writing every day

How to Write Every Single Day

How to Write Every Single Day | Writing Between Pauses

Recently, I wrote about what I learned from taking on three solid months of writing challenges (you can read about it here). I also recently wrote about staying creative as an exhausted, busy mom (you can read that one here). 

You might be wondering: how will this post be any different from what one about being an exhausted mom? 

Well, I think there are a few key differences. There is a difference between making time to use your brain creatively and actively trying to write (a great amount of text) every single day. Plain and simple, that's the difference: when I first had Forrest, I had to find ways to keep myself creative, whether that meant writing or reading while I pumped or simply creating in ways that were different from before. (Again you can read that post here.) Now, when I expect myself to write consistently every single day, there are other methods I undertake--things that not just moms will relate to, but everyone who seeks to write a high volume. 

So, who is this post for? 

  • Are you a blogger who wants to produce more content? 
  • Are you an aspiring author who wants to finish a novel or hit an important deadline? 
  • Are you a writing hobbyist who just wants to get into the practice of writing even when you feel like you have nothing to say? 
  • Are you someone who isn't sure if you would enjoy writing, but like the idea of it? 

Basically: if you want to write more, I want to help you find ways to write more. Every day, actually. I want to help you find time, and discipline, to write every single day. 

The Obstacles

We've all seen the joke tweets, like this one (that isn't specifically about writing, but you get the drift). 

Does that sound familiar? Sitting down to write and instead finding yourself browsing Amazon, reading the news, browsing Twitter. I think it's fairly typical. We're all prone to distraction, especially when we aren't feel particularly inspired. 

What are some other obstacles we face, as bloggers, dedicated writers, or hobbyists? (I consider myself all three, in case you are wondering!) 

  • Distractions
  • Discipline
  • Time
  • Inspiration

How do we overcome them? 

Cutting Distractions

Every year during NaNoWriMo, this is truly my biggest obstacle; when I'm staring down a deadline, I'm definitely a flight kinda gal (instead of a fight). When the going gets tough, I get going, if you catch my drift. When a scene gets particularly sticky or I just find the scene I have to write dreadfully boring... I get distracted, I read the news, I send out a few tweets, I scroll through my Facebook groups, I change my music...

You get my drift. How can we cut out those distractions? 

  1. Turn off your internet. I'm not kidding. Turn it off!
  2. Use pen & paper. Is it slower than typing? Yes. Are you less apt to be distracted? Yes.  
  3. Download apps that restrict your websites. These apps are pretty popular among writers (just Google it); they allow you to block websites from yourself for a specific period of time. So that hour you plan to get some writing done? You can block social media websites, news sites, and more. And once the hour is up, it undoes itself. 
  4. Set a timer. And I'm not talking a timer for an hour, or however long you planned to write. Set a time for 10 minutes, stand up, stretch, and take a break. Then set it again. 

It all seems convoluted, but you won't be doing these things forever. Once you get yourself into a good pattern, you can slowly give yourself more freedom; you can start checking Twitter and then getting back to writing, because you'll have more focus.

Finding Inspiration

What are you writing about? Right now, I mean. What's the thing that's making you want to put pen to paper? 

Is it a blog post about writing every day? (I'll admit, I've taken 10 breaks writing this post already!) Is it a story you've been thinking of for years? Or do you just want to start writing essays, or poems, or short stories? 

Get Inspired | Writing Between Pauses

Finding inspiration to write every single day can be hard. Sometimes, you just won't want to work on the novel you've been plugging along with for years, or the short story that you really loved at first, but now hate to think about. Sometimes, you just won't be inspired. 

So what do I do in those moments? I turn to my handy-dandy notebook. I keep a small, pocket size notebook wth me at all times and I keep a running list of things I see throughout the day that I want to write about. Here are a few examples: 

  • The hunger of creativity
  • Dystopian society (World War Z style) 
  • A man in a flannel pushing an old woman in a wheelchair

Those are just fragments of things I think about, or see, or read about throughout the day. Things that spark a little flame of creativity, but I don't have time to explore in depth. When I don't feel like working on something permanent, or a blog post, I write in my notebook about one of my topics. I spin a yarn about someone I see. Or I write further on a topic I've been mulling over. 

Inspiration can be found everywhere. If you journey out into the world throughout the day (even digitally--you can write about a tweet you found funny, like this one, or an article you read), you have things you can at least free write about. The more you write, the more you'll be able to write. (Trust me when I say, it's all about getting into a rhythm.) In getting into this kind of creative rhythm, you'll find the discipline you thought you previously lacked. (This is basically building a habit.) 

Making Time

Now, you might be asking, when do I have time to do all this? 

You don't have to be writing for hours and hours. On average, I would say I write maybe 1-2 hours every evening... but that doesn't count all the writing I do at work (an average of 6-8 hours of pure writing and creating content at work, plus writing blog posts and social media for this little side hustle of mine). I write a lot. You don't have to write that much, I promise! 

Making Time | Writing Between Pauses

Dedicate the time you have. If you only have 30 minutes to spare in your busy day, then that's what you have. Spend those 30 minutes writing. If you want to develop a habit of writing, making time (even when you really don't want or you want to do other things) is extremely important. And it's really not as difficult as it sounds. You don't have to write in one solid chunk. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Write in your notebook during your lunch break or between classes. 
  • Write while you cook dinner, or make notes on something you want to write about during dinner. 
  • Write while watching a movie or your favorite TV show. 
  • Write on the bus or train. 

