Day 5/90 — Writing every day doesn’t have to be hard
“How do you do it?”, my friends often ask me when I finally make it to a dinner after not showing my face for several weeks.
“How do you write all this stuff?”
I usually shrug it off. Writing is such a natural process for me, I barely notice how much I type out each and every day — including the weekends. After challenging myself last summer to write one poem per day, I had to become more effective. Now that I’m also challenging myself to write one article on Medium every day for 90 days, I figured it would be a good time to share my practice.
You might not like this article at all. I won’t share any secrets. I will most likely just remind you to do what you already know. Here it goes.
Get a bunch of small notebooks.
Get a bunch of small, cheap notebooks and pens to throw in all of your bags, coats, put one by the bed, one next to the tub, and several in the living room. If you’re more digital, make sure you find some app to write ideas and thoughts down. Anything works. Just make sure you have the material to make note taking and idea saving a habit.
Write everything down that could be of value.
I write down words I hear or read and like. I write down ideas and thoughts, things I observe. Sometimes, I write down dreams or parts of conversations. I try to take notes on everything that could create or enrich a story.
This sounds a lot easier than it is. But if you just force yourself to take notes for a few days, it may become a habit quite quickly. I recommend starting with this practice on a weekend or on vacation to make sure the process of taking notes doesn’t become associated with stress.
Hold on to the first and the last.
What’s the last thought you remember before falling asleep? Is it the first thought you have as you wake up? If the answer is yes (for me it often is), that’s what you should be writing about that day.
So what if that thought is a problem at work?
You’d be surprised what great poems have sprung from things that were bothering me at work. Many job-related issues can be translated into stories, narratives, or inspire you to write an article about your experience and how to improve it. For example, I wrote this article about working remotely.
Lets be real: some days you just don’t feel very inspired. Thoughts come and go and nothing seems significant enough o write about it. That’s when I do something I refer to as borrowing inspiration.
Borrowing inspiration is my personal term for reading.
Yes, I read a lot. While reading has many advantages, like for example improving vocabulary or grammar, it also has the ultimate advantage of presenting you with other people’s ideas, perspectives, opinions, and stories. I always find inspiration while reading. It could be a sentence, a term, or just a thought sparked from the text. There’s always a thought to borrow.
Make space in your head. Ever since I started deliberately taking some minutes of may day as downtime, my writing has improved dramatically. You don’t have to meditate. Taking a bath, going for a brisk walk, or any other brain-soothing activity will do.
Tip: Have your notebook close during downtime. My best ideas come to me during those minutes. It’s relaxing to know you can write them down right when you’re done.
Schedule time for writing.
I schedule small time slots for writing as parts of my weekly routine. Sometimes I don’t use them, as I find time otherwise, but it’s good to have time scheduled anyway. The idea of having to write something that same day without the reassurance of having time for that can be very stress-inducing. By having recurring writing time scheduled, you easily avoid this.
Write when it comes easy.
Some people write best in the morning, others can’t achieve flow until late in the evening. It’s important to find what works for you and try to write during those hours as often as possible.
Let your writing sit over night.
This is my ultimate writing tip. Never publish anything you’ve written the same day. Let it sit over night, then look at it with fresh eyes the next day. Often, I’m able to vastly improve something just by taking some time off it. I very much recommend trying this out — even though it means, that if you publish something every day, you need to be a day ahead of schedule.
The above steps are pretty much all the steps I follow on a regular basis to maintain my daily writing and publishing schedule. They make it feel less like a burden and let me appreciate the flow of meaningful output.
What works for you?
Want to contribute to shared and done?
Send in your submission via medium or email me.
This is day 5 of 90 days that I will be sharing something I’ve learned here in this publication. Don’t miss it.