“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
—Sylvia Plath

4 Ways to Write More in 2015

Welcome to 2015!

For me (and I imagine many of you, too), a new year means a new writing goal among my list of resolutions. One of the most common resolutions for writers is to simply get more words on the page.

write more

Photo by TempusVolat (Creative Commons). Adapted by The Write Practice.

How to Write More in 2015

To help you reach your writing resolutions in the new year, here are four of my favorite ways to write more:

1. Wake up earlier

This sounds awful, but I’m telling you … once it’s a habit, waking up early to write is seriously awesome.

I have been waking up at 5 a.m. for three years now, and I get my writing done before most people are out of bed. I’ve never been a morning person, but brew me a pot of coffee and give me a good reason, and sure, I can make it happen.

The best thing about writing in the morning is that no matter what else happens (or doesn’t) the rest of the day, you have the satisfaction of knowing you accomplished the thing most important to you.

2. Do the math

So you want to write a book this year? Cool. That’s 80,000 words, depending on your genre. Allow me a moment to do my English major’s attempt and math and… yes, that comes out to 220 words a day, or 1,538 a week.

All that’s left is to fulfill that word count each week. I know, you still have to do the actual getting-the-words-in part, but it’s amazing what a concrete goal can do for you.

3. Identify your unused time pockets

What time are you not using as well as you could? This one takes some thinking and sometimes a little creativity, but it’s worth it.

Do you take a bus or other public transportation to work? That’s called writing time. Or maybe you could start taking the bus. What do you do with your evenings? Could you watch one less sitcom and do thirty minutes of writing instead?

Be mindful of where your time goes, and you’ll find you have more writing time than you thought.

4. Unplug

Don’t get too attached to your computer—it’s holding you back. There’s many pockets of time you may not recognize as opportunities they are otherwise.

For example, waiting in lines. Why not pull out a notebook and scribble out the next bit of dialogue in your story? Or hey, even just a little daydreaming and help you jumpstart your next writing session. No keyboard? No problem.

These are only a few of many creative ways to get yourself writing more in the new year. Experiment with these and other tricks to figure out what works for you, and stick to it! Whatever your writing goals for 2015, you can reach them with persistence and a good set of support tactics.

Do you want to write more? What tricks do you use? Share your thoughts in the comments section. 

PRACTICE

What are your writing goals for 2015? But don’t stop there—let’s get practical. What will it take to meet those goals and to write more? What can you do to nab that extra time out of your days or weeks?

Write down your resolutions and how you’re going to make it happen, then share in the comments!

About Emily Wenstrom

By day, Emily Wenstrom, is the editor of short story website wordhaus, author social media coach, and freelance content marketing specialist. By early-early morning, she is E. J. Wenstrom, a sci-fi and fantasy author whose first novel Mud will release in March 2016.

  • Jennifer McGinnis

    My resolution is not to write a novel. Though I do intend to do that. My resolution is to come to know my world, the world I am creating and intend to write in for pretty much the rest of my life, as if it were my own world. To be as familiar with the history, legends, races, continents, people in power, people not in power, mythological creatures and beings, magical people, non-magical people, gods and goddesses, goals, dreams, economics, politics, cultural values for every culture – as if it were my own world. I am taking the hint from Steven Erikson and his buddy Cam, aka Esselmont, and LIVE IN my world. Maybe I’ll even create a game in the world. Or act like I am, so I know everything as deeply as if I were.

    But, in addition to that ongoing process, I resolve to finish a first draft of the first novel in this world. The story about Amanya and how she saves Dakarai and the world, almost by accident. And learns a great deal about herself in the process.

    How to reach that goal? Work on the maps in Photoshop, the history on Aeon Timeline (yahoo!) and the detailed descriptions of each culture on Scrivener. No, I get no kickbacks for mentioning any of these, but I use them daily. DAILY. That’s the plan. That’s the how. First Kazi, then the world!

    • Getting to know a world you’re creating is HUGE. And also so much fun. A great goal for the new year, good luck!

    • Colby Davidson

      That is awesome! You have inspired me to do the same with a similar project I’m working on called Edenia. Keep at it! You won’t regret this!

  • Frank Fusco

    One of my writing starters is to create poster art for chapters. I use Microsoft Word and insert either pictures or clipart onto the poster. I find the exercise juices up my imagination and enables me to think about possible what if scenarios for my characters.

  • Great post, Emily. For me, I need to add a 3a: Time WASTERS. I need to write first before I….check Facebook, answer just one, quick email, watch cute kitty videos, etc. Those tiny minutes add up. 🙂

    • Amy Topol

      I know the feeling! I have lost countless hours to Pinterest, though I have to admit I’ve gotten some great tips from there, too.

    • So true. Just stay away from those tempting Internets! I often just turn off my Internet completely when I’m writing to help remove the temptation.

      • Really, my 3a = your #4 UNPLUG. Sometimes, I turn off my internet, but I should do it during ALL my writing sessions. Thanks again for this important reminder to moi.

