I’m part of the #WritingCommunity on Twitter, and I love how supportive the community can be. There are regular writers lift threads where people can get new followers and share their latest work, aspiring authors can ask for advice and hear from the full gamut of writers and experts from the publishing industry, and there are even communities specifically for writers who are trans, queer, disabled, BIPOC, or other identities.
It can also be a shitty place, because it’s Twitter, and we can’t always have nice things. Sometimes people will be rude. But in my experience, it’s worth curating a supportive writing community and getting comfortable with that block button — no matter which platform you’re on.
I am, and have always been, a writer. But making the dedicated time to write has been a challenge, especially because I write in so many different capacities. I write as a freelancer, I have a novel and a memoir I’m working on, I write my social media content and blogs. It’s a lot of writing, and balancing the priority of each type is an ongoing process.
This blog is an updated version of one I posted a year ago about my intention to write more in 2022. I ended up writing 104,000+ words in two novels last year, which I’m now revising into one – and I achieved this by writing just one day per week. This method is the foundation of my twelve month writing incubator, Working Title, where members commit to finish the first draft of their book writing at least once a week.
Onward to the tips!
Tip 1: Start each day with writing
I resisted this advice for so long, because I “didn’t get journaling.” Why would I write something no one else would ever see? What was the point of that?
Despite knowing about Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages exercise, I never gave in and tried it until last year when I ran a seven day Morning Pages challenge in my free Facebook community. I found that I really loved it!
The best part of a morning journal practice is that there are no rules, besides writing three pages. Sometimes I do my pages before breakfast, sometimes I eat first and get a cup of coffee before I open my notebook. Sometimes I use it as a dream journal, or I write down things making me anxious, or I make a to-do list for the day and write about the same thing I wrote about yesterday. No rules! Just getting words out of your brain and onto a page.
You may find yourself finding nuggets of inspiration where you least expected them, turning a short line from your journaling into a poem or story idea, or maybe you just feel more clear throughout the day because you were able to get all of yesterday’s stuff out of your brain to start your day.
Also, writing with pen and paper helps facilitate mind-body connection and a slowing down of your racing thoughts. I’ve found that the more consistently I practice my Morning Pages, the more I am able to write whatever flows without pausing to try and make it “well written.” Once my mind finishes one thought and moves to the next, I follow it and keep writing.
Tip 2: Write Lots of trash
Sometimes you’ll write a story, blog, or chapter… and you’ll look at it and think it is absolute rubbish that should never see the light of day. This is allowed.
You are under no obligation to produce great work every time you write. (Or sing, paint, etc.)
In fact, the way you become a better writer is to write poorly first. Only through consistency and quantity will you become the writer you want to be. You have to willing to be bad at it first — and this sucks. Because none of us want to be bad at things. But it’s part of the process.
There’s a story from a book called Art & Fear about quantity over quality.
The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality.
His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pounds of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds a “B”, and so on. Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot – albeit a perfect one – to get an “A”.
Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work – and learning from their mistakes – the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.
Lean into the quantity of your writing and you WILL improve the quality. Perfectionism won’t lead to perfection, it only leads to sabotage.
Tip 3: Consistency doesn’t mean every day
In order to be a writer, you do need to write. And it can be intimidating to get started, especially seeing that some writers are in a “5am Writers Club” and share new word counts every day. Stephen King is known to write every single day and credits this consistency with his high volume of published works.
Don’t freak out! You can set your own writing schedule and define what consistent writing means for you. While I do recommend the practice of daily journaling, you don’t have to write books, blogs, poems, etc. every day. If daily writing fits into your schedule with balance and doesn’t detract from the other parts of your life, by all means, write daily! But you can also make time in your schedule to write once a week, or a few times a week, on a schedule that feels achievable and consistent.
I work on my novel on Wednesday mornings from 9am to noon. I write a chapter or two each week. If I tried to write every day, I probably wouldn’t write at all. But knowing that Wednesday is Novel Day helps me focus my energy for those three hours and achieve a level of writing I would normally struggle with.
Whatever consistency looks like for you is A-OK.
Tip 4: Seek mentorship and community
Motivational speaker Jim Rohn said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. So if you want to write more, it would make sense to spend time with other writers! Being around other people who share your craft is naturally motivating and will keep you engaged with writing mentally even when you’re not actively working on your writing projects.
Seeking a mentor is more in-depth than surrounding yourself with a writing community. This is a mutually agreed upon relationship with someone who is more experienced in your field (a writer, editor, or agent could fit this need, if they are open to mentorship) or a professional coach who works with writers.
I work with writers and other creatives to help them stay focused on their creative needs without self sabotage. Book a consult today and we can talk about which of my services would be most supportive for your goals.
Bonus Tip 5: Set and evaluate your goals every 90 days
I am a firm believer in a 90 day goal setting strategy. It takes this long to instill a new habit, whether you’re writing daily, weekly, or somewhere between — so committing to your new writing schedule, morning pages practice, or any other writing goal should be evaluated after 90 days to make sure it’s working.
Spending some time with my free goal setting workbook will help you evaluate what’s gone wrong with writing goals in the past, set your goals in a new way, and check in regularly to keep your goals on track. Get your copy here!
3 thoughts on “4 Tips to Help You Write More”
Cătălin, thank you for your motivational article. I want to bookmark it but not knowing how to. I want to read it again, and probably again!
So glad you love it! Depending on your browser there should be a star or bookmark icon in your search bar, that should allow you to bookmark the page!
Thank you Caitlin. It’s all such a learning curve – as Life is.