If you take opportunities to write throughout the day (or at least read and use your brain creatively), you're much more likely to continue the habit of writing when you actually want to get work done. 

What's Next? 

Start writing! You can't start a habit in one day; it's something you have to work at consistently. Once you get a good habit in place, you can modify it, drop certain things, and focus on creating something big. 

How to Get Started On Wattpad

What is Wattpad? 

Wattpad is a website where you can post short stories and novels, as well as read and review stories of all kinds. 

Initially, I was very hesitant to get started on Wattpad. I'm naturally suspicious of posting my creative writing anywhere online--ever since my Livejournal days when people would steal my fan fiction and repost it as theirs, I have a major paranoia about having my hard work stolen! 

However, once I started posting on Wattpad, I really started to enjoy it. Plus, it's always fun to have new outlets for reading. I've read so many great stories on Wattpad--some short and some long--and it's so much fun. 

Why Wattpad? 

If you're a new writer (my most recent newsletter was about getting started writing if you've never done it before), it can be overwhelming to think of having someone else read what you've written. 

Socially, we tend to have this notion that if someone shows us their art, we know they can get better. We really love to watch artists grow as they paint or sculpt or whatever. Conversely, when it comes to writing, it's very difficult to be a starting writer. People have very strict ideas of what is good and bad. I have seen some halfway decent fan fiction get absolutely torn apart due to things that can be easily fixed with grammatical knowledge and formatting. But because we have this idea that you're either a great writer from the start or a bad one, people tend to give up--or, they tend to react badly to any criticism whatsoever, and so they never improve. 

Wattpad is a great way to get around that fear. When it comes to feedback, sometimes it's best to start about amateurs and then, slowly, through writing communities, work on getting better. 

Getting Start on Wattpad

I wanted to post a few tips for getting started on Wattpad. It's very easy to get overwhelmed when you first register--there are so many stories, so many tags, so many new things to learn. Here are some tips: 

1. Use Canva to make your covers. 

Canva actually has pre-made templates for Wattpad covers. How convenient! One of the most daunting things of uploading your first story is that cover, right? It's the first thing people will judge. I also use Unsplash for stock photos for covers. 

2. Learn how the tags work. 

The tag system on Wattpad uses hashtags--much like Twitter or Tumblr--but in a completely different way. Some tags are very general (like #boy) and some tags are very specific (like #high-school). Search through the stories and learn how tags work, so you can better tag your stories & find readers! 

3. Join challenges.

Both of my stories currently on Wattpad were written as part of challenges! Challenges are a great way to just get writing, regardless of what ends up happening. (Full disclosure, I don't love either of the stories I have on Wattpad, but I'm working on them!) The challenges on Wattpad can give you great ideas of what to read and what to write. 

Want to read my Wattpad stories? Click here.  

5 Tips for Writing Every Day

Writing every day doesn't really seem like a challenge, does it? Not until you actually make a goal to sit down and do it. 

For 2017, I set a goal to write 600,000 words in a year. That's a lot of words. And it requires me to basically write one NaNoWriMo every month. Looking at it that way, it's incredibly overwhelming. Even breaking it down into 10,000 word short stories, I still have to write five of them. 

Why did I do this to myself again?

However, as of Saturday, I am at 22,000 words for January. That's considerably more than I thought I would have by now, thanks to rewriting and editing portions of short stories to post on Wattpad

I thought I'd share what has worked for me to help me get to writing every day (or, at least a few days a week). 

1. Set a routine. 

The most important thing for writing, for me, is to have a routine. As an example, I write most of my blog posts on Saturday and Sunday mornings; if I don't have my week scheduled out by then, most likely, it's not going to happen. (Prime example, this post was supposed to go out last Friday.) I tend to write more in the evenings as well--especially after 6 or 7pm. (This may be because that's when my son goes to bed!) 

2. Make yourself accountable. 

Accountability is a big thing. If you want to write 1,000 words a day, you need to hold yourself to it: no procrastinating, no getting out of it. Be accountable for how much you're writing and notice the patterns that form when you decide not to. 

That all being said, accountability means more than just making yourself write. It means being kind to yourself. Having a hard time? Not enjoying the story you're writing? Then, why do it? Seriously. If you hate it, fix it. If you need to take a day off, take a day off--but be ready to jump right back into it. 

3. If you don't feel like writing, editing is a good fall back option. 

There have been a few days (probably half of January, actually) where I just didn't want to write. So I worked on editing and rewriting portions of my NaNoWriMo novel! Writing from scratch is a mentally exhausting activity. So when in doubt, I work on editing something I've been working on for a while; it still accomplishes the task of "writing," but without the mental fatigue. 

4. Start as many works as you need to. 

Right now, I have about five short stories I'm working on. That seems like a lot, right? But I find that I need variety when it comes to writing. Also, I always get a really good idea once I'm running out of mental steam for what I'm working on. (Sort of like during NaNoWriMo, I always get about 100 better ideas for novels...) I let myself start a new story--or a new outline, if that's what I want to do--in the middle of working on something else, if only for the fact that it helps me actually get to writing. 

5. Tell your friends. 

Tell your friends, or your family, or your dog, that you want to write more. Ask them to talk to you about it. If you don't have friends or family that you want to talk to about writing (trust me, I understand), tell Twitter! Or Instagram! Writing communities on social media can be some of the most supportive, amazing communities out there. Community support will help you achieve your goal, because nothing is better than support.