The path to becoming a published author is full of twists and turns. No matter what stage of the writing process you are in or how busy your schedule is, you should always strive to get better and leave room for improvement. Below, author Aine Greaney talks about the importance of writing daily and strengthening your writing skills. She also discusses three qualities every writer should possess in order to succeed in the writing world. Start building your writing stamina now!
Have the Desire to Write
For a writer, desire means you want to write as much as you want anything else in your life. In your life’s bucket list, writing is listed among the top three.
I’ve met some writers who have chosen to live alone, who have eschewed romantic relationships in order to have a writer’s solitude.
For you, this may sound a little drastic—and certainly a high price to pay to be a writer. But overall, what I’m talking about here is the act of getting tough on yourself. If you really want to be a writer, you must do what it takes. If you want it badly enough, you will have to make real sacrifices and give up other things, other activities, wealth, or ego trips.
All life changes require behavior modification—a process by which you are going to stop one habit or activity (whining, pining, procrastinating) and start and maintain another habit (regular, sustained writing).
It’s such a grim old word, isn’t it? It conjures Dickensian punishments and town-square floggings. But self-discipline is key to writing. The simple fact is this: If you leave writing until “I feel like it,” or “I feel inspired,” or “I feel I have something significant to say,” then you will be doing just that—leaving writing.
In the cliché department, it’s an oldie but a goodie: Writing is half inspiration and half perspiration. It’s true. And it’s especially true for writers who are also holding down another career.
From making excuses about going to the gym to stealing that last chocolate-chip cookie, we are all capable of acting like five-year-olds. We’ll all push the envelope and spin our own excuses. Worse, we’ll even believe these excuses. Wag your finger at yourself. Become your own procrastination police.
Create a Daily Writing Habit
Some working nine-to-five writers will tell you that the workweek is simply too packed and exhausting to get any writing done. “I’ll just do it on the weekend,” they say. “I’ll devote the entire weekend to writing.” Sounds good, right? After all, you have two full, paid days to devote to your craft.
Hmmm … I’m going to way a finger here and act like your mother and say, “Do you really think that’s a good idea?”
First, I don’t believe those so-called weekend writers. Fine, they may not be actually sitting at their writing desks from Monday to Friday. But I’m going to be that they are, in some measure, visiting or revisiting their writing projects. As they drive to work or munch on their lunchtime sandwiches, they are imagining or reimagining that last scene they just wrote. Or they are taking time out to jot down lists of ideas, edits, and plot solutions. Then, come Saturday morning and their designated writing time, a portion of the work has already been done.
If you’re a beginner or even a beginner-to-intermediate writer, you need to write something—preferably a set, targeted amount—every day. By spending time—even if it’s just ten minutes—with your writing every day, you will:
- Give creative writing a higher ranking in your weekly and life priorities
- Develop and hone your skills with written language
- Build your writing stamina, confidence, and voice
This excerpt comes from Writer with a Day Job. To learn more about the book, you can watch a free online webinar with the author, Aine Greaney or read an excerpt from the book. Here are additional resources that can inspire and motivate you to write: