Part of my rather extensive list of goals for 2017 (let’s be real – every year) is to write more, edit more, and hopefully share more. But as anyone who has even dabbled with writing knows stories take more than word count goals on a calendar to get written. At some point you have to put in the work and developing a routine can take a lot of the pressure off.
Now some people are gifted with regular schedules and the ability to pick a time every day that works for them, block it into their planner, show up and hope for the best. I am not one of those people. My schedule varies from day to day, week to week, and between my ongoing battles with bipolar disorder and the house I’m renovating, it’s impossible to pick a magic time frame to write each day. But I do write each day.
I’m by no means saying that everyone who wants to be a writer must write every single day, or for a certain amount of time, or to a certain word count, or anything like that. In fact lists and recommendations like that only fueled my anxiety and depression for the first few years when I was trying to figure out how to do this writing thing. I’m still trying to figure it out by the way, so what works for me might not work for you, and in the same vein, what works for me right now might not work for me two years from now. I’m just offering my perspective.
My method, at the moment, is to write every day, even if it’s only for 10 minutes. Even if I only get 50 words. Even if I struggle to quiet the nagging, judgmental voice in my head the whole time I’m staring at the blank page. The thing is that I come to my work every day, and see what happens. I do of course have other project goals and such in mind, but my mental health informs a large part of my life and I don’t have the luxury of knowing where I’ll be on a day to day standing.
Just to give you an idea of what this showing up every day and writing looks like:
Sunday Jan 1st – 92 w – 3 min
Monday Jan 2nd – 277 w – 12 min
Tuesday Jan 3rd – 59 w – 26 min (There was some editing going on in this block as well. I’m not quite this horrible)
Wednesday Jan 4th – 1504 w – 23 min
It’s great if you can stick to a certain time or word count goal every single day, but I’m just here to tell you that your process is your business. Just because you don’t/can’t do something the way everyone else does it, doesn’t mean that you can’t be a writer, or that you aren’t a good one. There have been some weeks where I’ve had 4-6 days at 5k. Art is unpredictable just like life and ultimately it’s better to do a little bit on the bad days rather than nothing at all.
Tiny side note. A lot of people recommend writing 500 words a day as a small benchmark and just for curiosity sake, the sum of my word counts above, divided by the four days is 483 words per day. Do with that what you will.
Please share what your daily routines or daily writing goals look like in the comments below.