We all know that if you want to be a successful writer you need to write. Not just occasionally, but every day, without fail, whether you feel like it or not.
You hear about writing habits and ways to set them up. You've visualized yourself as a writer. You've done your affirmations. You've listened to stories about all the 'greats' and their daily writing process. Yet whatever you do, you just seem to keep missing days off your daily writing, and you're starting to think you might not be cut out to be a writer...
When it comes down to it though, there are ONLY three reasons you're not writing that 1,000 words every day that would change your writing career.
It's simple when you think about it, but if you solve those three issues, you'll regularly end up with 1,000 words every day, no matter what.
While the big picture is simple, these three reasons have a variety of causes and disguises, each caused by a mindset issue. So let's look at the different causes...
There are a variety of causes for not actually getting your butt in a seat so you have a chance to write. A common solution is to set up a daily writing habit, however, there's a step that needs to come before that, that a habit just won't solve. It comes down to your priorities and desires.
There are only so many things you can focus on at one time. The conscious mind can only deal with seven plus or minus two pieces of information at any one time. Taking the lowest common denominator you end up with five. Warren Buffet's goal process also says it's five things. Given his level of success, and the way the conscious mind works, I'm inclined to agree.
What this means is that you can only have five things in your life at any one time that you are consciously wanting to work on. Maybe you have a job to focus on so you earn a living until you can branch out full time, a family that needs looking after and you want to improve your health by exercising every day. That's 3 things.
Why did you decide you wanted to be a writer? What about being a writer is important to you?
Now look at your reason. Imagine the kids are screaming, your partner has to work over time and the in-laws are coming to visit. How does that "why" look now? Still strong enough to make you want to write? If not, you need to rewrite it.
I can't imagine not writing, especially writing a book. Whatever is going on, it's the biggest thing I look forward to each day and part of that is because of my 'why' statement. So you need to make your 'why' rock solid and something that will keep you going no matter what chaos is going on around you.
You can use your alarm clock in the morning, or the act of brushing your teeth for instance. Anything you do on a daily basis without fail. This trigger then tells your brain to start the action, which is the second item that makes up a habit. You can define your action as something like "sit down at my desk to write".
Then finally you have the reward part of the habit. This is what you get for completing the action and only when you complete the action. Use something that you would really like and enjoy and you'll miss if you don't get it. Something like, you get to check off your daily goal, or you get to go to Starbucks for a cup of coffee.
So your habit looks something like this: "When I've finished brushing my teeth in the morning, I will go immediately to my desk and sit down to write 1,000 words. Once I've finished I can update my goal spreadsheet and put a check next to my daily writing goal."
The second issue is where you manage to put your butt in a seat without too much trouble, but that's where it ends. No matter what you try, you just don't consistently get words out onto the page. Like the other issue, this one has a variety of causes as well.
Everyone has experienced the social media black hole. You just think you'll research one quick thing and the next thing you know, an hour has gone by and you've checked what all your friends are doing, read about some gossip, watching a cute animal video and managed to write zero words on your page.
To really get those words down so you progress your writing, you need to cut out all distractions before they happen. Close down social media, email, skype and anything else that pings you if someone does something. Put your cell phone into airplane mode and if you have one shut the door.
Your writing time has to be under your control, not someone else's, or worse yet, someone else's business. So before you leave your desk the night before, shut all the distractions down and don't reopen them until you've finished your writing.
I put a disclaimer on all my personal email so anyone who emails me knows they're not going to get an immediate response. I check it twice a day and that's pretty much it.
One of the best ways I've found to solve it is to plan your outline. Whether you're writing a 100,000-word book, or a 300-word blog post, an outline of what you want to cover and what points you want to make removes that blank page, blank mind issue.
You want to break your whole project down into manageable steps that you can form into an outline. Then start to fill in the sections with all the points you want to make. Lastly, when you come to write, pick a section and start writing around the points you've already described. With that outline, you always know what you're going to write about and you never have to see another blank page.
Part of this will be solved by having a daily habit because that means you'll be writing some words. However when it comes to consistently writing 1,000 words every day, you have to know precisely how many words you do write each day to keep hitting your goal.
As Peter Drucker said, "What's measured, improves." The same is true for your writing.
You can't hope to consistently write over a certain word limit if you're unaware of exactly how many words you write day to day. So you want to measure your daily word count. This allows you to track your progress and improve it at any point if you want to write more words each day.
If you solve the issue you're facing 1,000 words every day is in your future as a writer. The question is, "Which of the three issues do you face and what's the cause behind it?" Let us know in the comments below which one you struggle with and what you're committing to so you can solve it.