Jerry Seinfeld developed a habit early in his career where he challenged himself to write a joke a day. For every day he wrote a joke, he drew an X on his calendar. Every time he passed the calendar, he saw those X’s lining up, and their cumulative effect urged him to keep up the streak. He didn’t want to face the physical evidence of an unwritten day staring back at him.
As writers, we can learn a lot from Seinfeld because, if there’s one unavoidable truth about developing a craft like writing, it’s that to do it well we have to put in the time to build up our muscle for it.
Create a writing routine
Some writers are morning writers and others write in the evening. I know one writer who wakes up before her kids to write, another who keeps a notebook near her bed so she can catch her words before she falls asleep.
When I was a single working mother, my writing time was from 5-6 in the morning. These days my best routine has me starting around ten and working until one o-clock.
What I know for sure is that when I don't make a plan to write I don’t get much writing done.
That’s because our brains have so much competing for our attention. And unless we have a writing coach or are enrolled in a writing class or program, no one is checking to see if we show up for our writing.
Schedule your writing
Consider keeping a running tally on an actual calendar that you devote just for tracking your writing. You can create one of your own or download the one I’ve created for you here.
You might try writing your writing goal for the day at the top or bottom of each square. I find this particularly useful when I’m working on a longer project and I want to pace myself. In each square I write the chapter or scene I want to tackle for the day. I draw a tally mark underneath it for each half hour I work on the task.
Track your writing progress
Like Seinfeld, I’m able to track my progress at a glance. The more tally marks I accumulate, the more I want to keep up my streak.
Ready to give it a try?
Print your calendar and set it out where you can see it.
Take a photo to share on social media so you can inspire others to find their own routine and be sure to tag me so I can see what you’re working on.
Then start tracking your progress.
If you’re like me, your writing calendar will be one of your favorite writing tools.
What would you write if you knew the world was waiting to hear what you had to say?
And why not start writing it today?
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