I recently heard a writer friend ask another writer friend what she did to get ‘inspired’ to write. The question threw me off guard. Who are these writers who wait for inspiration? In my experience inspiration only happens once I’m warmed up and that only happens when I sit down to write on a consistent basis.
The Secret is Consistency
The secret to finishing a book or a writing project is not a terrifically held secret. The secret is…consistency. As it is the ‘secret’ to success in any endeavor. You make a daily or weekly habit of writing. Not researching, not editing, not staring out the window (although there is a lot of all those things that happen). Not outlining or planning or vision boarding or plotting or structuring your three acts. These can happen at any time.
What you need is a dedicated time that you set aside just to write. Even if it’s noodling in your journal or free writing about that cat you saw in the window you walked by. Taking the time to prioritize your writing over all the other demands in your life will serve you well. Will this make you an instant best seller? Maybe. It will make you a finisher of projects and that is one step closer to authorship.
Angela’s Writing Habit – Better than Wheat Grass
My writing habit needs to be in the morning, before the kids wake up, or at night, after they’re in bed. I can’t write while distracted. It’s not just harder, it’s frustrating to be constantly pulled away from the thought and then I’m being not just a half-assed writer but an inattentive mom and both feel bad.
Writing should be all good. I had to experiment a few different times and days, and I found the best time for me is 5am, five days a week. I don’t recommend this for everyone but for me, with two young kids who are often awake by 6am for the day, and two part time jobs, this is what works. And I carry that satisfied, I admit it, smug-I-got-stuff-done attitude all day. Try it – the feeling is better than eating wheat grass for breakfast and recycling all your plastics.
A Sacred Space
Try making your writing time a sacred meeting with yourself. Light a candle, listen to your favorite music, it isn’t a ‘have-to’, it’s a ‘can’t wait to wake up and do this for myself’ thing.
Everyone who knows me knows I am not with the self-discipline. The only reason I’m not 600 pounds overweight is because my stomach is a delicate flower. Cake is my nemesis. And I love, love, love to sleep. Sleep is my favorite. So what pulls me out of bed and into the chair isn’t sheer will power. It’s that I know I’m going to enjoy this calm, quiet time to indulge in creating something all to myself. It’s my ‘me’ time. Writing isn’t a choice with me it’s a need, and I’ve learned to incorporate it into my life like all the other self-care things I do. It’s okay to need these things girls (and guys).
So, sorry for the dramatic title. But don’t wait for inspiration okay? You’ll be like skeleton guy in Raiders of the Lost Ark, the arrow of time through your heart. It’s never too late to start writing but life is better if you just give into it now. Right now. Off you get!
“If you wait for inspiration to write you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter.” Dan Poynter