Five Reasons Why You Should Write Every Day
Building a writing habit is like anything else, it takes perseverance and discipline at first, but then becomes easier as you go. And once you’ve gotten in the groove, you’ll find that finishing that book is no longer as much a chore as it is a pleasure. Bradley Charbonneau should know – he’s taken the write every day mantra to heart by not missing one for over 2000 days straight. He’s here today to explain how much it helps and how you can do it too!
Are you waiting around for inspiration to strike?
Let’s end the wait.
A dentist once advised me to “Only brush the teeth you want to keep.” At first, I didn’t understand his joke, but then it hit me. “Well, I want to keep all of my teeth!” I said. He smiled with a knowing grin.
The question for us as authors is: how often do you want to be a writer?
Only when you feel like it? Only when your prose is rocking and rolling and your dialogue is popping and the words are flowing out of your imagination through your fingers and onto the page? Just those good times?
What about when you face that blank page? When you’re pretty sure your dog has more creative ideas than you do – and he chews bark and sleeps in dirt.
Here are five reasons to Write Every Day that will help get you back into your literary groove, discover new creative sources, and end writer’s block.
1. Perspiration leads to Motivation which leads to Inspiration
Can we create inspiration?
“Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” — Thomas A. Edison
Some writers wait around for lightning to strike, for the spark to ignite our creative muse, and then hold onto the reigns of the powerful horses pulling our chariot of creativity forward.
I don’t know about you, but I’d have a lot of time in my hands if I hung around waiting for those moments. I’m going to go with Thomas Edison here and say we arrive at our personal genius after we work at it, force it, fail often, and then break through the forest into the clearing.
A daily ‘write every day’ schedule doesn’t have to be a grueling, 4-hour slog. As little as a 15-minute sprint can get those creative juices flowing.
Sound good? We’re just at number one and I know you’re already feeling motivated! But how can you find the time? Let’s move to number two.
2. Make Time (Don’t Find Time)
In her post “A Writing Plan Can Help Your Novel Get Started… and Finished!, Tracy Brenton wrote, “Making time for writing is one of the biggest challenges of beginner writers, often because to do so means juggling an already full schedule.”
If you make a daily appointment, if you have it on your calendar, if you’re giving writing priority in your full schedule, then you have already made time for your writing.
If you’re looking around for time, searching for that extra half hour in between Junior’s after-school pickup and dinner or maybe hoping you’ll be able to wake up a half hour earlier tomorrow, you might just get lucky and find some. It might also rain tomorrow. You might win the lottery next week.
Gather up those elements of your life that you do have control over and make them a part of your daily schedule.
3. Get in Writing Shape
Does a wanna-be runner decide on Thursday that she’s going to run a marathon on Sunday? Well, sure, she could. But she’s probably going to bonk at mile 13, toss her running shoes out of the ambulance window, and recuperate in bed all week.
More experienced runners train ahead of time, build up their stamina, and have deadlines and calendars with a plan to run that marathon. Their muscles get used to their daily workout and get stronger. Each day is easier than the last and the dread of the daily run might even turn into a respite of regularity.
A respite of regularity? That sounds good, doesn’t it? We’re cruising now! But wait: it gets better.
4. Decisions Cost Vital Energy
Each decision we make each day, each minute of each day, costs us a little bit of energy. Some of them less (vanilla or chocolate?) while others much more (quit the job? go to the gym?).
A habit is an action we perform on a regular basis. After a certain amount of time and repetition, we no longer have to think about it and we just do it. We don’t think about it. We don’t decide whether to do it or not, we just do it.
When we decide to write every day, when we commit to making it a habit, then there is no longer a decision to make. The resolution was made on the day you decided to build this daily habit.
In other words, we make one decision on one day that we don’t have to think about again. Remember how much energy we spent making decisions? Think about how much energy, how much brain power, how much hemming and hawing on a daily basis you might expend deciding whether or not you should write today.
What if that disappeared?
What if that energy was saved and available for other actions? Actions such as:
- A chapter more than you expected
- An idea for a new co-writing project with that author you met last week
- Maybe a spark for a whole new series?
One decision less, each day, will build up as each day you have one decision already made in your reserve. Dream big about what you might do with that extra energy. Speaking of dreaming …
5. The Glorious Unknown
As someone who has written for more than 2,000 days in a row, I admit that number five here might seem odd, but it’s actually the most interesting and exciting.
Remember way back at number one when we were hoping for a spark of inspiration to strike? Let’s turn that on its head. When true, glorious, delicious inspiration strikes is when it’s in shape, when it becomes a habit, when you don’t think about it, when it becomes normal, regular, easy, powerful and fun.
What used to be a tedious chore to even think about becomes a daily secret activity you look forward to, that your brain ramps up for, and a time when you are allowed to step out of your daily life and let loose.
A daily writing habit gets you in such good writing shape that you soon will surpass the limitations you previously had on your writing capabilities. You’ll want more, you’ll achieve more, you’ll easily get there and it will be more fun.
Only through daily practice can we build up our minds, our imaginations, and our habits to soar past levels we used to strive for.
I started my write every day habit with a 30-day writing challenge and never stopped. I recommend others start the same way – commit to just 30 days – and the easiest day to begin is on the first of a month. Not sure which month to begin? Here’s a thought: take a look at the calendar, see what month it is right now and set a date in your calendar – and deep in your psyche – to begin your new writing life on the first of the coming month.
I’m rooting for you.