Tugs at your soul, doesn’t it?
You love to write. You always have.
But honestly — who has the time?
Not only do you have a job and family and friends, but there are a gazillion tiny distractions popping up on your cell phone 24 hours a day, all interesting, all seemingly important, all keeping you from what you were born to do:
The good news?
2017 is your year. This year, you’re going to make it happen.
Put Your Ass in That Chair
Having the time to write, and using that time to write, are two very different things.
In fact, many people who perceive that they have too little time actually just fail to take advantage of spare time when the opportunity arises.
It doesn’t matter how much time you find for writing if you can’t consistently get your ass in that chair.
So use the following resources to help you to win the motivation game:
- Mentally prepare yourself for the realities of what’s ahead by reading this letter to beginning writers.
- Visit the Writer’s Relief blog to get 100 words of encouragement from five different writers who understand what it’s like to struggle.
- Stick around on the same blog to read more tips on staying motivated to write.
- Feeling sneaky? Use these 10 tricks to motivate yourself to write.
- Find your tribe and get fired up by this passionate writing community on Reddit.
- Or go all-in and take yourself off to a writing retreat.
Set a Blazing Fire in Your Belly
An inspiring goal will cut through procrastination and bullshit like a hot knife through butter.
You’ll wake excited to work. Time will magically appear in your calendar. And finding focus when you sit down to write will be easier than ever.
Conversely, writing time without a clear goal easily becomes wasted time. It’s the writer’s version of busywork — it looks and feels like writing but produces little of value.
The following resources will show you how to create goals that make finding writing time a cinch:
- Decide whether you’re an “artist author” or a “professional author” and set your goals accordingly.
- Apply this six-step system for setting writing goals you’ll actually stick to.
- Or use these 7 questions to help you set meaningful goals as a writer.
- Find out what best-selling author Seth Godin believes is one of the main goals of a being a writer.
- Download this handy workbook for the goal-oriented writer that will help define and organize your writing goals.
- Use these six steps to make sure your goals are grounded in reality.
- Or use these questions from Prolifiko to validate them.
- Watch this TED talk about why you might want to keep your goals to yourself.
Feed the Body to Fuel the Brain
How often have you had the time to write but didn’t take advantage of it? Maybe you didn’t feel like writing. You weren’t in the mood for it. It happens sometimes, right?
Well, you can blame it on an absent muse or just accept that your mind doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Your physical state affects your mental state. The body is the vessel for the mind.
If your body feels tired and sluggish, your brain is unlikely to produce its best work. (Which is another great reason for getting up early to write.)
Use these resources to help your body support a focused, creative mind:
- Discover which are the creativity superfoods in Articulate Marketing’s guide, What writers should eat.
- Once writing, keep your brain fuelled with the right healthy snacks.
- Find out what people on Quora believe are the best foods for serious writers.
- For fun, you could try eating like your favorite authors.
- If your appetite is still not quelled, check out Jane Hu’s Writer Food From A To Z.
- See how moving your body could sharpen your mind with this research.
- Check out this fitness routine for writers.
Stop Saying “Yes” to Every Damn Thing
Let’s face it, many of the tasks and responsibilities that squeeze your writing time get put on your plate by someone else.
And that’s fine — unless you only said “yes” because you couldn’t find a nice way to say “no.”
Because here’s the thing, tasks you begrudge don’t just steal time from your writing, they sap your mojo too.
If you’re serious about finding more time to write, you’ll need to retrain your inner people-pleaser to be less of a pushover and more of an asshole.
Check out these resources to discover how to say “no” without burning too many bridges:
- Follow these 21 tips from Psych Central for saying no.
- Use this simple email script to say no to someone (even a good friend) who’s asking for help.
- Borrow one of these handy phrases for saying no in a way that doesn’t make people regret they asked.
- Learn how to say “no” in specific scenarios with this guide from Fast Company.
- Check out 100+ answers to the question “How do I learn to say no?” on Quora.
Go Over to the Dark Side
There’s something magical about starting your work in those dark, early hours when few others are awake.
