A Daily Writing Practice – What it looks like as a best selling author
What does a daily writing practice look like? This is an interesting question because it’s not so much what it looks like, it’s what it feels like. Yes, we can talk about how a day is structured, and we will talk about that. In fact, I’ll even give you a free download to help you plan your own daily writing practice. But first, allow me to walk you through how that time allocated to your writing practice might feel.
Do you ever feel like avoiding your writing practice?
Me too! In fact, before I sat down to write this article on a (sketchy summer) Sunday afternoon, I weeded the garden, I dyed my hair, I ate lunch, and I went for a drive. Hmmm… see! It happens to us all. A writing practice can create a need for procrastination, a need so strong that it actually feels like there is something (or some higher being) instinctually telling you that right now isn’t the right time to write. And so, acutely aware that something needs to be written, you instead tend to garden overgrowth, banish grey roots, eat crackers and hummus, before finally climbing into your car to go on that drive that you feel ‘MUST’ be experienced.
But wait! This is when you get a chance to breathe. Your driver brain kicks in and all other information in your head clears. A thought presents itself and suddenly you realise that you know exactly what you want to write. And that thought at the back of your mind telling you to chill and do anything but write high fives you knowing that you got the message. In this moment you become connected with purpose. And in this moment you appreciate that anything you may have written before now would not have been the right thing.
For me, in this moment, I knew what angle my article needed to take. Before this moment, I knew a very broad idea but wasn’t sure of the finer detail. And we all know that detail is essential when you’re writing for an audience who wants to discover a better writing practice.
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Now then, I’m aware that I’m referring to an article and not a book – but the two processes aren’t miles apart – there’s just more of the process that needs to be worked out before you begin. As a best selling author and a passionate teacher to those learning to write books, I know that successful authors are driven by commitment, tenacity and purpose. Without a lavish helping of these three ingredients you’re going to find the daily writing practice hard to maintain. Yet, with the right mindset, preparation, and flexibility in your schedule, you could have your first draft written in a matter of weeks!
Mindset, Preparation and Flexibility will make YOU a WINNER!
It’s not only athletes who have to have an unflappable mindset to achieving their goals. Authors do to. You have to do your homework. You have to understand your audience. You have to know their needs. You have to breathe in the same way as they do. You have to walk a mile in their shoes. In the same way that an athlete needs to know their competition because they need to understand what time they need to beat, or which opponents to watch out for. This is where the detail becomes very much about the person you’re writing your book for. If you get into the mindset that this research is about you knowing what they need, then you’re in a great position to put together a plan in how your book is going to achieve this.
This is when you need to prepare yourself for all the aspects in writing your book. This too needs to be factored into your daily writing practice. Failing to prepare your book for its audience is you preparing to fail your audience.
Though, if you do your homework, and you gather the detail you need you will discover that your research is helping you to write your book. You’ll just know when you’re hitting a home run because you’ll hear your audience research echo through your writing.
Sitting Down to Write Shouldn’t be Nerves Staring at a Blank Screen
I don’t need to tell you that carving out time for your writing practice can be tricky, especially if you work full time, have kids or grandkids regularly, and generally do everything for everyone. I hear you. Which is why it’s crucial that you do your preparation so that when you do sit down at your screen the words flow from you with ease. And before you say it, that first draft can be rubbish, in fact, it’s supposed to be rubbish. So, whatever you do, don’t hit delete. That first draft is as important as the skeleton that sits in your skin. Don’t doubt it.
There’s a hundred other things that you will be wanting to take care of before you finally sit down at your screen. Just know that this is okay. It happens to us all, and it likely isn’t going to change. Yeah, procrastinate a little if it feels right, but do it with intention. Set the intention to take yourself to a calm place within so that the right next step comes to you. If you find yourself staring at a blank screen – go for a walk, meditate, do something fun or joyful. The answer will come. Have faith. This is how you make sure that your writing practice will be fuelled with worth and every minute that you invest will be valuable!
How Do You Schedule in a Daily Writing Practice in an Already Busy Schedule?
As I said earlier, commitment, preparation and Purpose are three ingredients to making your book a success. Knowing that you’re preparing to write a book for a particular audience can be a part of your writing schedule. In fact, it can be the only part of your writing schedule until you’ve gathered all your detail. Once this part is done, you can move on to structuring your book, finding the right tone of voice, and the best place to begin. If your time is limited, then limit the actions you give yourself on a daily basis. Remember to make it maintainable. Set manageable goals to tick off each day.
There also might be something in your schedule that you can shift. This could be identifying the number of minutes/hours you browse the internet, watch TV, hang with friends etc. If you’ve discovered the purpose behind your book then committing to a daily writing practice should be fuelled with purpose.
Your day might look different every day or you might be able to schedule in an hour at the same time every day. It doesn’t matter how it gets divided, it matters that you make the commitment to do the schedule in the first place. To help you align your daily schedule with your writing schedule and your book’s purpose, here’s a free download to get you started.
It doesn’t have to begin with chaos and complication. Do it the right way, and you may even find it enjoyable.
Respectfully your guide,