I consider myself a writer. But there are a lot of days on which I don’t write anything more than a post on Facebook. Then there are days when I spend hours pecking away at the keyboard. But overall, I would love to write more, not less.
We all know some writers who are really disciplined. For example, Stephen King writes 2,000 words a day every day without fail. Why can’t I do this? What’s keeping me from writing? What’s keeping you from writing more?
You Can’t Find the Time
Whether it’s exercising or writing a novel, the most popular excuse is probably that you just don’t have the time to get it all done. I hear you. I have four kids. Two of them are homeschooled; one of them is still in diapers. I work part-time from home as much as I possibly can as a content writer. There is never enough time.
But the truth is that everyone has twenty-four hours in a day. No more, no less. And what you get done in that time period is up to you.
Of course, we have to meet our obligations. We have to pay the bills and shop for groceries. But we can accomplish our other goals, too, as long as we make them a priority. And maybe you can’t train for a marathon, write a novel, and start a new business at the same time. But having one major goal that’s not part of your daily obligations is definitely doable.
You’re Afraid of Failure
Nobody wants to fail. Everyone wants to succeed and be good at what they do. But we don’t become the best at something without practice. If you were afraid of failure when you were little, you would never have learned how to walk. It would have seemed entirely too difficult to be worth all that effort.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be a child again to conquer your fear of failure. But you have to be willing to step a little outside of your comfort zone.
How to Overcome the Obstacles and Write More
For many writers, writing is something they have to do. When I was a teenager, I wrote stories all the time. Then I was told to study hard and get a real job. I didn’t write for ten years. By the time I started my first nonfiction book and a novel, I was pregnant with my third child. What made me start writing again?
There were probably several reasons for my rediscovery of writing. I found a job with a content mill, which was work I could do from home and perfect for a stay-at-home mother. Then I decided to give birth unassisted.
And while I was learning everything I needed to know about pregnancy and childbirth, I felt the need to share my experience with others. So I wrote a book about unassisted childbirth. In the same year, I published a novel, which admittedly, is not my best work.
Since then, I’ve written a few other nonfiction books. I have one novel in the final editing phase. And I can’t picture a long stretch of time where I would stop writing again. But I still don’t write as much as I want to. The novel I’m currently working on has taken me almost a year. And it’s not good enough yet.
So what would it take for me and you to meet our writing goals?
First, You Have to Set a Writing Goal
If you want to finish a novel, write a nonfiction book, or publish a series of articles, you have to have goals. What are your writing goals for this year, this month, and this week? Without goals, you don’t have any idea where you’re going. You’re just floating around, and you will never feel like you’ve done enough.
So you should figure out the deadline for getting the first draft done. From there, you can calculate how many words you need to write each week (you can find the novel word counts publisher’s expect here). Put your word count goal up in writing. Set a reminder on your phone. Put it on your fridge, or tape it to your partner’s forehead. Whatever it takes to get it done, you need to keep that goal visually accessible, so you can celebrate your successes.
Use a Strategy to Overcome the Obstacles
If you don’t have the time to write, then you need to schedule time. Find a babysitter, take turns with bedtime routine with your partner, cut down on working overtime, or order your groceries online. Get up an hour earlier, stop watching TV, and instead of reading a book, write your own.
If time isn’t really the problem, then your strategy might look different. If you’re worried that your writing sucks, then maybe you should hire an editor to review a small piece of your work. You could also take a writing class.
Do the Important Things First
You have to do the important things first. The kitchen will get cleaned eventually, because it has to get done. But your book can’t wait. So before you do anything else, meet your word count goals.
Writing in the morning is almost as beneficial as exercising in the morning. You’ll feel accomplished and energized while everyone else is still hitting the snooze button. And who knows, maybe you’ll go for a run, too?
What keeps you from meeting your writing goals? Share your answer in the comments.
After you look at what keeps you from writing and what you would like to get accomplished this year (month, week), spend the next fifteen minutes making progress on your current goal. If it’s time to outline a new novel, do that. If you need to finish a chapter you’re working on, that’s your project. Write for fifteen minutes and share your work in the comments section.
And if you share, please be sure to give feedback to a few other writers.