You’ve heard the stories about the most productive and prolific writers. They sit down at their desk on a schedule—five or seven days per week at the same time. Then they knock out a predictable number of pages or words every single time.
No excuses. No procrastination. No distraction.
To succeed as a writer, you, too, have to write consistently.
How do you make that happen? Focus on mastering your psychology, physiology, productivity, influence, and purpose. In the process, you will dramatically improve your writing performance and consistency.
Let’s take a quick look at one of these areas and how it relates to your writing career.
Your mind provides a powerful tool. Train it on the thoughts and beliefs that serve you. If your mind is filled with negative thoughts and limiting beliefs related to writing, though, you’ll have a difficult time creating a consistent writing practice (let alone a writing career).
Mastering your psychology means learning to focus your thoughts on what you want (not on what you don’t want) and changing limiting beliefs to unlimited ones. Your mind then supports your efforts to succeed as a writer.
Additionally, mastering your psychology means learning to keep your mind trained on the job at hand—writing. Learn to keep distractions at bay and avoid procrastinating.
Implement a deadline so you feel urgency around writing consistently and productively. And keep your readers in mind to create necessity around your project; your audience needs or wants your book now … not in two years.
How you treat your body affects every area of your performance, including your ability to write consistently. If you don’t feel strong, energetic, alert, and flexible, you won’t have the stamina to write for long enough periods to achieve your goals. Nor will you be able to focus on your work.
Too many writers put health on the back burner because they don’t think they have the time to write and exercise. However, when you make exercise, healthy eating, and sleep a priority, you function at your best. Your body and brain can do the tasks required of them.
The brain is a writer’s most important tool. It needs water and oxygen to function. So, at the very least, get up from your chair every hour and stretch, breathe, and drink water.
To show up at the computer ready to write every day, get eight hours of sleep every night. And move your body—exercise—for 15 minutes minimum every day to avoid circulation, back, neck, and hand or arm issues caused by being at the computer for long periods. Or add exercise to your hourly breaks.
Productive writers earn more money because they churn out more work. The more productive you are as a writer—the more you get done in less time—the higher your earning potential.
Productive writers also produce more books, articles, and blog posts. Their productivity equates to prolificity. They are prolific because they know how to stay focused and present. They avoid distraction and procrastination and work diligently toward their goals.
Also, productive writers have time for their passion projects. They aren’t stuck writing to get paid. If you structure your time, handle priorities first, and focus your attention in the time you have, you gain the ability to work on writing projects that interest you most. And you get the ability to serve your target market in a larger way.
Productivity, in other words, is freedom. If you write in the time you block for writing, the rest of your day is yours to do what you like—or to handle other responsibilities. The more you procrastinate or allow distractions to take you away from writing, the more stressed you will feel by your writing work and the less free time you have for other things.
Productivity also relies on presence. Your ability to be present while you write dictates your outcome. Become conscious, aware, interested, and focused, and you write productively and consistently. Remain in the now (not the past or future); you will complete your projects more efficiently and produce higher quality writing.
Eliminate distractions! Stop procrastinating! To do this, stay away from your email inbox, social media, and phone while writing. You may need to shut the door to your office, turn off the phone, or even get away from the house to write. Whatever it takes, do it.
While writers are told to become influencers in their target markets, writing consistently requires that you influence yourself first and foremost. You have to make yourself sit down at your desk and write.
Think about it: If you can’t influence yourself to write every day, how will you influence your readers to buy your book? Be influential with yourself first, and your readers second.
Writers are positive role models for their readers as well. That makes you a leader. You can inspire or help people just by being you—and by consistently publishing your work.
You need influence to land assignments, interviews, blurbs, literary representation, publishing contracts, and forewords for your work as well as to build an author platform. In fact, influence is an essential element in successful authorship.
What habits do you need to write consistently? Influence yourself to start these behaviors and make them habitual. How can you lead your flock? Think of yourself and show up as a role model and leader.
The reason why you write—your purpose—impacts your ability to write consistently. When you know your Big Why, your reason for writing drives you to achieve your writing goals.
Revolve all your writing actions and decisions around fulfilling your purpose. As you decide what to do each day, ask yourself, “Will this help me fulfill my purpose as a writer?” If not, don’t do it or do it later. Write first.
By remaining “on purpose,” you make writing a priority. And that means you write consistently.
Keeping your purpose at the forefront of your mind keeps you writing consistently. Plus, your purpose makes it easier to perform necessary but unwanted tasks, like social media, speaking, or marketing your book. When you are keenly aware that doing so moves you closer to fulfilling your mission, you feel compelled to take action. In the process, you fulfill your purpose and produce written work consistently.
Write out your purpose. Put it near your computer. Read it every time you sit down to write. This reminder will provide the internal push to write consistently.
On a scale of one to 10 (with 10 being the highest), how do you rate yourself in these six areas of high performance? If you don’t score a nine or 10 in each area, it’s time to level up! Find ways to improve your ranking in each area even a little bit, and you’ll find your writing perforce and consistency increasing as well.