“Write Every day” is the most common advice new writers get. Stephen King famously said that he writes every day even when he is sick or injured. For him, nothing comes before writing. Yet, how realistic is that advice for people who have a job, family, and a thousand other responsibilities?
There is not any real nuance or any thought to people who are disabled. So instead of writing every day, I offer you a few alternatives that will help balance both your busy life and your writing.
1) Schedule Time Off
I do not write every day, but I write for 4-5 times a week. I am very determined to keep my weekends free so I can rest, relax, and spend time with my family. Go through your schedule and look for days you can take off. I would recommend two, but if one day works for you that is fine too. My off days keeps me refreshed and motivated to keep to your writing schedule.
2) Find The Right Time To Write
Are you a sprinter that writes a lot during the weekend? Do you write a certain amount every day? Do you only write on a lunch break on your phones? Your writing process is unique from other authors. This is normal. Experiment with writing environments and writing times so you can find the best time for you. YOU DON’T HAVE TO WRITE EVERY DAY BUT YOU DO HAVE TO BE CONSISTENT.
3) Keep Goals and Track Your Progress
Very early in my professional writing career, I found that keeping track of my daily writing word counts and breaking down my big goals into smaller, more attainable goals is a great tool to keep me motivated. I use the Pacemaker Planner, I also keep an excel spreadsheet of my daily word counts. I would also consider sharing your daily word count. This is a great way to keep your reader updated on your progress and also a way to keep yourself accountable.
4) Allow Room For Failure
I have ADHD and keeping to a schedule is super hard for me. I’m also disabled and so I will have two weeks of good days and then have a day when I don’t want to get out of bed. I allow myself to have that mental health day and then the next day I get back up and finish writing. Resist the urge to beat yourself up for missed days. The most important thing is to pick yourself up and continue.
5) Find A Writing Buddy
My partner and I are both writers and a few years ago we got up early together and wrote our projects together. It helped our productivity and I know plenty of writers who swear by this method. With the ongoing lockdowns, there are plenty of virtual write-ins that are happening. Ask around on social media or ask a few of your fellow author friends. Having that support will keep you writing and soften your fall when you have bad days.
6) Writing Challenges
They are two infamous writing challenges NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo. However, there are writing challenges all year long on social media. Now, this might be hit or miss for you. For me, they never work because I never prepare and I always end up forgetting about it (ADHD sucks). However, knowing that people are in the trenches, writing their projects at the same time as you will keep you on schedule.
And those are my 6 fantastic alternatives to writing every day. What method do you use? Let me know down in the comments!