This is probably one of the most commonly asked questions in the writing world. Yes, we all want to write a book--but when? Between work, family, exercising, dating, hobbies, school, kids, keeping up with the latest Netflix binge, and getting eight hours of sleep (okay, seven...okay, six. Okay, five!), when, exactly, are you supposed to write this magnum opus anyway?!
Many authors will give you their strict routines and writing goals for "motivation." Well, I don't know about you, but reading about how Stephen King can wake up at five in the morning and crank out two thousand words before breakfast is anything but "motivating."
Then again, well, he's Stephen King. Maybe that's the way to do it.
Other authors don't have a routine, and write when the muses give them inspiration. Again, I don't know about you, but after a long day at work, my muses would much rather prefer to dive into a tub of Ben and Jerry's than an hour or two of what can feel, at times, like a second job.
Let's be honest, folks: writing can be fun. It can be the most fun thing on the planet! But it is also a lot of work, and writing well is even more work. Really, building up your writing "muscles" is a lot like building up your body muscles--and, in the same vein, someone who is used to working out/writing a lot will find it easier to crank out twenty push-ups than someone who just slipped on a sports bra for the first time in years.
I don't believe you have to write two thousand words a day. I don't believe you have to write *every* day. I do believe you have to find a writing process that works for you and gets you writing.
Just like anything "extracurricular" that takes work, it can be helpful to schedule your writing time. This is an oldie, but a goodie. I never started working out until my friends and I decided to hit the rock climbing gym every Wednesday. Participating in NaNoWriMo always results in my biggest writing numbers of the year, just due to the inherent daily scheduling.
Similarly, turning it into a habit can also he
lp. Maybe you know someone who runs a mile every morning before work, or does yoga every night before they go to sleep. Writing for an hour (or writing a thousand words or so) at a specific time of day can help make it less of a choice and more of a natural part of your day. Right now, your body expects to relax in the evening. If you train your body to expect to write for an hour first, over time, it will feel like less of a struggle to do it.
Another great tip actually doesn't stem from exercise, but rather decluttering. They say if your room is a mess, commit to putting away eight things. Usually, that's enough to motivate yourself to do more--but worst case scenario, you put away eight things! That's better than nothing! Try to commit to writing one hundred words a day (start small at first). If you do nothing else all week, you'll sti
ll have seven hundred words more than you would otherwise.
My number one tip? Whenever you sit down to watch television or whip out your phone to chill for a while, write instead. There's only so much time in the day, but all of us spend some of it doing, basically, nothing. Spend some of that "nothing" time writing.
Hopefully, one or more of these tips will get
those words flowing for you!
And please--start small and don't force it. If you go from no weightlifting to trying to benchpress three hundred pounds, you're going to hurt yourself. Grab some beginner dumbbells, write for a half hour or so, and build up your strength as you go.
Before long, you'll be the buffest author around!
(Is this metaphor getting confusing yet?)