simply switch to a new idea that now seems more interesting. It can happen that you jump from idea to idea, never finishing a story.
How to write every day
First of all you have to realize that writing only every once in a while won’t help you improve much, but that you have to write every day.
You also have to ask yourself why it is you are writing. Make it clear to yourself how important writing is to you and what you want to accomplish. Build up the right mindset.
After that you need to make it a habit that sticks. Start out with a low number of words, for example 500 and focus on getting things done. It is important that you first focus on building up the discipline. Then you can create your own writing routine to counter common problems like procrastination.
The most important thing is to take action right away and not to give up. If you failed to write yesterday or for a couple of days, do it again today.
You simply have to start over as often as you have to, till you succeed.