  • Amy Topol

    I wrote 75,000 words for NaNoWriMo this year so my goal is to edit that big pile of words and turn it into a clean draft. I’d like to get that done early because I have a second novel that I’ve got about 20,000 words into and really want to get a draft completed this year. I’m out of the word count mode and into the editing phase for now.

    • That’s fantastic, congratulations Amy. Goals can be great for while you edit too–I’ve used them to stay focused on particular issues in my manuscripts, and to keep me on a designated timeline. Good luck!

  • Sandra Nachlinger

    My goal is to find the elusive balance between staying visible online and writing. Seems like most of my days are spent leaving comments on blogs, responding to email messages, scrolling through Twitter, and playing catch-up on Facebook, etc., etc. I’ve started two novels and they’re both stuck about halfway through. I need to get those characters into more hot water!

  • Colby Davidson

    My only resolution was to read 50 books this year, and I
    finished The Catcher in the Rye the day after Christmas, so it’s down to 49 now
    and I’m working on Gatsby, Mockingbird, and Pride & Prejudice. A goal I
    have now, now that I’ve got Scrivener, is to write a novel about these
    characters and events and possibly a town called Ayrelby, FL, that I’ve had
    floating around my Google Drive and my mind for years. I’m going to accomplish
    this by using the awesome power of Scrivener to grow my book from my thoughts.
    Best wishes!

    • How ambitious! Sounds like you’re off to a good start.

  • Flora H. V. Adams

    My resolution was started early, without me knowing.
    I set aside all the projects I made last year, (like, shoved them away into the corner and forgot they existed,) and decided to focus on one. That was around Christmas.

    I went from 0 words a day (from the whole month of December) to over 1,000 in less than a week. *_*

    I’m also getting back into other writerly and artistic hobbies that I thought I’d never get back too. Communities, forums, reviewing other writers, sketching, drawing… Back in 2014, I thought I didn’t have the time for that because I was juggling 10 half baked projects. I do now, though.

    Now, my official resolution is to keep a project/activity journal that I write into by hand at the end of each day. (Or whenever I remember too.) That way, If I reach 500 words or more, I’ll let myself know. (And hopefully want to break my record the next day.)

    Really a fun practice. Good luck everybody!

  • maddi

    My resolution is to finish a novel I started early in 2014, the only problem is, I’m not sure if I still love the storyline

    • Oh no! Of course, I think many writers go through phases like that … I know I’ve hated my manuscript on occasion. The question that got me through is: What would make me NOT hate it? It made my story better every time. Silver lining?

      Good luck, Maddi!

  • Helaine Grenova

    I resolve to write every day. This writing may take the form of essays and homework, but I will write SOMETHING everyday. I know it will be hard since I am fairly lazy by nature, but writing will be accomplished.

  • Joel Orr

    I use a site called 750words.com. It’s free, and it encourages me to write at least 750 words every day. I’m using it now to write a semi-fictional memoir of my grandfather, and by the simple means of acknowledging my writing efforts, it keeps me going. Highly recommended.

  • Marsha Ingrao

    Great post, Emily. I like the way your website is set up also. I write about 800 words a day most days. It’s amazing how they accumulate. That doesn’t include comments to people. 🙂

  • I have three goals this year: read more, write more, show more. I have a feeling it’s going to be a good year! http://katharineannebrown.com/2014/12/30/happy-new-year/

  • Diane Turner

    Great post, Emily, on a subject all writers fret about. I plan to organize my foot-tall pile of notes into a cohesive outline. Looking at the pile makes me cringe. I will do this organization, undoubtedly, between 11 pm and 2 am each day.
    Thanks again for your post.

  • EndlessExposition

    I want to finish plotting my mystery novel. I recently constructed an “incident room” – i.e. an enormous piece of cork board – on which I can put up cards and post its and bits of string, and generally use as a visual aid as I put the pieces of the story together. It’ll be difficult to find time (now that break is over and I’ve been returned to purgatory, commonly known as “school”) but hopefully I can do it.

    • Helaine Grenova

      I certainly know what school is like while writing. That is my problem too. AP and Honors classes are literally kicking my butt and stealing my writing time. You can do it EndlessExposition! I have faith in you!

    • Jennifer McGinnis

      I’ve always wanted one of those boards, like they have in crime dramas. With the strings, and the newspaper articles, and the pictures, and the written questions or connection things. I’ve never had a mystery to solve, though. Some day, I will write a mystery just so I can have one of those boards. Of course, I have ADD so my brain already looks like one of those boards, but it would be so fun.

      Also fun would be one of those stalker books, with the newspaper clippings and photos of some subject I’m stalking. In my case, it wouldn’t be a person because that’s just creepy, but you know, some subject or something. A creative way to create a research project. They always look so cool (despite their chilling purposes in those crime dramas).

