Often, the advice ‘write everyday’ is touted about by just about every source of writing advice. It sounds like a sound idea, after all, a few minutes of doing something every single day adds up to a lot of work done at the end of a week, or a month or even a year.
The problem is, writing everyday is not something that works a hundred percent of the time. Or even seventy-five percent of the time. Maybe not even fifty percent. If you do a quick search on it, you’ll probably find numerous posts from other writers about how much writing everyday doesn’t work. About how following that can actually make you sick of writing.
Writing every day does not make you a writer. Committing to your writing however, does.
Commitment to writing looks different for every writer, much like the process of writing itself looks different for every writer. For some of us, that might mean keeping a notepad close by for when an idea strikes us while we’re trying to change the baby and answer an urgent phone call at the same time. For others, it means setting aside an hour or so and doing research on this or that topic. And yes, for a few of us, it does mean writing every single day.
Commitment also means not letting excuses stop us. It’s much easier to say ‘I want to write a book’ than to actual write the book. Things such as careers, families, illness and so many other reasons get in the way without counting the daily distractions of the internet, the nearby coffee shop or catching the latest episode of our favorite show.
So how do you commit to writing if you’re not writing everyday? The answer is simple:
Set a specific goal.
Maybe that’s writing x amount of words in a week, or finally sitting down this month and figuring out how to use that pesky semicolon. And the best part is, you don’t have to make that goal, as long as you try for it. If you don’t make it, try again next week or next month or tomorrow. And when you meet that goal, set another. And then another. And another. And one more after that.
By making writing a goal you get the well-earned sense of accomplishment that makes it easier to keep coming back to writing, even when things get in the way and you just don’t have the ability or the option to write every day.
Keep your commitment goals specific. Vague goals like ‘write a book’ don’t work because it sets your sights too far ahead. There’s no measurable amount of progress to see how close you can get. Setting a word, page, or time based goal lets you see exactly how close you got to that goal and gives you a personal best to beat the next time you try.
While writing everyday may not work for everyone, committing to your writing will. You just have to find what sort of commitment works best for you and your process.