Creating a daily writing and reading habit is essential if you hope to become a good writer. As Stephen King put it in his book On Writing, ‘read a lot and write a lot, there’s no way round it, no shortcut as far as I know,’ and he should know!
So, how do you fit in these two essential activities. It depends on how serious you are about becoming a writer because that will determine how much effort you are willing to put in to make sure you get your writing and reading done. My free e-book, 50 tips to kick-start your writing, includes a section on ‘making time to write’ as well as lots of other tips and ideas to help with your writing.
Push Yourself and Commit to your Goal for a Month
If you work full time then you may have to get up earlier in order to fit in your writing. You will need to work out what number of words you can reasonably accomplish in the time you have and this will depend on how fast or slow you are able to write.
If you push yourself you will be amazed at how many words you can get down in each session. When I signed up to do NaNoWriMo, the competition to write a novel in a month, I started a few days late so worked out that I needed to write at least 2,000 words a day to get to 50,000 words by the end of the month. My working day was 8:30am to 5pm and I managed to hit my target pretty much every day. The days that I didn’t quite get to 2,000, I made up for at the next writing session.
Once you have made a commitment and you have a goal and a deadline in place, the rest should follow without too many problems.
When you have achieved your goal, then you have no more excuses to fall back on. If you can do 2,000 in one day or 1,000 or however many words you have set yourself, then you can do it every day. If you commit to your goal for a month, then you have created a permanent habit.
Instead of Watching TV…Read
Reading every day should be the easy part; it certainly is for me. Hopefully, it’s the whole reason you became a writer in the first place so it shouldn’t be a chore. Get into the habit of taking a book with you wherever you go and then you can dip into it whenever you have any spare time. You may well be surprised at how many times in the day you are suddenly at a loose end; these are the moments to get out your book and read a few pages.
In the evening, rather than watching TV, read. Only put the TV on for particular programs that you really want to see and then switch it back off when the program is finished. It may take some self-discipline at first but doing this will free up so much time and you will feel much better and more in control and that’s got to be worth something, right?
Please do leave a comment and let me know your own thoughts on this topic.
For more posts on the writing journey please visit www.sandrashannon.co.uk/blog