Should you write every day?
No matter what stage of your writing journey you’re in, you’ve probably pondered this question before.
There are valid arguments on both sides of the fence.
Those who say you shouldn’t write every day point out that doing so can lead to burnout or could even be a waste of time since you may end up jotting down junk just to fill your daily quota. And some say you should only write when you feel inspired.
But as early American author Jack London once said: “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”
The women of the See Jane Write community know I’m Team Write Every Day. But this doesn’t mean I think you should work on your blog or book project every day or work on freelance articles or pitches every day. That will lead to burnout. It’s always a good idea to take a break from your work in progress from time to time so you can rest and recharge and approach it with fresh eyes.
But writing something every day can do wonders for your writing life.
Why You Should Write Every Day
Writing every day forces you to ditch your excuses. When I ask the women that I work with why they aren’t working on their writing goals, the answer is almost always the same: I just don’t have time.
I get it. You’re busy. But we’re all busy. Your busy schedule doesn’t make you special. Sorry. And the truth is, we make time to do the things we really want to do. When you start writing every day you realize that doing so is easier than you think. You don’t have to block off 3 hours of uninterrupted writing every day. Simply writing in your journal every morning before you start your day or every night before bed is enough to start building a daily writing habit. And this journaling habit can eventually grow into working on a blog, a book, or an essay that you will share with the world.
Writing every day helps you clear out the mental clutter. One great way to start your daily writing practice is through morning pages, a practice detailed in The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. The premise is simple: start each day with three pages of freewriting. Cameron says these pages aren’t meant to be edited or shared with anyone. She says she doesn’t even consider the pages “writing” because that puts on too much pressure for the words to be thought-provoking or clever. The goal is just to clear out the mental clutter so that you can get to the good stuff and create the work you’re meant to create.
Writing every day makes you an idea machine. In addition to freewriting, another way you can get words on the page daily is by writing down 10 ideas a day. Every writer should keep a running list of ideas. In the foreword to the book Become an Idea Machine, James Altucher says this is one of the best ways to boost your creativity because by brainstorming ideas daily you’re exercising your creative muscles. Now, not all of your ideas will be great. Some will be trash. But others will be treasures.
There’s a lesson here too.
When you write every day, you learn how to let yourself write crap. And you must write crap to get to the good stuff.
Octavia Butler said it best: “You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.”
And how do you develop persistence? Through habit!
Butler said, “First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not. Habit will help you finish and polish your stories. Inspiration won’t. Habit is persistence in practice.”
Journal Prompts to Jumpstart Your Daily Writing Habit
The start of a new year is a great time to start developing a daily writing habit. Some folks say it takes 21 days to start building a habit, so here are 21 journal prompts to help you write every day for the next 21 days.
New Year Journal Prompts
In 2022, I want more of…
In 2022, I want less of…
Describe how you want 2022 to feel.
What are your values?
How will you live out your values this year?
I will consider 2022 a successful year if I…
When 2023 arrives, I will be…
Self-Discovery Journal Prompts
What did you enjoy doing most when you were a child?
Describe the woman you believe you were created to be.
Describe your ideal day.
What work do you enjoy doing so much that you would do it for free?
How do you define success?
Write a letter from your older self.
What do you stand for unapologetically and unequivocally?
Journal Prompts to Clear Mental Clutter
What’s on your mind?
How do you feel right now and why?
What is your inner critic telling you?
Explain how the words from your inner critic are rooted in fear.
What would you do if you weren’t afraid to fail?
List all the reasons why you could succeed.
Describe how it will feel when you do succeed.
To receive writing prompts via text every Wednesday morning, text the word PROMPTS to 205-892-9501. And be sure to join the See Jane Write Network Facebook group for encouragement as you strive to write every day!