Value of a Daily Writing Habit
You may be a blogger, or even a published writer, but have you developed a daily writing practice? And you may have been writing all of your life like me with a spotted publishing history. In my twenties, my book of poetry was published, I was editor of a weekly newspaper, and wrote feature articles for magazines. I continued to write poetry, plays, stories, and a screenplay with little publication or audience until I started my blog in late 2011. In 2013, I published a Kindle novella and e-book.
But, I did not develop a consistent writing habit until this year when I began writing 1,000 words a day. I got the idea from a video by writer Jeff Goins. He explained how he completed a book in 90 days writing 500 words a day and built a following by challenging his readers to do the same thing. Later, I read that Stephen King writes 2,000 words a day.
I don’t aspire to write like King but he is prolific. So I set a goal of 1,000 words a day. I knew I could write that many words while working 40 hours a week. When I began, it took me up to an hour to write 1,000 words. Part of the difficulty was not knowing what I wanted to write.
That problem arose because I couldn’t decide on a topic, even though my resolution for this year was to write and publish three books. Before February ended, I had started and stopped work on two books. The third idea was the charm and I’m in my last two weeks of the first draft.
I have succeeded in writing 1,000 words a day six days a week for the past seven weeks. On Sundays, I write less because that is the day I do my first edit of what I wrote two weeks earlier. On editing day I also plan the upcoming week’s writing. Planning my writing ahead enables me to complete 1,000 words in 30 – 45 minutes. To achieve this goal, I get up every morning around 5:00 am to write. Being a case manager in a busy community clinic, I’m pretty much brain dead by the end of the work day. But, occasionally I have had to come home and write a few hundred words because I slept too late.
Knowing what others have done provided inspiration for me to set a goal and to achieve it. In Goin’s latest book, The Art of Work, he writes about the unexpected teachers life places before us. He was one such teacher for me, showing how easy it is to develop a daily writing practice by simply setting a numerical writing goal and sticking to it.
The value of a daily writing habit is you can apply this process in all areas of your life. Just set a goal, plan use of your time, and define priorities. I’ve found myself getting more done at my clinic job and with tasks at home using this process. And of course now that I’ve achieved this writing goal, I feel empowered to work on manifesting other plans. So, what writing, or other goals, will you set for yourself today?
Skywalker, I admire your discipline and it shows in your poetry and thoughtful, deeply compassionate essays. It’s interesting to hear how your daily writing habits benefit you in other areas of your life.
Thanks, Jeff. It has been interesting to see how my writing practice has filtered into making my other work more efficient.
I’ve been meaning to let you know that I was accepted to law school! In August, I will be going part time in the evenings and working during the day. You were one of the people who reignited my interest in going to law school and I wanted to thank you.
Skywalker, thank you for this post. I too have had a goal to write daily. I did it for 4 days in a row and was a delight as love writing about my topic, then got distracted. But the 4 days sparked my imagination and love of writing. I do know my topic and my why I write (so important) , which makes things easier. After reading your post you have inspired me to do daily writing again and I wish you well in your writing endeavours too.
Thanks, Jane. It hasen’t been easy but I had a set time period, eight weeks of this mindfulness class. I may cut back to at least 500 words a day for my next project, just because sleep has been a problem. But it’s a good feeling to know I’ve kept it up and met my goal every day. I know you can do it too.
Skywalker, thanks for the encouragement, yes I can 🙂 it’s all in my mind, I just have to make the intention and commitment, and follow through. One thing that does effect me writing is having a good nights sleep. Sleep is so important to be productive. I think, you feel so much focused and produce better quality work/writing.
Congratulations on this accomplishment! I know how challenging it is to write while working a full-time day job and having other responsibilities. My goal is to write a poem a day so that I can complete my manuscript for my first trade collection by the end of the year. I haven’t quite been able to meet that goal, but I think the very act of trying makes me more productive.
Great post. I started my blog last month and have read a lot about the value of writing everyday. I appreciate you sharing your story and how you have made it work for you.
Thank you. I’m glad it was of benefit to you.
This post reminds me that I need to set aside time for my creativity…it is a daily desire. Sadly, a needy husband prevents me from this, so I write when I can – and I’m determined to write at least three, long posts per week…distractions notwithstanding! If I have to take a pad and paper to the beach just to get my thoughts down, I will.
No more excuses, here! 😉
It doesn’t take much time to write 500 words, a blog of even 300 words is good. People read shorter pieces too. And you might want to write some things that will engage your husband’s interests.
What an inspiring piece– glad your goal is working so well for you. I’m still in the “fitting it around my day job” mode, but I’ve been meeting my one strip per week goal for a long time now … even if I cut it closer than I’d like a lot of times!
I also like how you’re using your Sundays a little differently– to polish work (after it’s had time to sit) and plan ahead. Those are both things I have a hard time giving proper allowances for…
Thanks for commenting, I’m still fitting around my day job too. But, I’ve got a manuscript now and am forging ahead.
Glad I read your post. Congratulations! You are inspiring me. I’ve recently started carrying a notepad in my purse so I could write anytime but I don’t do it with any regularity. I am usually good at setting goals and trying to reach them. I need to set a goal of writing 500 words everyday. I can definitely make the time….just need to do it! Thanks for the inspiration!
Glad to inspire you. Just start, you’ll see how easy it is.
Thanks, I hope to!
Thanks, Skywalker, for this great article on A DAILY WRITING HABIT, I tweeted it. 🙂
Thank you very much, Sally. I’ve never been tweeted before.
Oh yes, to write. I’ve been a bit slack the last couple of months, but the imagination and thought has not stopped… Cheers!
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