Writers should be writing everyday. Everyday.
Having a consistent writing habit is important to success.
In this article, I want to show you how you can start a writing habit in 15 minutes a day.
This is advice from some of the greatest writers of all time. If they say that we should write everyday, it’s important to listen to that advice.
Unfortunately, I didn’t understand how that was possible at first. Especially when I was working a full-time job.
Guess what? They are working just as much as we are. Those writers who are giving the advice to write everyday are working too.
The work they do is writing. Writing isn’t easy! So, when I hear someone with multiple best sellers say write everyday, I listen because they fought hard for that piece of wisdom.
Even still with a little hesitation, I took the advice and started gaining writing stamina like never before.
Writing, like exercise and sports is about building your muscle.
Yes. Your brain is a muscle! I know you knew that…right?
When we build that muscle it gets stronger and it learns that it should be thinking and processing and creating.
We are creators. We should be challenging our brains to do more than repetition and watching t.v.
Don’t get me wrong, I love watching episodes of my favorite shows, but now when I watch I’m learning from story lines and how to build characters. It’s research!
I’ve had to learn to stop telling my husband the “beats” of movies, because I’m often in research mode.
When I learned about beats from the book, “Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need”, I couldn’t watch a movie without looking for the beats.
Does that happen to you? When you learn something new, you start using it everywhere?
In the back of my mind, I’m always wondering how a writer came up with certain lines and story structure.
I just want to always be striving to become a better writer.
So back to the topic. How do we start a writing habit in 15 minutes a day?
It’s easier than you think. Here are the tips for writing everyday for 15 minutes.
TIP #1: CHANGE YOUR MINDSET
It’s hard to write after a long day at work. Every writer would probably agree.
I talk a lot about changing our mindset. Getting set in our ways and not doing what we know we should be doing, is easy to do.
Writing and being creative are so important to me. They’re my favorite things to do!
But, there are times when I just don’t feel like sitting – or standing – in front of the screen and making my brain create.
This is where training your mind to do what needs to be done, and not always what makes you comfortable comes into play.
Doing what’s uncomfortable, but we know is right, is how we succeed.
Let me encourage you, when you start this practice, it becomes easier. I’m telling you the truth.
Now, on the days I don’t write, I feel like I’m missing something…and I am.
I’m missing the opportunity to do something that could make a difference. That for sure, motivates me more than anything.
Can I help someone else reach for their goal? Can I write something that encourages someone else? I miss out on these things when I choose not to write.
You miss out on an opportunity to do the same. The person who may need the encouragement could be you. How much encouragement would you get from finishing a page, a chapter…even your book?
When you don’t feel like it, tell yourself “it’s only 15 minutes”.
Really it is… It’s only 15 minutes.
Also, think about the reasons I listed above. This is about you and the people you will encourage, entertain, and amaze with your words.
When you get started and focused, you will notice the time will go by so fast.
Sometimes, once you get started it’s hard to find a stopping point. This happens often for me.
If you feel like you don’t want to write after work remind yourself that it’s only 15 minutes, and of the benefits you’ll miss out on if you don’t write.
If you have to take a break after work (or before work) do that, and then write for just 15 minutes.
Watch the benefits that come from this sacrifice of time.
TIP #2: SET A TIMER
Setting a timer is always so helpful for me. Especially when I don’t feel like writing.
I first learned about managing my time when I was teaching. I would have a one day plan for note-taking turn into a two day lesson, because I didn’t manage my time well.
Many times it was for good reasons. The kids and I would get into the content, but I should have just finished the notes first and then talked about the lesson.
But, I say all of that to say, I learned how to manage my time by using a timer. The timer gives a visual for writing and a designated stop time.
Using this strategy, makes you well aware of how much time you have to write, how much time you have left, and when to stop.
This strategy is good for when you don’t feel like writing too. There have been many times that I haven’t felt like writing. In those times, I would set a timer.
I don’t remember where I learned this from, but I learned to set a time for how long I was going to sit. How long was I going to give myself to put writing off before I got started writing.
Five minutes was the most time that I would give myself. Five minutes to sit, no more. When the timer went off, I had to get up and get to my computer or notebook.
Once I sat down, I would set my timer for the amount of time that I was going to write.
It’s almost like hitting the snooze button.
But don’t hit snooze on the timer. Be strong!
When the timer goes off, start writing.
You can do it!
TIP #3: SET A DAILY WORD COUNT
Another one of my favorite ways to start a writing habit is by counting words. How many words do I plan to write each day?
I know that I can write about 500 words in 15 minutes.
Do you know how many words you can get with 500 words a day, in 30 days? In one month, that’s a lot of words for someone just starting out.
It equals 15,000 words!
At that rate, you can write a rough draft of your book in 4 months. Not bad…
I’ve been trying to write more words, so I work beyond the 15 minute mark.
I’m not the fastest typer, but if I put my mind to it and not try to fix every mistake, I can write about 1500 – 2000 words in an hour.
When I’m focused that gives me 60,000 words a month. That could be one to two books a month, depending on the word count I have planned for my book.
Sometimes…I have to admit, I lose focus. Okay, a lot of times, I struggle with focus. And of course, I’m not releasing a book every month. I take breaks from my rough drafts and let them sit.
I’m learning to be patient when it comes to letting my drafts sit. I need that time away so that I see them with new eyes.
It would be great for you to see what happens when you set a goal for 500 hundred words a day. I encourage you to try it for a week, then a month.
Even if you don’t hit 500 hundred words, you’re still writing for 15 minutes. And what if you type faster than me. You may get more than 500 words.
You’re challenging yourself to get better. Each day, try to get better at your word count.
Try it – Challenge yourself – Watch how you get better.
These are ideas that I find helpful for creating a writing habit in 15 minutes.
First, change your mindset. Even if you don’t feel like writing, how can you encourage yourself to do it anyway?
Remind yourself, it’s only 15 minutes and think about who you could help in the future.
Set your timer; Try your phone or an online timer. Have something that is visual, so that you can see how much time you have. But don’t watch the clock the whole time.
Then, just start writing. Try to get as many words as you can in that time frame.
Another way to get some words on the page is by counting words. I would suggest using an electronic device so that you don’t have to count the words yourself.
Remember, even if you don’t make your word count, you’re still writing for 15 minutes.
You can do this!
I know that you want to complete your book.
Challenge yourself to create.
See how proud you can make yourself.
I hope this helped you think about starting or restarting your writing habit.
Please let me know in the comments what you’re already doing for your writing habit or how this helped you.
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