Over the last year, as choosing a career for my life became more urgent than it had been in school, I have become more dedicated to my dream of becoming a writer. This has included establishing a time to write as well as how much I should write. There is no set amount of words a writer should write a day. That’s completely up to the individual. I shoot for at least a thousand words (when I’m struggling) but prefer to shoot for two thousand. If I truly wrote that much every day, I could have a book completed in just a few months. And yet, five years later, I’m still struggling through my third rewrite of one book. What’s the problem? Writing time hasn’t been sacred.
Distractions are everywhere, life is busy. We have work, school, family, and friends…and then personal time that tends to get stolen by TV or social media–or whatever our weakness is. What I’ve learned this past year is that writing time should be sacred. It should be treated as if it were a doctor’s appointment or work or a date–all things we would do whatever necessary to take care of. Writing should have the same level of priority. If you decide to write every night starting at 7, don’t not (yes, a double negative…they’re fun to decode)–don’t not write just because your favorite movie comes on at 8. Even if your adorable new puppy comes running in wanting you to play with a toy. . . You. Keep. Writing. No distractions. No excuses. (Other than actual emergencies such as a fire, burglar, death. . . And, no, that chocolate ice cream craving is not an emergency).
Honestly, making time is a struggle, but it’s all about mindset. How important is writing to you? Will you be okay if you’re still writing chapter four next year? If not, establish a time. When are you most creative? Morning? So late into the night that it’s technically morning? Find your time, and stick to it. Write your predetermined number of words or pages and don’t stop until all those words are free from your mind. On the occasion that you really do have something more important to do during your writing time, reschedule. But do NOT skip.
I challenge you to try this for a week. (Don’t worry. I will too). Yes, this should be a lifestyle change that stays with you forever, but you don’t cut sugar out of your diet all at once; you ween yourself off. So “ween” yourself into writing. For one week, every single day, write. Average manuscripts are around 80,000-130,000 words. Assume you want to write a manuscript of 100,000 words. If you write only 1,000 words a day (tends to be 30-45 minutes), you can be done in 100 days. That’s a little over 14 weeks and a little over three months. If you sit down to write for 30 minutes to an hour every day, you could complete a book within four months. That’s amazing progress, but all I’m challenging you to do is one week. By the end of one week, you just might be so amazed at your progress that you’ll never stop writing daily!
Getting published is hard enough. Don’t give yourself a “no” (before the publishers try) by never finishing your story. We can all do this. 🙂 Just make writing time sacred time.
If you know any fellow readers or writers, please share this blog with them. I’d love to impact as many as possible!