If you’ve been looking for tips to improve your writing, you’ve probably been advised to make a habit of daily writing. This is good advice, but many writers still don’t take the time to sit down and write even a few short paragraphs on a daily basis. If this is such great advice, why do so many good writers ignore it?
This is probably because we’re all busy people and making new habits is difficult. But daily writing is a simple and effective way to get better. Writing is a skill and like any other skill, you need to practice to improve.
If you’re interested in becoming a better writer by taking the time to write daily, the editors at NWA Publishing have put together this short list of our best tips for making a habit of writing every day:
Create a Writing Ritual
Pick a time of day when you can write without interruptions and then make it a part of your daily routine. It’s important to choose a time that works for you. Despite the popularity of writing in the morning, you might find that mornings are not the best possible time for you to write for an uninterrupted period of time. Whatever time you choose, make it a priority every single day. Habits take shape by doing something regularly at a specific time, so put it in your calendar and treat it like an important appointment. You might find that having a designated time to work boosts your creativity and gives you something to look forward to.
Set a Daily Writing Goal
There is a lot of disagreement about how much and for how long you need to write to reap the benefits of writing every day. The average recommendation is to put down between 500 and 1,000 words, which requires between 30 and 60 minutes. Stephen King suggests aiming for 1,000 words per day, but you should pick a number that seems right to you. Set a goal that is achievable, but not too easy to complete. Your writing goal not only determines how much time you’ll spend writing each day, but also gives you something to strive for.
Keep a Notebook on Hand
Keeping a small notebook or pad handy is an easy way to fit a little extra writing into your day. You can take advantage of free time by continuing to work on a project or by jotting down ideas as they occur to you. Some writers like to keep a notebook on hand so that they can write down interesting pieces of conversation they overhear, character sketches, and plot outlines. Having your ideas written down is helpful because it means you’re less likely to forget something by the time you get to your computer and reviewing your notes later can inspire you.
No matter how you fit it into your routine, daily writing is one of the best ways to become a better writer. It’s not always easy to make the time or to motivate yourself to work, but the habit forces you to practice. You might also find that the process of writing offers a kind of therapy by giving you the time and space you need to be creative.