So, you’ve decided to “just start writing,” and that is awesome! I congratulate you on making the first step!
Now, what if you really want this to work? Like, this isn’t just an experiment for you; you truly long to get better at the writing you’re pursuing, and to grow within it. Or you’ve done the experiment, and you’ve decided that, yes, this is where you belong. That’s so great, and I’m so excited for you!
“Just start writing” is a great mantra to help motivate you to begin your writing process, but there are some things you as the writer have to understand when it comes to “just start writing”…
Just starting to write isn’t the only thing that matters. I know, it’s the basis of this entire website. But there are other pieces to good writing that you have to keep in mind, such as your consistency, your audience, and your content.
Let’s talk about consistency…
Start to Finish
Just starting to write something is a major accomplishment, and you should be proud of yourself for taking that step! But you can’t just end with starting; you have to keep going.
What I mean is, just starting to write is a commitment; it’s something you have to constantly keep up with if you truly want to make this writing thing something serious in your life. Now, I understand that some of you writers write for fun, not necessarily to have a career in it, or to be known in it, and that’s totally fine. But even if you write for fun, you don’t just write once a month, and expect your writing to actually go somewhere. You write consistently – every day, every other day, every week, etc.
You can’t start something and expect to get to the finish line without consistently keeping up with what you started.
Maybe I hit you a little too hard with the consistency hammer, and what you read was, “YOU HAVE TO WRITE EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. IN ORDER FOR YOU TO BE A GOOD WRITER BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT I DID, AND NOW I HAVE THIS WEBSITE, AND NOW I KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT WHEN IT COMES TO WRITING, AND YOU DON’T…”
Breathe, dear reader, I’m not yelling at you. And I definitely don’t know what I write to you half the time, if I’m honest.
All I’m saying is, write consistently. I personally challenged myself to write every day. Maybe your speed is more writing every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; or every weekend. It doesn’t matter what it is, I just think that it is important for you to have some sort of consistent writing schedule to keep you accountable, whether you’re writing for yourself or for other people (we’ll talk about your audience next month!). Actually, writing for other people really keeps you accountable because those people will expect you to write when you said you would, and you’ll actually do it!
But you can’t expect to get better at writing, or for people to think your writing is good if you don’t actually keep up with it. Go at your own pace, though, and don’t be discouraged if another writer is going faster than you! It is better to write at your own pace, and learn and grow in and through your writing, than to rush through it and not understand what you’re writing at all.
Your writing sessions also don’t have to be extremely long. Sometimes dragging something out makes it less enjoyable, and you won’t look forward to writing again. Keep your writing times fairly short, if you need to. Good writers don’t have to write for hours at a time; start small, say, fifteen minutes. Then gradually add time as you start to get comfortable with your writing.
“I Missed A Day. I Suck.”
I’m also not telling you that it’s totally bad if you don’t write on a day you were supposed to write. Have you seen how inconsistent my blog has been these days? When I started the #JustStartWriting challenge, I think I only missed a few days of writing because of traveling. These days, I’m missing three or more writing days out of the week. I’m trying to be better.
But don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day or two. It’s okay, just get back on your feet, and hit the ground running with your words. It’s too easy sometimes to let a failure or two discourage you from continuing something. Don’t give up! Just do better next time; figure out what stopped you from writing that day, and adjust your schedule, or write for more than one day if you know you won’t have time to write during your next scheduled writing day.
Failing is how we learn. So take the failures as opportunities to strengthen your writing consistency.
“But I Don’t Have Time.”
This is the biggest excuse in the book, and I will admit, I’ve used it more than once, especially these days when I’m trying to organize this site, keep up with my blog, and also work on outside writing projects to release. I’m tempted to see everything I have before me and say, “I don’t have time to write.”
And, I get it; life is filled with all sorts of things, and sometimes, the last thing on your mind is writing something for yourself, or for others to read.
But I encourage you (and encourage myself) to find the time. Someone once told me that you find the time for the things (and people) you love. If you love writing, and you really want to have a go at it, you will find the time to do it. You won’t be perfect every single time at finding the time, but you’ll be willing to try.
It isn’t “I don’t have the time,” it’s “I have the time somewhere; where in my schedule could I squeeze a small writing session?”
I hope that this was an encouragement to you writers as you continue your personal writing journey! Stay consistent with your writing! Don’t be discouraged if you aren’t always consistent because we’re only human; you will make mistakes, and that’s okay! Learn from them, and keep going!
You’ve decided to just start writing, now just keep writing! You got this!