Everyone tells you to write every day. They praise the benefits of building a writing routine and disciplining yourself. And it’s true! You should definitely at least try to write every day, even if it’s only a few words. However, some days words refuse to show up, or what you put on paper feels like the worst thing you’ve written yet. How are you supposed to write every day if you’re stuck?
One of my favorite things about writing is that writing is versatile. There’s all kinds of writing and all kinds of skills and techniques that you can apply. So if you believe you can’t write every day without losing all your confidence in yourself, look below for tips on how to write every day without losing the uphill battle.
First things first, remember that your writing goals won’t be completed all at once. As my dad says, you can only eat the elephant one bite at a time. So when you have an insurmountable mountain in front of you that is your writing project, take it one step at a time. How do you do that?
1) Take it one day at a time. Try to get a little bit done each day, whether that be through a bite-sized word count or page count goal or just writing for a small window of time during the day. Once these small goals become manageable, you can expand. Don’t try to get everything done in one day. The writing must come gradually.
2) Take small steps. Liek I said, don’t try to write everything all at once. Sure, you might have deadlines, but small goals actually help you get more done in the long run. You’re more likely to complete your goals and KEEP completing them when you start small and go from there. By starting small, your goals become easier to tackle and the stress of writing every day becomes less overwhelming.
Stuck with your writing? Then don’t write!
OK, by that I mean writing involves more than just sitting down and putting words on a page. A great story needs a lot of outlining and planning, lots of editing and proofing, and lots of learning along the way. You need to research in order to worldbuild, you need to practice your writing skills and techniques to improve your writing, and you need to edit and rewrite what you completed.
Writing isn’t just writing. If you find that the words aren’t coming, redirect the energy you have. Take the time to do some more research or even start writing another project. Or do some more outlining for your next chapter. Since all these different things work to create your complete story, you shouldn’t focus only on writing. Find a balance between all the stages of the writing process as you go along. That way, if one place gets overwhelming, the rest is ready for you to delve into once more.
Sometimes the words elude you. You might be a little frustrated or worried with all the deadlines approaching. But worrying will only slow you down more. If you plan to write every day with a big project in mind, you need time management, but you need it in a way that allows you some room to breathe. I do this a lot with academic-related projects. Using the deadline, I calculate how many words a day I need to write to get done within a suitable timeframe. Afterward, the project looked MUCH more manageable, and I was less overwhelmed by the word count since the word count isn’t all that much.
Now, it’s different if your deadline is right up on you. But if it’s a ways away, take your time and keep yourself from worrying. Going little by little (like I mentioned before) allows your writing to arrive on its own time, just when you need it. With smaller projects each day, writing every day becomes more enjoyable and less stressful.
STOP GOING BACKWARDS! (Yes, I wrote this in all caps to get the point across). The biggest roadblock you can set up for yourself is going back and editing what you just wrote. If you do, chances are you’ll keep doing that. You might end up in a vicious cycle of editing, editing, and more editing, without making any writing progress. Of course, you should follow through with the editing process. However, ONLY do so after you finish the writing stage. It might be that you don’t like what you just wrote, but you need to persevere and finish what you wrote before going back into it and editing everything.
Why? For one, it’s easiest to edit when something you wrote is complete. You get the full scope of where you are versus where you want your writing to be. It sets up a clear path between a completed product and a perfected product, what you have versus what you want. Additionally, going back to edit constantly means your writing doesn’t get the chance to grow. If you keep focusing on how you want your writing to get better, you miss out on what you have in front of you. Acknowledge your weaknesses but play into your strengths as well. Keep pushing forward, then go back and see what you want to change.
Be honest with yourself, writing is tough. Keep on persevering, but know when to direct your attention to something else when you feel stuck. Climb that mountain one step at a time, and find the joy in the small victories as you go along. Happy writing!
I’m currently UPDATING my portfolio. In the meantime, check out:
The Facebook Page
My 2022 chapbook
My 2023 micro-chapbook