I used to think that the idea of writing every day was impossible. Sure, other people were doing it. But to me, it seemed like something beyond my reach. I had no experience. My ability to focus was nothing to brag about. And I had never built any sort of creative habit that lasted longer than a few short weeks. And yet, I figured out how to write every day without burn out.
Sure, it took my many years of trial and error. But when I look back, the period in which I developed this habit was relatively short.
Perhaps 60 days at most.
Thereafter, it was smooth sailings.
But here’s the thing, I was nowhere near to being the kind of writer I wanted to be. At the same time, I was trying to juggle my studies, life and a part time job.
It was not easy but when I look back on it, the principles were simple.
Something that I share with most people is fear. Like you, perhaps, I was afraid of trying something new and daunting.
Over my head loomed a shadow of doubt and this unspoken expectation to meet a certain standard. I’ve carried that with me all my life.
And when I started blogging or writing, it wasn’t any different.
I was scared of being subpar. Ironically, that’s exactly what I was. My first few blog posts were absolutely horrendous.
I used texting lingo throughout my first blog. It was a mess. Whenever my ego gets the better of me, I revisit my first blog from many years ago and it humbles me. I was putrid.
But what you can take away from that story is that you don’t have to be good to build a habit. Isn’t that something we often ignore or fail to acknowledge?
Just because we have expectations or fears, doesn’t mean they have to impact the end result of the objective.
If your goal is to learn how to write every day, just learn. It doesn’t matter whether you master the art of writing. What actually matters is developing a routine in which your mind and body are in sync.
When it’s time to write, you drop or sacrifice whatever it is you’re doing and the work begins. More importantly, you stay the course and avoid leaving your computer or notebook until the words in your head have been transferred onto the screen or page.
Be that as it may, I’d like to share a list of tips and strategies I used to learn how to write everyday without burn out.
1. Write at the same time every day
Personally, I hate routine but my best work takes place when I follow a routine. What makes the process actually enjoyable is knowing that I accomplished my goals for the day.
Working from home has taught me the importance of being disciplined. It’s very easy to get distracted by mundane tasks that keep me busy. Being busy is often a fake way of being productive.
Rather than winging it and living at my own discretion, I designate a set time to write every single day.
I stopped focusing on word counts as well because that added another layer of stress and expectations on me that was not helping me to write every day.
The problem with writing a set amount of words every day is that you lose sight of what’s important if you fail to reach a certain word count.
What’s important is showing up.
Not many of us are capable of showing up every day, let alone writing large amounts of words that maintain a certain standard or quality.
When building a habit you want to reduce your standards to the bare minimum. The lazier you are, the simpler you must make it at first.
Don’t get me wrong, there is great value in pushing your limits and working hard. Sometimes I write close to 10 thousand words in a day. But, I had to start small in order to build the habit of writing every day before I could push myself to do difficult tasks associated with my new habit.
Find a specific block of time in your day to write and stick to it for the first 60 days. Even if it’s just 15 minutes in the morning before you head to work or 30 minutes at night before you head to sleep.
2. Research and study before you write
Part of burning out stems from the excessive output. When your brain is taxed and empty of ideas, you’re bound to hit writer’s block. But that can be avoided by feeding your brain with new information on a daily basis.
I run many blogs as the chief content creator which means that I have to write every day. Irrespective of how I feel, it is my job to write.
One thing we all know about jobs is that it can suck the joy out of your life if you don’t love what you do.
Thankfully, I love to write and that stems from falling in love with the process of creating content during the time I spent building this habit.
The only technique that has worked for me is reading and consuming other media around my work. Every other tip for overcoming writer’s block is just supplementary in nature.
I’ve written thousands of articles over the last decade and the only way I could have done that was by consuming a ton of content and media.
I’m an avid reader as well so it all plays very well into the process.
Here’s my exact research process.
- Make a list of all the questions surrounding the topic – Why, When, What, Where, Who And How?
- Research each question – visit articles, books, forums and videos.
