Practice makes perfect. You’ll never get good at anything if you never make time to do it and that’s doubly important for writing. Writing is on of the most difficult skills I’ve ever tried to hone. It requires a great deal of patience and fortitude with rewards you may not benefit from until months, maybe even years later.
If you ask the all-knowing internet, you’ll find many, many opinions on the subject matter of how often a writer should actually write. The truth is its different for everyone and there are no real right or wrong answers. I can only share what has helped me and there are a few rules that I have followed these last few years that have kept me coming back to the keyboard.
Rule #1: Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Set some goals for yourself. Goals are good. Its a lot easier to get lost on a long journey when you don’t know what the destination is. Once you define your destination(s) come up with a plan on how to get there, a goal road map if you will. When coming up with this plan, think about what you are comfortable with doing. Then take those expectations and throw them out the window because you should do more than you are comfortable with.
For example, the idea of writing a decent blog post three times a week scares the crap out of me. It scared me when I first started out and it still does. I’d feel way more comfortable writing two posts a week. That sounds way more manageable in my head. Coming up with fresh ideas for three posts every week makes me sweat. Yet, for months now, I have been writing three posts a week with only a few bumps in the road and if I want to work on my novel or another story I have to schedule even more time to do so. So write a little more than you are comfortable with and soon you’ll find yourself taking on more than you thought you could.
Rule #2: Forgive Yourself
Things will undoubtedly go wrong. Your pesky life will inevitably interfere with your writing time. At some point, you’ll have to spend time with your family, walk the dogs, workout, do laundry, eat a full meal. Life takes priority and guilt can sometimes set in when you feel like you should be writing right now, but you are not. I am and will forever be the hardest person to please in my life. I am way harder on myself than is probably healthy to be, so this rule is the hardest for me to follow.
When shit goes wrong or you make a mistake, forgive yourself. It’s going to happen every now and then. It’s what you do afterward that really defines you and that’s where rule three comes in.
Rule #3: Get Your Ass Back To That Keyboard
Positive momentum can be as fragile as glass and negative momentum can be harder to break than titanium. If you fall off of writing, do not let yourself fall into the trap of not writing for a long period of time. The longer it takes for you to get back to the keyboard, the harder it becomes to get yourself to the keyboard.
You don’t need to know krav maga, how to wield a sword or how to shoot a Barret 82A1 50 Cal in order to possess a warrior spirit. You just have to be willing to fight for the things you believe in, for your family and friends, and for the things you want most in life. If you are a writer, that’s part of getting your ass back to the keyboard and fulfilling your duty to yourself.