Here's something that I've gotten asked several times: how do I force myself to write when I don't feel like it? There's definitely a key word in that sentence - force. Yes, I have to force myself to write sometimes. That's the way of the world, especially since writing is my job, a lot of the time. So how do I make time to write? Here are some things that have helped me:
Make a Schedule
Back in 2014, I started an experiment that I hoped would improve my writing. I wanted to write every single day for a whole year, and I started a blog for the experiment. And guess what? You're reading that blog! Granted, it's changed some along the way, and I don't write every day anymore, but this blog is where everything started for me. I had to make a schedule for myself so that I would push through the challenges. And I think it's been paying off. I feel like my writing has, at the very least, become more consistent. And the practice has also gotten me some new means of employment, which is always a good thing.
Write Creatively During the Scheduled Time
I know that this is the hardest part for people, but you should make sure that you're doing the kind of writing you want to be doing during the time that you scheduled for writing. I still schedule time to write blog posts (such as this one), but I also schedule time to creatively write in my Works in Progress. It has all really been a game-changer for me, because I've learned that I can still write well even when I don't feel like doing it. I just have to force myself to sit down and do it!
You Can't Rely on Inspiration
All the great writers talk about inspiration. I know that. But if all writers depended solely on inspiration, they'd never finish anything. Writing doesn't always come easy; some days I really have to force myself to do it. That skill, though, comes in handy when I have to go through edits, for instance - that's never going to be something that I want to do, but it's something I have to do in order to improve. Definitely use the inspiration when it's there, but it's not something that you can rely on.
Make a Commitment to Your Writing
This is probably the most important thing, and that's why I saved it for the end. You have to make the commitment to your writing in order for it to go anywhere. Even if it's just a hobby right now, even if it's something you do for yourself, if you don't commit to it, you'll never stick with it, and you'll never improve. That's my biggest piece of advice, if you can truly call any of this advice - make that commitment. Everything else will fall into place as long as you work hard and you want it.
The bottom line here is that writing isn't always easy. Once you find a system that works for you, stick with it, and you'll continue to get better. This is going to go hand in hand with next week's post on editing, so stay tuned for that! I know it's hard. I've been there. But you have to keep doing it. Talent can only get you so far. As Herb Brooks said, "you don't have enough talent to win on talent alone." You have to work for it. You have to be disciplined. And you have to want it.
Do you want it? I do.