A lot of what actually gets a book done is writing consistently. Turning up at the page daily and getting words onto it is a big ‘must do’ if you want a book to your name. Writing weekly is less effective as it will take you longer to get going each time and you will stop writing sooner than if you turn up daily. If you don’t find that writing comes naturally to you, this may be an horrific idea so you may want to build your writing up gradually. It might also help you to plan what you are going to write so you don’t arrive at the page with a blank mind.
Blog it out
If developing your writing habit by writing your book feels too daunting, you might want to start by blogging instead. If, like me, you feel moved to commit to a period of blogging it will help you to develop that habit faster.
I have recently committed to 365 blog posts – i.e. one blog post a day for a year – but this is a big commitment (and I have to tell you that on day 65 I am worried about what else I am going to find write about in the next 300 days!). Other, less daunting blogging periods you can opt for are 30, 60 or 100. If you are clever, you can write a lot of reusable content or even create a book from you blogging content when you are finished, and just think how much content you will have for your website when you are finished.
If blogging feels like too much work, you could begin by writing a diary or by recording your thoughts and ideas. Although you will not be publishing this writing, it still counts. Famously, Julia Cameron recommends writing three pages of A4 or Foolscap each morning on waking – they are aptly called the Morning Pages. This is non-stop stream-of-consciousness writing that gets your thoughts out of your head. The purpose is two-fold: it gets you to write consistently, and it helps you overcome your creative blocks. Take a look at Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way if you want to find out more.
If Morning Pages don’t appeal, you can simply write a journal or diary of your thoughts. You can write long-hand or in Word or in a tool like Evernote – it doesn’t matter. Just choose a method you enjoy and that is easy for you.
However, you choose to write, commit to doing it for at least 30 days because this will help you develop it into a habit and what matters is the habit. The words you write may not be very important (unless you’re blogging or writing articles, of course) it’s getting fluid and into a state of flow as you write that are both important factors.
If you can develop the habit of sitting down to write daily (no matter when, where or how), whether that means writing your book, an article or a blog post, you will begin to feel like a writer. More importantly, you will start to develop your unique writing ‘voice’ and this will make writing much more comfortable and natural. So get a new habit, develop the writing habit.
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