At least for me.
I’m always amazed at how swiftly “skills atrophy” can creep into your life. That’s why I make a concerted effort to make sure I am learning and growing each day — and that includes honing my skills as a writer.
That doesn’t mean I succeed all the time!
I don’t know about you, but just like my exercise routine, if my normal writing pattern gets broken, it’s very hard to get back on track.
That’s why I don’t let it happen anymore!
My goal for every day is simple: write. Something. Anything.
Here are a few tips and tactics I’ve employed to keep myself writing on a daily basis.
Utilize speech-to-text. Many of my blog posts and articles begin at 6:15am when I walk my dog. Since I take him for two strolls a day at about a mile each click, I have about 30 minutes of writing time that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I usually piece together enough thoughts to build the foundation of a future article.
Keep a notebook in the car. I’m always bringing notebooks back and forth with me wherever I go, but I have found that keeping one that permanently “lives” in the center console of the car, along with a pen that I actually want to use (yes, this is important to me), is effective for when I am inevitably faced with downtime in the car.
Go back and read articles you have previously written. For all of you writers out there reading this, you are probably never completely satisfied with works you have published. Since it’s unlikely you can go back and fix everything that has been published, especially if it lives in print or digital that you do not have ownership of, you can always improve what you have already done. I often end up with a full rewrite or driving down a completely different avenue on a related or unrelated subject.
Write a single sentence. Leaning on the “mini habits” model, I simply write a single sentence. It’s a building block. And everything has to start somewhere.
Dream journal. For over a decade, I have been an advocate for keeping a work journal, where you write down daily happenings at the office and the emotions you feel surrounding them. Well, that little pad on my nightstand, where I write down my dreams immediately upon waking up, is the gift that keeps on giving. Some of my (odd!) dreams and nightmares become the catalyst for fiction and non-fiction writing ideas.
Stop being a consumer. In today’s digitally deafening world, it is hard to look away from the onslaught of content coming right at us. Writing every day means you must make a choice to stop being a passive consumer and shift to become an active creator. Even if it’s just for a few minutes, quieting the world around you can have amazing results.
Reward yourself. When I hit that PUBLISH button, I make it a point to stand up (unless I’m at my standing desk) and treat myself to a few minutes of sunshine or a stroll. Would I rather reward myself with a pint of Cherry Garcia? Of course! But I know that getting outside and keeping myself in motion will result in completing more writing.
Add an addendum. Still stuck? Write some sentences that build upon someone else’s work. This is a tactic that screenwriters often use when trying to break into the television business. It’s a great exercise to get the creative juices flowing.
Just write. You’ve heard it a million times from people who are far better writers than yours truly. Just write. Start anywhere. About anything. At any time. Stop thinking and just write.
It’s always amazing how words become like magnets, sticking to each other until full pieces are formed.
Writing every day feels good. Try it. I hope these tips help.