Writing is like exercise. Sometimes it’s hard to get started but you feel great once it’s over. Except, you should enjoy writing while you do it. And, you shouldn’t get all hot and sweaty while you’re writing. Unless, of course, you’re writing erotic thrillers. Screw this analogy–writing is nothing like exercise.
But, you do get better at writing by practicing and many times the hardest part is just getting started. By the time I get home from a ten-hour day at work, help with dinner, clean up and help with homework I’m usually ready to watch a TV show or read a good book — maybe a video game. How do I bust through this end-of-day apathy and push out some of my most creative thoughts and stories? I don’t–in fact, I don’t even try most nights.
I write first thing in the morning–before I go to work. But, I rarely write at night and I try to balance getting physical exercise with writing and other discretionary-time activities
At one point I believed I just needed to ‘push through it’. I needed more determination, more perseverance, more guts. I’ve come to realize this is a self-defeating perspective. Willpower is important but so is recognizing your limitations and setting reasonable expectations. If you’re trying to balance your writing desires with significant responsibilities and outside demands, cut yourself some slack.
Take the long-term view — be the tortoise, not the hare. I find it’s better to write 2-3 times a week and be pleased with my progress than to push for 6-7 times a week, get disillusioned and stop writing completely.
Writing early also let’s me work when my creative energy is greatest. This doesn’t mean I’m a morning person. In fact, I’m more of a night owl. But, after working all day, I just don’t have the same brain-power on tap as I do in the morning. With absolutely no empirical evidence to back this up — I’m pretty certain it’s true for everyone!
Start a Blog
It’s nice to get paid. It’s nice to have people read your work. It’s nice to get feedback. Which makes a blog perfect because it probably won’t give you any of these! At least not in the beginning.
A blog will give you an opportunity to write about whatever you want, whenever you want, in whatever voice you feel like using at the time. There are no deadlines, no stress and it keeps a log (pun intended) of your writing.
Obviously, this kind of blog is different from one that’s oriented toward making money. I’m not saying those are bad but having a forum where you can unleash your creativity is important. Especially when you’re time-constrained.
The best way to improve your writing is to write more often. You can write more often by writing before you wear yourself out with other responsibilities (like a day-job) and by using a blog as a forum for your creativity.
In future posts we’ll identify other ways to write more frequently. What tips and tricks do you use to write more often? Please leave a comment and let us know what works for you.