You sit down to write your daily portion of musings. Your hands are poised at the keyboard, each finger hovering over corresponding keys. You’re biting your lip, waiting for a strike of inspiration to crackle inside your brain. You begin to type up the beginning of a sentence in a word document: “The…” You pause and look up at the clock and cringe. You haven’t played with the dog since this morning. Maybe you should take him outside. And, while you’re at it, you should probably take out the trash; it’s pickup day tomorrow. You look down at your nails. Maybe you should paint them, or cut them, or go to the nail salon. After all, you’re tired. You deserve a break. A nap would do wonders, actually. Yes. Yes, a nap. You stand up from your desk and walk toward the door.
Especially in this age of technology and digital diversions, distractions are thrown at people from every direction. Writing becomes difficult when there are still so many things pulsing and writhing on the agenda and in the world around you. An article written in The Telegraph reported that “the average human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000, or around the time the mobile revolution began, to eight seconds.” However, all creators have an extraordinary sense of self-discipline and therefore act as outliers to this research. Although distractions and excuses are hard to tackle, you do have the capability to set aside a certain amount of time to write every day. It is well-known that, in order to achieve greatness and success in the writing world, you must constantly write. It is like weight training; you must constantly train your muscles to be bigger and stronger. And if you do not do this on a regular basis, your skills will weaken.
I frequently come across the problem of making excuses. I either lose confidence in my writing and give up on a project I’m working on all together, or my entire To-Do List for the day suddenly rushes into my thoughts and I cannot think of anything else. But I developed a handy system for myself to prevent these pesky thoughts from festering and preventing my writing.
- Write at least thirty minutes every day, once a day. It doesn’t matter how many words you write or how much you get done. It doesn’t matter the length of your words or the overall quantity of the writing. All that matters is that you put your heart into it, and you set aside time for yourself to write. Whether it be several poems, a single poem, a synopsis of a story idea you have, or anything in between, a writer must always write. Setting aside this time for yourself will offer you security, confidence, and a certain pride with your work. Set aside this time at night before bed, when the day is done and gone and you can focus on yourself. I like to relax in bed with my PJ’s on and expel my ideas for the day onto a word document on my laptop.
- Get excited about your work. When you are not proud of your piece, you tend to set it aside and lose confidence in it. Create tangible, quality pieces over time using the time you allot yourself every day to improve it. Being proud of your work is important; when you feel pleased with what you have done, you are more likely to send it out to publishers and contests.
- Always read when you can. As writers, we always look to other authors for inspiration, support, and ideas. With other writers’ works on your mind, it is easier to create your own words and worlds.
Remember, when it comes to writing, the only person in the way of achieving your dreams is you. You are the one who creates the excuses, and you are the only one who can stop it.