We’ve heard the bare-bones advice: Just get the writing done. Just do it. We’ve made the comparison about how being a writer is like being an athlete, about how we can have excuses why we don’t exercise and we have similar excuses about why we don’t write. We’ve joined writer’s groups (face-to-face and online), in order to have that accountability that is necessary in the writing process.
But let’s take a few steps back from joining a writing community. Let’s take a step back from “just doing it.” Some of us might have forgotten the first step, that most important step: Have you made the commitment to write?
This commitment step might seem implied to many of us, as writing is a part of our jobs. We are committed to keeping our jobs; therefore, we are committed to write. Right?
Uh, not so much.
Joining a gym in order to exercise can be a commitment. But if you have ever joined a local gym (paying good money in the process) and not attended a single class or workout session, or only sat in the swimming pool or the sauna, you have not committed to exercise. You have only committed to give your money to other people.
Have you made a commitment, a promise to yourself, to get writing done? If you are struggling with your writing, maybe you need to take this step.
- Write your Commitment. Mine looks like this, “I commit to writing 250 words each day. Those words might not be pretty or deep or profound, but I will write them.
- Identify a daily word limit. 50 words? 200 words? 2,000? You know yourself better than anyone. Set a limit you can feasibly reach. (My goal is usually 250 words a day. I don’t always make it, but I strive for that number.)
- Set aside a daily time for writing. Maybe it’s 5:30 in the morning, or 2:00 in the afternoon. You know your schedule. Allot time to write. (I write each afternoon after I’m done teaching.)
- Use creative words or phrases to get you started (if you have trouble starting the writing process). I literally pick a book off the shelf, a book I really like, open it at random, find a sentence, type that sentence onto my screen, then I start writing about that sentence.
How about you? What kind of commitment have you made to be successful in your writing? Please leave comments below.
[Image by Flickr user Billie Hara. Used under Creative Commons.]