I’m not usually one for New Year’s resolutions, but a few years ago, on one of my Pinterest binges, I stumbled across an intriguing idea: write every day. The concept was based on this list of prompts which used just a word or a phrase for each day to trigger the creative juices. Since this goal gave me an excuse to buy yet another journal, I gave it a shot. I lasted about two months. But even though I didn’t make it through the year, I learned some valuable lessons about the writing journey.
1. Writing every day takes discipline. It faces stiff competition from the other priorities we juggle in our life, but to be a writer, we have to actually write. I know, mind-blowing, isn’t it? The key to achieving any resolution is to break it down into attainable goals. Perhaps you’re hoping to publish a book in 2018. Rather than say, “I will publish a book,” start small. Commit to write every day, or once a week, or whatever works for you, even if it’s just a paragraph. Once you’ve established a habit, maybe set some parameters: “I will write 500 words every week.” And then you might progress to, “I will finish four chapters by February.” Voila! December rolls around and you’ve written a book.
2. Writing every day helps you find your voice. Sometimes when my sister called our mom’s cell phone, I used to answer and try to trick her. It never worked. All I had to say was, “hello,” and Emily knew it was me, not our mom. Your writing should be as distinctive as your spoken voice. As you write more, you’ll develop your unique style and way of saying things.
3. Writing every day gives you lots of material. If you’re free-writing using prompts, you’ll be writing on a wide variety of topics. Though these may seem random now, you may find that they fit nicely into a future project. If you’re writing on a specific project, you’ll see more progress toward the bigger goal.
4. Writing every day breaks perfectionism. I’m the first to admit I’m a recovering perfectionist. I can still spend hours eking out a word count. When I took on the challenge of writing every day, I hand wrote in a journal. There’s something organic about picking up a real pen instead of typing on a computer. And without a delete key, I couldn’t constantly self-edit. Ink committed my writing to the page which gave my writing the freedom to flow.
So what are your writing goals? What story needs to be told this year? Go blaze a new trail in 2018!