  • I’ve been thinking about just this question of finding more time for writing in light of the new year — one of the things that frustrated me last year was feeling that I could never find enough time for my writing. This year I’m thinking about how to carve out more writing time in my life. My strategy for the coming year isn’t set in stone (I’ll have to experiment and see what works), but I think my main inroads are going to be:

    1. unplugging more in the evenings to focus on my writing
    2. being more efficient/minimizing in other areas to free up more time for writing (more leftovers, less aimless interneting, more mindfulness)
    3. reclaiming some of my commute time for writing (I hate writing on buses, but I guess I’m ready to compromise…)

    • Jennifer McGinnis

      Less interneting! My new goal, and my new favorite word. 😀

  • Sarah Angel

    I’ve going to write more this year and I’ll definitely take some of these into account. I’m going to start reading less how to writing advice and actually sit my butt in the chair and write. I always have those golden moments when inspiration strikes right when I can’t write. I’m guessing it’s based on fear of the words coming out wrong. The thoughts are golden, the words not so much. So I’m going to make sure to write things down in those little moments and actually sit down and write (220 words a day sounds doable). 2015 is going to be a good productive year for me. I know it.

    I actually get some great ah-ha moments while I’m cooking so I grab my phone and start typing an email draft. I would write on my phone full time except it’s so slow and the thing autocorrects on me or the cursor moves to a random spot on the page. It’s not fun. I like how freeing writing on paper is. I get the words out way faster that way, but retyping all of that is such a pain (and I could be writing instead of typing!). I try to write on the computer, but it’s usually me staring at a blank page or just re-reading past parts, or just plain old internet distractions! It’s so slow!

    • Helaine Grenova

      Sarah, I have all of those same problems. My phone is not hi tech enough to really write with, and writing on paper only to retype always seems like a waste. However, may I suggest that you give something like Dragon Naturally Speaking a try? My parents gave me Dragon software for Christmas and it make writing much faster. The time it takes to read what I’ve written on paper is about a tenth of the time it would take if I retypes by hand the entire thing. Plus with Dragon I don’t have to be facing the computer which alleviates many of the distractions. I am not (intentionally) making a sales pitch for Dragon, but it sounds like something along those lines may help you.

      • Sarah Angel

        I haven’t used Dragon, but I once tried using a recorder so that I could “write” while I’m driving (again I get the best ideas when I can’t actually write), but I get really really embarrassed. I had to stop after the first sentence because I kept laughing at myself. It just doesn’t work for me. (Also since I don’t live alone this isn’t really a viable option.)

        • Helaine Grenova

          It is hard at first to get used to the sound of your own voice. If it doesn’t work for you then I’m sure you will find something that will work. Happy writing

    • Jennifer McGinnis

      Oh, I ALWAYS have those a-ha moments, usually in the shower. If I could write with my mind, I would be such a better writer!

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  • Last I starting waking up at 5:30am and it made a huge difference. I also write on a notepad during the day when i have snippets of time. I agree, these small changes make a big difference.

  • Great list and right on for me. I discovered last year getting up early works well when I am focused on a project. I write non fiction. I have learned I need to preplan what I am diving into that early in the morning. I try to do research and some outlining other times of the day so I can concentrate on what i am writing in the early mornings.

  • Great list! 🙂 I generally try to wake up earlier, because then I get the house to myself for a while before the rest of my family wakes up. I get a ton done when that happens. I also find that writing in a notebook rather than on the computer is more freeing for me. I’m less afraid of messing things up for some strange reason and just write. Ultimately I prefer my desktop, though, because I can write faster and keep up with my thoughts.

  • Darell Philip

    My goals are to read more and to keep a regular journal of my day and writing achievements. Also, after learning from my end of year blog review that I had posted 9 entries, I would like to post 12 entries this time (1 entry per month). Hopefully this will happen!

  • George McNeese

    One of my writing resolutions is to write five short stories. This is a challenge because I take a long time to write a 1500-2000 word piece as someone who writes an 80,000 word novel. I’m working on producing these pieces faster and learning to skip the fluff.

    My other writing resolution is to enter some stories to contests. There’s a blog I follow that posts different flash fiction and short story contests. I told myself that when I start a blog (another resolution), that I would start entering these contests. Not just this contests, but searching the web for local literary magazines accepting submissions. Joe Bunting said one of the best ways to become a better writer is to get published. I think he means that being published should be a push to do something better.

  • Identifying unused time pockets was a big win for me.

    Several weeks ago I started taking the bus to work.

    I’m married, with four kids, and work a full-time gig. Needless to say, creating the time in my life to write is difficult. This all changed when I started taking the bus to work. This small change in my commute now provides me with nearly two hours a day to write.

    My production is not the same everyday. (Some days it’s difficult to write if I’m smashed into a seat beside someone snoring like I was yesterday.) But on a weekly basis, I’m capable of writing anywhere from 7,000 to 10,000 words while the wheels on the bus go round and round.

    Cheers, Jesse

  • David Symonds

    Been doing #1 for a few months now and it works. Brain is much clearer in the AM and I feel like I’ve accomplished something before the day even starts.

  • Amy Morse

    Great tips, thanks. For me, it’s important to have a writing slot every day as part of my routine. Once it’s in your regular routine, pretty soon it becomes a habit.