Consistent writing is key for writers to complete first drafts and continue through the editing and publishing phases. But before you dive right in to the mindset you need to become a less-stressed consistent writer, you must understand what consistent writing is and why it’s so important to your long-term writing goals.
What is Consistent Writing?
Consistent writing means a lot of things, as it means something different for every writer. As it should. Just as there is no right way to write a book, there is no right way to be a consistent writer.
For one writer, it might mean writing 500 words every day. While for a busy parent, it might mean waking up before Sunday morning cartoons and knocking out a few thousand words before the kids wake up.
What your goal and writing routine are matters less than actually sitting down and accomplishing them.
Writing used to cause me a lot of stress and after deep analysis of myself, I started to understand that it was because I was putting too many projects on my plate at once. At one point, I had over ten active manuscripts and I couldn’t finish one.
In my opinion, in my, personal definition, that is not being a consistent writer. That was not the goal I had in mind when I set out to write a book.
Now, Writer, I am not saying you should nix every project—they’re all near and dear to our hearts—but always focus on one main project and set others as incentives as you work through your main project’s writing process.
Why is it Important?
Whether it’s 10,000 words a week or 500 words a week, consistent writing is what will help you finally publish your book. Being a consistent writer is what will push you passed the outlining and writing phases into the editing phase, and beyond.
It is not about how much you’re writing. It’s about how consistently you’re showing up.
For example, starting a blog or building an email list or a social media presence is hard. But showing up and posting consistently will help you slowly build the foundation on which the house can be built.
The Key to Consistent Writing
There’s a quote from a comedian that goes: “The only time you look in your neighbor’s bowl is to make sure that they have enough. You don’t look in your neighbor’s bowl to see if you have as much as them.”
While I take away a few things from this quote, the writer in me takes one simple lesson in the toxic behavior that is comparing yourself to others, which is a behavior all too common in the writing community.
The key to consistent writing is remarkably simple, but it’s also a writer’s greatest struggle: Only compare yourself to yourself. Never to others.
No one writes flawless first drafts. Some writers will never write a book in a single month. Some writers will rewrite their stories a dozen times before they even start to like it. There is no right way to be a writer, no right way to earn a living from your writing. The only thing you need to figure out is the right way for you.
Understand that exceptional writing is a craft and develops over time, practice, and an insane amount of patience. It isn’t something you can master in a week or after writing one book.
In fact, your goal should never be to master writing. You’ll find it a quote impossible feat.
When you’re getting down because you aren’t hitting your goals, take a moment to reflect on why you aren’t hitting your goals. Did you get swamped with a hefty work project that leaves you tired at the end of the day? Are your goals too lofty for the writing time you have available?
Instead of focusing on what you aren’t doing. Focus your energy on what you can do, which is to acknowledge what isn’t working and change your habits to better reflect your goals. What habits can you change to become a consistent writer?
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