Five Ways You Can Start Writing Today
Did you get what you wanted for Christmas?
If not, you might have been on Santa’s naughty list. Or maybe you never finished the list.
Completing a list is like maintaining accountability. Both are difficult, especially if the commitment is to yourself and doesn’t yield immediate rewards or severe penalties.
Are you among the many who have intentions to write and even commit to yourselves or others to write? Maybe you decided to write ten minutes every day, text an accountability partner, or block off time on the calendar.
But if no one is watching, and the goal of writing seems more like a dream with no deadline, how do you finish a manuscript for a book?
2. Ask Why
First write down why you are compelled to write about the topic(s) you can’t shake.
Write why your message or story matters to anyone else.
Describe one person who will care about the topic capturing your interest. Just one. This is the person you will write your book for. When you are unable to move forward, envision this person. Why are they reading the book, and what do they want or need to read next?
Keep these introspections close when you write. If you write on a computer, save your writing in a folder with your writing. If longhand is your preference, include your reason inside the front or back cover of your notebook or legal pad. Put your answers to “why” where you will see and can easily find them. Those answers are your inspiration when you have lost your excitement.
3. Consider How
After understanding why you are writing, you might wonder who, if anyone, really cares. Do you wonder if you write to build your own ego or to please someone else? “Doesn’t everyone know this?” you might wonder.
Friends and family are usually supportive and encouraging—until they tire of hearing you talk about what you are going to do or whine about how you aren’t making progress when they never see you put action behind your intentions.
How do you get started? You might have to tell yourself that if writing is important, you will write for ten minutes before you eat or do something else you must do daily.
Mark your paper calendar with a checkmark or smiley face so you can see your successes build. At the end of the week, look how much you have written!
Another fun thing is to write for at least as many minutes as the date on the calendar. On January 29, you need to write for at least 29 minutes. The most you will commit to write is 31 minutes except in September, April, June, and November, and February alone, which has twenty-eight days and twenty-nine in leap year. (Admit it: You refer to the rhyme too.)
Writing partners or groups meet for the stated purpose of writing. When you commit to meet on a specific date to write, your subconscious mind prepares for that creative outlet. If you have ideas before the meeting, write them or record them on your phone. That’s not cheating; it’s preparing.
Critique groups read what you have written and give feedback about what is good, can be improved, and is confusing or missing. Participants give their opinions, and you decide what to implement. You take work every time, which keeps you writing because others depend on you.
Online groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, and websites let members offer their writing and questions to get feedback.
4. Know the Difference
Any feedback you get should be supportive. Writing and sharing your deepest thoughts and dreams is difficult, scary, or unappealing at the least. If you find the person, people, or group you visit unsupportive, remove yourself.
5. Seek Support
A writing coach can offer objective suggestions and inspiration coupled with support. This professional will help you define why you are writing and what you want the outcome to be. S/he will challenge you to reach beyond your comfort zone and easy answers. An effective writing coach will help you to find your why and feel the passion again.
As a writing coach, I am like any other coach. I offer encouragement and support, but you have to do the work. I commit to work hard to help you succeed, but sometimes you have to look up from the mud to see my extended hand.
Make the Decision
Is writing important to you?
Then commit to taking the first step. Write every day, starting today. You can email me at the address below if that helps you with accountability. My passion is to help writers improve.
I’m cheering for you!
Copy Editor / Writing Coach
Beth Crosby is a copy editor and writing coach with a background in newspaper journalism. She tells writers, “Never publish your first draft!”
Beth works with writers, authors, and publishers. Her goal is to empower writers to share their messages by bolstering and encouraging them through writing coaching and editing. She believes that published blogs, articles, and books should be clear, concise, correct and consistent. Contact her today at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how she can help you.