To date, I have written an article every day for 77 days.
Full disclosure: I’ve fallen off the bandwagon, many times. But each time, I would get back up and start again.
Today, I’d like to share with you five tips to keeping up with this daily habit of writing.
Five tips to sustaining the habit of writing (and publishing) daily
1. Be disciplined
Unless writing is your full-time job, it is unlikely you will have eight hours a day to sit around and just write.
Not every one of us get an advance from the publishers to write. Not even close.
We have our day job. We have other commitments. We have family and friends.
I run a consulting practice advising schools. That requires me to put in about 40 hours a week. I also have two young children, 3 and 5 years old. My wife and I have decided to home school them, which adds to our already heavy responsibility as parents. On top of all these, my wife and I have to do all the household work on our own.
To make writing every day a possibility, I choose to be disciplined and commit to it on a daily basis.
2. Schedule it
Since I have made writing every day a priority, I make it a point to schedule it every day. Because what doesn’t get scheduled, doesn’t get done.
Scheduling means to block out a time each day to, well, write. Sometimes how I feel does get in the way. For instance, I may have scheduled every day at 5.30am to write for 45 minutes. And there are days when the time comes for me to write but that’s the last thing I want to do.
Though, being disciplined is about subordinating my impulse (how I feel) to a higher value (my priority: writing), it can still get in the way sometimes.
3. Plan ahead
There were times when I would sit in front of the computer and watch the blinking cursor. And sometimes I just gave in and shut down.
To eliminate all these, I now use an editorial calendar. An editorial calendar is basically a fanciful way of laying out the content to create in advance.
For instance, in my recent series on self-discipline, I created an editorial calendar with the following items:
- Topic or title of article
- Summary of article
- Related keywords
- Call to action
By doing so, I’ve eliminated worrying about what to write. So when it is time to write, I simply open the editorial calendar, look at the topic for that day and just write.
4. Just write
Carolyn Kaufman via Freelance Writing:
Unfortunately, the left frontal part of the brain is also responsible for that little voice that’s trying to edit while you write, and creative drive is actually much more strongly correlated with good creative output than skill.
Writing and editing require different cognitive functions, as such, I don’t edit while I am writing. Besides, constantly switching between editing and writing is not only not efficient, it makes writing unbearable.
If you do that, you’d almost be certain not to be able to create a decent length article.
5. Word count
I’ve read that people do read long form articles and it also ranks better. That may probably be true.
But the real reason why I’ve made a self-imposed word count on my writing is this: it helps me to think more deeply about the topic.
Besides, I don’t simply want to share an idea with you. To paraphrase Peter Drucker, “Don’t tell me you agree with me. Tell me what you’re going to do differently to design a better life, starting today.”
The secret benefit of writing daily
Finally, here’s my secret benefit of writing daily. Writing daily forces me to focus on what I have and what I can control.
Focusing on what you have and what you can control are the foundations of a better better life.
It is easy to be distracted. And a distracted mind is not an effective one.
The suggestion to writing daily
So give this simple idea a try: take 5 minutes every day for the next ten days and just write whatever comes to mind.
Don’t edit. Don’t critique. Don’t judge.