This year I’ve finally decided to put writing first; to make it a priority in my life.
It’s taken a back seat for a long time, and I’m ready now to see what can happen when I give it a chance to ride shotgun.
However, at this point it’s a little too early to depend solely on writing for my income. After all, I’ve only just begun the long journey of writing 1,000+ words per day and publishing something every day for a year.
I’m still only in the first month of this challenge. If I’m going to make it, then I’m going to have to take it one day at a time. Otherwise, it’ll always feel like it’s never going to end, and I’ll get too tired and overwhelmed and want to give up.
I’m going into this with my eyes open. I know it’s not going to be easy — but I also don’t know if I realize yet just how hard it’s actually going to be.
Preparing for Success
I’ve set out on this journey many times before with varying levels of success. I’ve even written a minimum of 500 words every day for a year in the past. But even that year, I didn’t manage to keep going after that.
That was the most writing I’d ever done in a year before — somewhere around 200,000 words. It was a huge accomplishment for me, but I wasn’t able to keep the momentum going once that challenge ended. I eventually started to focus more on my job, spending more time at work and getting distracted by outside demands.
That’s why this year, I’m setting myself up for success by carving out a time for me and my writing first thing every morning. That way, I can make sure my writing is my first priority every day, and it will be done before I even start work.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably need some encouragement to keep going at times.
Here are some ways to keep yourself motivated to push forward and keep writing when you feel like giving up:
1. Know that it’s a long-term commitment, but focus only on today
I’m only 16 days into a 365-day run. If I look at it from that perspective, it seems overwhelming, daunting, and impossible. But if I look at it from the perspective of one day at a time, it becomes a lot more manageable.
What do I need to do today to reach my goals? Don’t think about tomorrow. What am I committed to accomplishing on this day?
Answer: Writing 1,000 words. Making them the best they can be with the time I have to dedicate to them, and hitting the publish button — that’s it!
Breaking it down into a daily challenge from a yearly one changes everything. Looking at and focusing on one day a time makes all the difference.
This is also how I can continue this writing practice for the rest of my life — not just for this year.
2. Keep reminding yourself that you can’t see the future
I love to remind myself of this one, because of how much possibility it holds within it.
Where I am now is not where I’m going to be forever. Next year everything could be different. Tomorrow everything could be different. I just don’t know what’s going to happen at any moment — and that’s the beauty of it.
I don’t know what the future holds, and in the not knowing is where all the excitement and thrill lies.
With every piece you write, you don’t know who it will reach, who it will touch, and who it will inspire. You don’t know who needed to read it at the exact moment they came across it. You don’t know who it has the ability to help, comfort, or encourage. And you don’t know the impact your words might have.
All of these things are part of the unknown — and to me, they are all the best parts of this journey!
3. Celebrate the small wins, but don’t fixate on them
Take a moment to be grateful when somebody reads, claps for, comments on, highlights, or shares some of your writing — but don’t make that your focus.
Remember that those things are not the sole purpose of your writing; rather, they are just the perks.
Chances are, your reason for doing this goes far deeper than a few claps, and far beyond a post that goes viral. Don’t mistake your purpose for perks.
4. Remember why you’re writing
On those days when I’m tired, grumpy, distracted, or just plain uninspired (likely when nothing’s really happening with my writing and all my efforts seem to be going nowhere), I have to remember why I write.
Writing has always been a way for me to learn about myself and the world around me. Writing is how I reflect, digest information, and process it. Words have always been a much more natural and easy way to express myself. Where I often struggle to be honest and open in conversation, the words just fall out in writing.
I’ve always sensed that words have the power to change the world. I experienced this power when I read something that moved me, and I wanted to be part of that. I wanted to be able to connect with others and influence them in a way that only writing could.
Why do you write?
5. Care about your writing, but don’t expect others to
Yes, we all want readers and fans and people who follow us and promote our work for us. But before we can get to that point, we have to be and do all of those things for ourselves.
Shannon Ashley has often said that if you don’t even care about your own writing, then who else can you expect to care about it?
And she’s absolutely right!
It doesn’t make sense to expect others to be interested, unless we’re interested in our own work first. Passion for our own work is what garners attention, because it shows. You can tell when a writer cares about their work. You can feel the love and thought and care they’ve put into it.
I still have a long way to go on this one. I care a lot about my own work — but sometimes I still expect others to care about it even more than I do. My partner is often the unfortunate victim of my backwards expectations.
Unless he’s reading every single article I read and giving me feedback on it, I get upset and assume he doesn’t even care about my writing or is uninterested. Though this is not the case, it’s also not the point!
The point is, it doesn’t matter if he’s into it or not — I have to be into it. Just me, myself, and I.
I have to love and care for my own writing before anyone else will. Then, and only then, will others start to take an interest.
The Key To Success
By looking at writing in these ways, it totally changes how I feel about it.
It becomes something that I’m doing for me, and it feels good every day I do it.
And that’s a good thing, because as Zulie Rane writes, “If you want to be a successful writer, you need to keep saying yes.”
How do you become successful?
You never stop writing.