The New Year has arrived, and so has the resolution to write more. But when? A forty-hour work week, family, friends, weddings and funerals, vacations, doctors visits – how do we balance the normal ebb and flow of life and still complete our writing? A New Year’s resolution isn’t going to cut it. We need to create new habits.
These three tips have transformed my writing journey over the past few years. I hope they help you tackle the New Year:
Get up Early
During busy seasons, the only time to write is early in the morning. Mary Higgins Clark knew this all too well. As a widowed single mother of five young children, she could only manage to write in the mornings. Every day for three years she got up and wrote from five to seven. When she published her book, it didn’t go anywhere and disappeared into oblivion. Undaunted, she set out on a new project and worked another three years with the same grueling schedule. Her second book, Where are the children?, launched her into success.
John Milton, author of Paradise Lost, wrote for five hours a day, coupled with a four-hour walk in his garden. He spent almost as much time walking as he did writing. Physical exercise helps us with our creative problem solving. Many of the greats knew this too, such as Immanuel Kant, Kurt Vonnegut, Franz Kafka, Victor Hugo, Charles Dickens, Beethoven, Strauss, Tchaikovsky, and Darwin.
American novelist Jonathan Franzen says, “It’s doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction.” Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram only hit the surface of the distractions we face. Our screens remain a constant threat to our productivity.
I often write longhand in a notebook, but if you prefer to write on a computer, take novelist Zadie Smith’s advice – work on a computer and disconnect the internet. Save the research for later. When you stop and look something up, it interferes with the creative process.
Set Writing Goals
Establish new healthy habits for the coming year. Make a goal to write at least 300 words per day. You could finish a book in one year. Only 76, 944 words filled the first Harry Potter book. That’s roughly 210 words per day.
Put these tips to use: get up early, take some brisk walks, and protect the limited time you have by unplugging your screen and the internet. Have a happy and productive 2017!
Guest Blogger Bio: Daniel Tillman is a freelance writer based in Dallas, Texas. He and his wife run a small art and design studio out of their home, and spend most of their free time encouraging artists and creatives in their faith and calling. Daniel also loves to dabble in music, photography, and fashion design, or any other tool that helps him tell stories.