Writing is like working out or eating healthy. Doing it every day is really hard. You’ll stumble upon challenges, roadblocks, and get distracted. You might lose progress or your sanity. But all are worthy commitments and causes.
I’ve learned during my fitness journey that eating healthy and working out is a lifestyle. Mirriam-Webster defines “lifestyle” as “the typical way of life of an individual, group, or culture.” I think that’s the key to everything, for health and writing. Not strict rules where cupcakes don’t exist and a writer must write for two hours before sunrise. No! A lifestyle is the typical way of life. A writer typically writes. Someone working on their health typically works out and avoids cupcakes.
Just like how being healthy involves exercising and eating healthy, writing involves writing. There are no quick fixes for getting your novel or poem on the page. Just blood, sweat, and probably some tears.
Being a writer is a lifestyle and writing is the journey.
What does that lifestyle entail? Writing. And writing some more. There’s no way around it. Many people want to be a writer, but they never sit down and write. Many people have lofty goals of being an author someday, but they never write.
But that’s not you. You, my friend, are a writer. Or another artist type. But maybe, like me, your lifestyle has been hanging on a thread lately. Life gets in the way. Life will always get in the way. Whether you’re struggling with inspiration, fear, or life itself, here are a few ways you can start writing again:
Join a challenge.
NaNoWriMo always makes me excited to start writing again, just like fitness challenges excite me to eat kale salads and workout a little harder. If you’re even slightly a competitive person, join a challenge or contest with a deadline and specific goals in mind.
Find an accountability partner.
As I shared in this blog post, accountability is key to success. Many people struggle to continue with a habit without outside help. We were created that way, to rely on other people from time to time. So swallow your pride and ask for help. The secret is that we all need help in some way, even if it looks like we’re rocking it. And if we are rocking it, we can help someone just starting their journey or someone who has gone astray.
Having an accountability partner can help motivate you if you decide to have daily or weekly goals. Maybe you speak daily, weekly, or monthly about your progress. Again deadlines are key. Plus, an accountability partner can help you brainstorm ideas and encourage you when you’re unsure about an idea.
Do something new.
Whenever I experience something new, I want to share it with people. I want to tell everyone. And the best way for me to speak is to write. If you speak best through pen or keyboard keys, then start analyzing new experiences like you are sharing a story. Take in all of the senses as you experience something. Don’t ignore your friends in line for a roller coaster ride or while kayaking, but don’t ignore your surroundings either. If other people are around, people watch. Listen (in a non-creepy way) to their conversations. Make notes in your phone. Then, when you get home, instead of telling everything to your spouse/kids/roommates, write it down. Take the scene, experience, and conversations, and build a story, create a world.
Remember that writing is a journey, not a race.
I hope these tips encourage you to get back to writing your stories. I can’t wait to read them.