How do we cultivate a state of readiness for writing, even when the doorbell announces guests or our least favorite aunt descends upon us for the weekend? Below are some of the ways I’ve learned to write regularly, no matter what else is going on in my life. These are just my ways; please feel free to share your habits and advice on what keeps you writing amid the eye of the storm.
1. Before I got to bed each night I visualize what I want to work on the next day. I see myself sitting down with my journal or at my computer and imagine myself writing. I also plant the seed of the idea I want to work on in my head, knowing much of the work will be done while I sleep.
2. I write early each morning. That way, whatever else comes down the pipeline I’ve written for at least 20 minutes.
3. I say “No” to a lot more people and activities than I used to. Writing is a priority in my life.
4. I walk in nature almost every day. I use this time to think about my writing and often bring a digital recorder with me to capture ideas or a train of thought.
5. I have a weekly writer’s group that forces me to produce at least three pages of written work a week. Think about it–at a bare minimum that’s 150 pages a year.
6. I create blocks of writing time in my day-book. These are non-negotiable commitments to write. Unless there’s a genuine emergency, I will dedicate that time to writing.
7. I cultivate friendships with those who recognize the importance of writing in my life and who support this endeavor.
8. I am honest with myself––there is always time to do what I love. If I’m not writing, it’s not because I don’t have the time to write, it’s because I’m not making it a priority.
9. It took me several years of trial and error to realize that the more I write the more I want to write. I let myself write garbage if that’s all I can produce on a given day. And I always find a nugget of something in there. (The moral: Write until you want to write.)
10. I have found mornings are my best time to write. Find your “best time(s)” and show up no matter what. The more you show up for your writing, the more your writing will show up for you.