In fact, getting up early to write feels like unlocking a secret level in your favorite video game. Once you’ve done it, you can’t believe you didn’t discover it sooner.
Not only that, but your writing benefits from a well-rested brain, which does wonders for your focus and creativity. And when the session is over you can start your normal routine smug in the knowledge that you have already met your writing quota for the day.
The following resources will help you release your inner morning person:
- Discover why waking early is the 1-step plan for super-productivity — and learn exactly how to do it.
- Review this infographic from Funders and Founders for some handy visual tips about getting up early.
- Join the 5 a.m. club with the help of this video from best-selling author Robin Sharma.
- Still need convincing of the benefits of rising early to write? Read a fellow skeptic’s account of her experiment with early morning writing.
- If you’re a self-confessed night owl, you’ll probably need these quick tips for making early mornings work for you.
Embrace the Drudgery
There is tremendous power in repetition.
Writing habits, routines, and rituals — all create working patterns that make success almost inevitable.
Make yourself a slave to the routine, and the results will follow — or so the theory goes. But many writers can attest to the power of repeated effort marshaled in the right direction.
Of course, you need to repeat the right things — and what works for you may not work for others.
But if you use the following resources to create — or inspire — your habits and routines, you’ll create a system for success:
- Learn how to build your own writing routine that starts where you are right now.
- Check out these 16 tools to help you develop a daily writing habit.
- Read James Clear’s guide to the daily routines of 12 famous writers.
- Or visualize the working patterns of 26 famous creative people — including Haruki Murakami, Kurt Vonnegut, and Maya Angelou — with this colorful chart.
- Feeling adventurous? Try one of these strange writing rituals from famous writers like Truman Capote.
- Read Grammarly’s list of healthy writing habits you can adopt today.
Tie Yourself to the Mast
If you’ve ever tried to stick to a regular exercise routine, you’ll know that getting yourself to the gym is the hardest part. Once there you do the work because, well frankly, hanging around a gym and not exercising is a little creepy.
It’s the same for writers. If you have a dedicated space for your writing, you’ll find it much easier to write once you’re there. (And your brain will start to associate the location with writing, making it quicker to get in the zone.)
That’s why you need to find a place where not writing is harder than writing.
The following resources will help you find your perfect writing spot:
- Start by reading this list of 22 places to write when you’re tired of writing at home.
- Find inspiration to fuel your writing by experimenting with these completely unexpected places to discover your muse.
- Or get inspired by these real-world special spots where successful authors go to write. (Heck, you might even live near one of them.)
- If leaving home isn’t an option, recreate the soundscape of your local coffee shop using Coffitivity.
- But wherever you go, be sure not to be seduced by The Myth of the Perfect Writing Environment.
Get Your Other Sh*t Done Quicker
If you really have no space for writing in a typical day, you only have one option.
You need to get your other work done quicker.
Counterintuitive, right? To get more writing done, you need to get better at the non-writing stuff.
Because it’s a zero sum game — less time spent on everything else means more time for writing.
So if you’ve shunned personal productivity in the past, now’s the time to get your house in order.
Check out these resources to discover how to do it:
- Give yourself a crash course in productivity systems with The Ultimate Guide to Personal Productivity Methods from popular app-maker Todoist.
- Learn how productivity works with another handy infographic from the folks at Funders and Founders.
- Watch Marie Forleo talk about prioritizing your tasks and learn her one tip that does it all.
- Head over to Medium and read Product Hunt’s list of 32 of the Best Productivity Tools You’ll Ever Need.
- Finally, find out what Quora users think are the ultimate productivity apps.
Let’s Make This Your Best Writing Year Yet
Can you feel it yet?
The gentle pull of destiny.
It’s drawing you toward the work you were born to do — writing words that change people’s lives.
And the more time you spend on your craft, the stronger that pull becomes.
It knows you have something important to say.
It yearns for you to put your ideas out into the world.
It demands that you start taking action.
Just remember, 2017 is your year.
And you now have all the resources you need to succeed.
So, are you ready to make it happen?