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Why do you want to write every day?

Advice for writers and bloggers

Controversial advice

‘Write every day’ is controversial advice for writers. It tends to get included in lists of ‘bad writing advice and how to avoid it’, while other people use it religiously, as in ‘if you want to write, you HAVE to write every day.’ I don’t agree. Better advice would be to ‘write regularly’, because that acknowledges our busy lives, with businesses to run, children, jobs to go to, households to look after. But say you want or need to write every day, what then?

Know your why

As with many goals, know WHY you want to do it. Sum up your ‘why’ in a few words. You could even turn your why into your first piece of writing. Here are some I’ve made up: ‘Because I want to generate plenty of content for my business’ is different from ‘because I want to finish my novel in three months’ and different again from ‘because writing in my journal each morning helps me to stay mentally healthy’. ‘Because I want to learn how to blog regularly’ is different from ‘because I want to finish a poetry collection by the end of the year.’

Like this idea? Check out Simon Sinek’s book Start With Why.

Ask why again

Once you’ve got your ‘why’ written down, ask why again. This is harder but it helps you to get more specific. You can keep asking ‘why’ until you get to something that will motivate you. I’m trying to lose weight at the moment. ‘I want to look good in a pair of Levi’s’ motivates me because it is a short term, specific goal, whereas ‘I want to be more healthy’ probably should motivate me, but it’s too general. Here are some writing-related examples:

Generating content

Why do I want to write every day? Because I want to generate plenty of content for my business. Why do I want generate plenty of content for my business? Because I need to drive traffic to my website. Why do I need to drive traffic to my website? Because I want to generate £1000 in revenue this month.

Novel writing motivation

Why do I want to write every day? Because I want to finish my novel in three months. Why do I want to finish my novel in three months? Because I want to submit it to X publisher. Why do I want to submit it to X publisher? Because I want to know whether writing commercial fiction is a viable career for me.

Get a voucher code for my course on novel writing here.

Staying mentally healthy

Why do I want to write every day? Because writing in my journal each morning helps me to stay mentally healthy. Why do I want use my journal to stay mentally healthy? Because when the world gets on top of me, I need some strategies in place to help.

A kick up the bum (or the blog)

Why do I want to write every day? Because I want to learn how to blog regularly. Why do I want to learn how to blog regularly by writing every day? Because I learn best by plunging in and learning on the go. Why do I learn best by plunging in and learning on the go? Because it focuses my mind on the task and because taking small practical steps is better than learning the theory and because I’m fed up of standing on the side lines.

A next step for a poet

Why do I want to write every day? Because I want to finish a poetry collection by the end of the year. Why do I want to finish a poetry collection by the end of the year? Because I want to enter x competition and the deadline is x date. Why do I want to enter x competition? Because I’ve published several poems in journals and anthologies and I want to challenge myself to take the next step even though it’s scary.

Get a voucher code for my course on writing poetry here.

Write out your why

Which one of these most closely resembles why you want to write every day? Do your own version then write out the most motivating ‘why’ on a slip of paper and put it up somewhere. Here are the most motivating whys from the above examples:

  1. I am generating £1000 in revenue this month.
  2. I will send my novel, TITLE, to X publisher on X date.
  3. My journal is one of my tools that help me stay mentally healthy. The others are X, X and X.
  4. I’m taking small practical steps because I’m fed up of standing on the side lines.
  5. I want to challenge myself to take the next step even though it’s scary.

Check in with your goal

The goal was ‘I want to write every day’ but does it fit your why? Is writing every day the best way to meet your objectives? Would writing twice a day or every other day work better? Convinced you want to write every day? Read on!

Create a chart

Using one of the free online calendar websites, create a chart that will cover you for thirty days. Scroll down on this page to see some calendars for June 2020, for example. Use colour. Print this out and put it on your wall. In each box, add the treat you will award yourself if you write on that day. Add a tick or a smiley face each time you ‘earn your reward.’

Want more on goal setting? Go here.

Banish negative thoughts

If you don’t manage to earn your treat every day, focus on the days you do manage to show up rather than berating yourself for the times when you didn’t. You want to think of the goal – turn up and write every day – as something positive, rather than a chore, because you’re much more likely to do it.

Create a space and time

Once you’ve decided to give it a go, you need to know where you’re going to write  and when you’re going to write. This could be in your home office, in bed, at the kitchen table – it doesn’t matter where it is, as long as you know where you’re going to write in advance. As much as possible, set this up the day before. Do not be idealistic when it comes to when you’re going to write. In other words, don’t plan to do it when you’d rather be watching TV or when you’re tired. More on finding a time and space to write tomorrow.

Until then: happy writing!

 

4 Comments

  1. Emma says:

    Brilliant thank you the boost I need, right I am off to go and find my why!
    Mxxx

    1. Louise says:

      Good luck with it! 🙂

  2. Sheila says:

    Thank you ! This is really helpful . Focussing on the ‘why’ is a pretty good place for me to start ! Not sure the challenge of everyday fits my needs right now .

    1. Louise says:

      Glad it was useful x

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