I ran a 30-day writing challenge for my meetup group recently, and though I missed one or two days a week, I roughly doubled my writing output for the month. Naturally I wanted to keep going, but without the challenge, I needed to create some structure. We all know that the hardest part of writing is starting. I wrote this memo to myself to remember all the “props” I can use for writing consistently. What helps you kickstart your writing day?
Memo to self: Do my daily write!
It’s 8 am, time for my daily writing session. As is often the case, my mind is not really cranking yet. Fortunately, I have a system for getting started, consisting of several tools and methods that rev up my writing engine on command. Here is what I find:
1. My journal where I do longhand freewriting to get my brain going every day. Reading some paragraphs I’ve already written, in the style that my thoughts usually flow, is a surefire way to get into my writing groove.
2. My favorite sonic environment, whether music or nature sounds, on my computer or music player to create the perfect ambiance while I’m writing.
3. My bulletin board above my desk that has positive affirmations, mottos, and pictures of things that inspire me and make me smile.
4. A file system where ideas are just a touch or click away: in a folder on my desk with articles and notes I’ve saved; in computer files and emails to myself when I’m reading online; or in a notes app on my phone.
5. Templates on my computer that have headings for the structure of various forms of writing, like blog posts, chapters, articles and essays. My favorite fonts and styles are saved in the templates with keyboard shortcuts. I know that I benefit from writing with formatting even if the writing will eventually be digital.
6. My calendar that shows I’ve been writing every day this week so far. I can’t break the chain. I must write or edit at least two pages. I have a minimum unit of writing, but I can always keep going.
7. A timer already set to how long I do my average writing session, which is 45 minutes to an hour. After I finish the session, I reward myself with a quick break for a walk or tea.
8. Although I keep a flexible schedule, I have alerts on my phone to remind me to do my daily writing sessions. I put aside all distractions and open my notebook or laptop when I hear the alerts go off.
9. Lastly, my bedtime is 10 pm, so I can be up by 6, dressed, exercised, and ready to start freewriting at 8 am to plan my writing day. I know that with this daily writing plan in place, tomorrow’s writing will begin with ease and generate consistent results day after day.
I hope you found these tips helpful! My book on kindle also has advice on self-motivation you might find useful, Write for Success: 7 Ways Writing Can Help You Be More Successful in Your Work and Life.