How I Learned to Write Every Day (and yes, you can, too!)
If you've been hanging around She's Novel for a while now, you probably know a bit about my writing story.
I didn't fall in love with writing until I completed a fiction assignment in elementary school. My new passion sparked, I then wrote a plethora of unfinished cheesy romances over the years. But my love of writing dwindled as I headed into the overwhelming chaos that was high school.
It wasn't until my junior year that I came up with a story idea that set my set passion ablaze once more. And let me tell you, this story consumed me. I spent the majority of senior year exploring and expanding my story idea, building a fantasy world, and researching all things medieval. Then, in the summer of 2013, I began to write my story.
Despite all of my daydreaming and research, I still didn't have a plot outline. But I wrote anyway, pumping out about 50,000 words of a young adult, solo POV version of what would later become The Dark Between. It was a hot mess.
Fall of 2013 saw me working full-time and taking five college courses, so my productivity quickly dropped off. In what little free time I had, I believed myself too tired to write and instead daydreamed about my fantasy world. Because of the new ideas I dreamed up, my story evolved into a new adult, multi-POV version that was vastly different from the story I already knew.
It wasn't until fall of 2014 that I finally took writing seriously again.
In November, I took part in NaNoWriMo and wrote 50,000 words of this new version of my story. And I loved it! It had its problems, of course, but this time around I felt as though the story had major potential.
But after NaNoWriMo, my daily writing routine lost its mojo once again, and I fell back into poor habits (binge-writing, anyone?). I knew I needed to step up my game, especially since I was planning to launch a website where I doled out writing advice (hello, She's Novel!).
I didn't want to be a phony, but I felt overwhelmed by my writing doubts and didn't have a clue how to overcome them.
Finally, in February of 2015, I discovered the Writember Workshop. This course boasted it could teach you how to form a daily writing habit, something I didn't think possible. Still, I was intrigued and terribly desperate to get on top of my writing game, so I signed myself up for the March class. It's a choice I haven't once regretted.
The Writember Workshop
Created by Faye Kirwin of Writerology, the Writember Workshop is a 30 day class that teaches writers how to build the ultimate writing routine, master self-discipline, find their motivation triggers, and inspire themselves on demand.
The workshop comes in two forms: The Guided Workbook and The Ultimate Accountability e-Course. Here is a quick summary of what each entails:
• The Guided Workbook. The Writember Workshop e-book is a 274 page downloadable workbook that contains 32 lessons and accompanying worksheets. When you purchase the book, you also gain access to the exclusive Writember Twitter and Facebook communities so that you can interact with other Writember course members.
• The Ultimate Accountability e-Course. The Writember Workshop e-course contains 32 lessons and worksheets delivered directly to your inbox every day. With this package, you will also receive unlimited one-on-one coaching sessions with Faye throughout the duration of the course, a free copy of the Writember Workshop e-book, and access to the exclusive Twitter and Facebook communities.
I personally took part in the Ultimate Accountability e-Course, and I cannot stress how much I learned from the fantastic lessons provided. Faye puts her psychology degree to good use as she teaches you how to merge the science of psychology with the art of storytelling to send your writing productivity skyrocketing.
Writember encourages authors to keep a Write Chain to maintain their daily writing habit. For every day you write, you add a new link to your chain. Miss a day and your chain is broken, leaving you to start from zero.
Using this motivation technique, I have now written every day for over 175 days straight (Update 7/13: Make that 502 days straight–for real!). Crazy, right? And guess what? You can, too!
Maintaining a Daily Writing Habit
Now, don't roll your eyes at me. I know life can be crazy chaotic. Work and personal responsibilities can overwhelm you, spelling doom for your writing routine. Believe me, I've been there! I understand how stressful this can be.
But despite all that life throws your way, you really can keep up a daily writing habit. It may sound insane, but the Writember Workshop teaches you everything you need to know to start building your Write Chain today.
To give you a small glimpse of what the program includes, here are ten tips and tricks I learned directly from the Writember Workshop:
1. Find your creative times. Everyone has creative peaks throughout their day. I am the most creative during the early morning hours or very late at night, when my mind is in a dreamy sort of state. Others might be most creative after a long walk or during a break from their tedious day job.
Find your own creative peaks and use those times to do a little writing. You'll be amazed at how smoothly the words flow.
2. Find your writing space. Everyone needs a writing space that works for them. I personally have a hard time writing in the living room because I want to turn on the television, but writing at my desk or in my bed doesn't bother me.
Your own writing space should be clean and organized, and all of your writing resources should be easily accessible. Try to choose a place with minimal distractions, comfortable surroundings, and enough space to lay out all of your work.
