“Write Every Day!” Is it realistic?
There is a lot of writing advice from many sources; much of it great. “Make time to write every day” is a common thread. I have suggested myself. But is it possible?
There is no shortage of items vying for your time: work, grades, committee meetings, office hours, social media, kids, chores, life! How can it be possible to shoehorn the important task of writing into a bulging schedule, let alone seven days a week?
The spirit of this advice is this: see writing as a priority and make and stick to a schedule.
Perhaps setting a goal of writing every day is setting you up for disappointment. It sounds a bit like “losing twenty pounds by the holidays.” Good in theory but perhaps too lofty a bar.
Whatever schedule you set, realize that some days you will stumble. When that happens, it is important to put that behind you and get right back at it the next day.
What does a schedule look like? It does not necessarily have to be every day. Maybe your life does not allow for that. Perhaps four or five days a week is better.
Short or manageable increments are best. Four days of 45 minutes a day is better than three hours on a Friday afternoon.
Longer periods of time are more likely to have other tasks chip away at them. “Let me finish my grades and once done, I will get started on writing.” Meanwhile, an hour gets subtracted from your writing on a Friday.
Let’s say you decide to write four days a week. Many will suggest writing as early in the day as possible, and I agree. But if your schedule or life doesn’t allow, better to write on your schedule than to constantly miss your good intentions of “getting up half an hour early to write each day” and missing it.
Sticking to your schedule is what is important. Muscle memory. Get to the point where you say, “Oops, it is X o’clock/X time of day, I need to be writing right now.” Having your reptilian brain reminding you is the ideal.
If necessary, start with 15 or 20 minutes, develop the habit and be consistent, then increase the time if you so desire.
Here are the key take away points (in order of priority) about the message “Write every day:”
- See writing as a priority. See the significant impact it can have on your work and career.
- Set a schedule that commits you to writing (this could also be research, writing, editing, etc.) several times throughout the week.
- Hold yourself accountable to your schedule, but realize there will be misses as well as successes. When there is a miss, commit to getting right back at it.
- If you set a shorter time period, gradually increase the time period as you develop your habit.
- Create a barrier during your set time to not be interrupted or distracted. No phones, no Instagram, no students.
So, is it possible to “write every day”? Of course, but it may not work for you.
More importantly, is it possible to commit to writing and stick to it? It is not only possible, but it is essential. The time to start is today.
John Bond is a publishing consultant at Riverwinds Consulting. He works with individuals on publishing and writing projects. Schedule an initial complimentary phone call at Publishing Fundamentals. In his career, he has directed the publishing of over 500 book titles and 20,000 journal articles. He is the host of the YouTube channel “Publishing Defined.”Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.