- List each question as a headline and jot down all the key points underneath.
- Connect relevant information together like you would do in a spider diagram.
Try to do this the night before each writing session. By the time you wake up the next morning, you will be fresh and prime for writing.
A lot of the planning and researching tends to add format and structure to what you will write. So it provides you with a good idea of where and how to start as well as finish.
3. Focus on the first sentence
The greatest force in the world is momentum. It will carry you through tough times and it generates enough results to make the work feel easy.
The first sentence if often the hardest to write.
You probably step away from the screen or page because you see nothing on it, right? It’s easier to walk away from nothing than it is to walk away from something, irrespective of how small or little it may be.
The first sentence of any article or chapter should be fun, gripping and exciting.
That’s what they teach you in school. But, when building a habit, this isn’t of much significance. If anything, quality should not factor into the equation at all.
Just write something. Your first sentence is the only sentence that requires the most effort. If you can get through that, momentum will carry you forward.
One sentence at a time and you will find yourself making strides in no time.
Also, you can’t fail when the standard for building a habit is so low. Get through your first sentence and the rest will follow.
4. Write about anything
When I first started writing every day, I did it on a personal blog and it was so much fun. The research portion was minimal since what I wrote about was my life.
It’s incredibly easy to write every day when you focus on expressing yourself freely.
Start by writing about your:
- Daily life.
- Favorite memories or experiences.
- Frustrations and worries.
- Dreams and aspirations.
- Opinions and criticisms.
- Family and friends.
- Studies or career.
I did this for a few months and I actually fell in love with the habit of writing every day because it became an outlet for my thoughts and feelings.
Self expression in any format can make you happy and content. Which is why you can write every day without burnout because it actually facilitates peace of mind.
5. Set a goal
Speaking of momentum, we often thrive and avoid quitting when we have a definite goal to work towards.
Start by setting a goal of writing for specific number of days. Alternately, you can set a goal of writing a specific amount of words per day or week.
What’s important is visual reminders and progress updates to remind your brain that you are making progress.
Seeing frequent updates to your progress chart will keep you dialed into your goal and more invested in the outcome.
Tip of the day: Set an achievable goal per day based on your experience level to avoid overextending yourself.
6. Be consistent
No amount of talent can beat someone who consistently puts in the work with a desire to get better.
What I particularly like about the mindset of consistency is that it doesn’t rely on motivation or talent. Instead, you thrive on momentum and effort.
Much like how I advised you to focus your attention on writing the first sentence, the same principle can be applied to consistency.
Don’t worry about yesterday or tomorrow. Your sole focus is to simply write today. Even if you are far off from hitting your goal or just getting started, center your focus on the present and it will make it easier to drop what you’re doing to write.
From personal experience, I can say with certainty that consistency becomes second nature to you the more frequently you practice.
It get’s easier and easier.
By the time you reach day 10, you’ll be on an awesome winning streak and the initial resistance you experiences will diminish.
7. Eliminate distractions
Sometimes, the act or habit itself isn’t all that hard for you but the constant distractions and attention-grabbing activities prevent you from building habits.
I have always struggled with focusing on one thing for more than a few minutes. Perhaps I’m an undiagnosed ADHD case but it has been a struggle since I can remember.
To this day, it’s still a problem.
However, what helps me maintain focus is isolating myself when I need to write. I remove any and all distractions from my surroundings.
It’s like I box myself into a cave to write but it works.
My phone is on airplane mode, my WiFi is turned off, I have a separate user account on my laptop with no media and I sit in a quiet room.
Try doing the same thing. If you don’t have a problem with music, perhaps some instrumental music could help you stay focused.
I’m so excited for you to write every day
Writing is one of the few habits that is not only fun but extremely therapeutic long term. And I guarantee that if you have any inclination towards the craft, you will fall inlove with it the more you practice.
I hope that by now, you have a better understanding and idea of how to write every day.
Feel free to drop a comment below and I’ll do my best to help with any problem you might have.
I’ll catch you in the next one.