Finding this writing space will help you maximize your productivity while you write.
3. Stay inspired. While the muses don't always come freely, there are some ways that you can keep yourself inspired so that you can push past writer's block and put your best work forward.While every writer's preferred sources of inspiration will vary, my personal favorites are as follows:
1. Pinterest. I love using Pinterest for inspiration. I keep boards for each of my main characters, as well as for the different realms and races of my fantasy world.
2. Playlists. Music is also hugely inspirational, and I keep several playlists handy. One playlist is full of pop music to get me pumped up to write, another is a list of folk music with beautiful lyrics to awaken my creative side, and my last is a playlist of songs that directly relate to my novel.
3. Writing prompts. While I don't often write stories unrelated to my novel, I do find that reading over writing prompts gives me new ideas about what I can do with my story. This is especially helpful when I'm having trouble moving my plot forward.
4. Stop making excuses and write. If you truly want to write a book, you simply have to sit down and write. There are always excuses to be made, but good writers push these excuses aside and get to work.
Don't get me wrong; you aren't a bad writer if you don't feel like writing on a particular day. I can actually be quite the lazy person, and somedays I struggle to achieve my daily writing goal. But making writing a daily habit despite excuses is what separates the amateurs from those who find success.
5. Dream big, work small. Writing a novel is a massive task that can takes months or even years to complete. If you sit down to write with your entire novel in mind, you may find yourself so overwhelmed by the task that you get little work done.
That is why you must dream big but work small.
During your daily writing time, focus on completing just a few paragraphs that will move your plot forward. Before you move on to your other responsibilities, consider what few paragraphs you will write the next day.
This will greatly alleviate the stress that comes with being a novelist. Repeat this day after day and you'll have a completed manuscript in your hands before you know it.
"You don't have to write a lot. Just write often, and it'll add up to a lot."
– Faye Kirwin, Writerology.net
6. Set a sustainable goal. While ambition is a healthy motivator, setting too high of a daily goal will actually stress you out. In order to maintain a healthy Write Chain, pick a daily writing goal that you can achieve on even your busiest of days.
Remember, you can always write more than your daily goal, but you can't write less.
My personal daily writing goal is only 200 words. This usually takes no more than ten or fifteen minutes to complete, so this goal is perfect for those days when I'm bone-tired or too overwhelmed to write page after page.
7. Set reminders to write. Keeping a Write Chain can be difficult, especially when life is at its most chaotic. While unforeseen circumstances may cause you to break your Write Chain, don't let it happen because you simply forgot to write.
Set yourself a daily reminder! My personal reminder is a task checkbox in my daily planner. I always look at my planner before bed, so if I don't have that box checked off then I will be reminded to write before I go to sleep.
8. Focus on the end goal. Earlier we talked about how focusing on writing an entire novel may prove to be overwhelming. But did you know that thinking about your end goal when you feel uninspired can actually boost your energy?
Thinking about your novel as a whole should remind you of why you fell in love with your story in the first place, thus renewing your passion for the project.
9. Try out micro-fiction. If you're struggling to reach your daily writing goal, consider ditching your novel for the day and writing a bit of micro-fiction.
Micro-fiction, sometimes called flash fiction, is writing that is less than 1,000 words in length. It can even be as short as a single sentence! To write your own micro-fiction, find a writing prompt on Twitter or Pinterest and get to work.
Taking a break from your novel can actually help you in many ways. Micro-fiction can serve to expand and improve your writing skills, introduce you to new genres, and even help you through writer's block by giving you new story ideas.
10. Reward yourself. Keeping a Write Chain is tough work! Every time you reach a new milestone, such as writing every day for a month or achieving your first 50 links, reward yourself for a job well done.
And don't forget to set a new reward for your next milestone. Knowing that you won't receive that reward unless you complete your goal will encourage you to write each and every day.
The Writember Workshop has honestly transformed my writing life. Without it, I'm pretty sure I would still be writing my first draft, but thanks to Faye's amazing program, I'm now 60,000 words into the second draft of The Dark Between. And I have no plans of slowing down anytime soon.
Interested in starting your own Write Chain today?
Click here take the full Ultimate Accountability e-Course or click here if you'd prefer to take the course via the self-paced workbook. You are also welcome to email Faye or me anytime if you'd like to know more about how writing every day has changed our lives.
Will you take part in the Writember Workshop and join the Write Chain community? If you still aren't sure if Writember is right for you, click here to check out the #WriteChain feed on Twitter. There is some incredibly amazing and inspiring stuff going on there!