I thought I’d share my successful steps for writing every day (and yes, I write each day, except when I’m on vacation.) We probably all have our own rituals, but sometimes struggle with finding how to go about capturing the words or finding the right place or the time. I hope that by sharing how I write, it might inspire you.
Step One: How
I am old school when it comes to writing. My first draft is done by hand in my trusty Moleskine notebook. I have other “journals” and notebooks that people give me, but nothing beats how Moleskine stays open and flat to make it easier to write. I don’t like spiral bound notebooks because the spiral gets in the way. I pair the notebook with an InkJoy pen. I know it sounds crazy, but the pen writes so smoothly that it almost writes as fast as my thoughts….my husband hates it for that very same reason. Before I found that pen, I used to change up my writing instruments based on how I felt….pen, pencil, marker. For me, it is always about the feel of the pen/pencil on paper. (True story, as I was writing about my beautiful pen, it ran out of ink. Luckily, I have a stockpile of them.)
I love writing this way because I can be sloppy and scribble things out, use arrows to indicate where to move a sentence or paragraph and then cross them out when I change my mind. My notebook is not only for rough drafts but ideas as well. So in between rough drafts and zentangles you might find a sentence or a paragraph or even a quote that are future post ideas. I just add them to the next open page. I don’t organize or try to keep an order to everything. I just keep my old notebooks so that I can pull them out to find ideas for new posts.
Step Two: When
I get up every morning around five am and write for up to two hours. On the weekend, I push it back to six am. The key for me is getting up by myself. I don’t want any distractions. I know some people might be surprised by this, but it’s what I do because it works for me. It works for two reasons. One reason that it works is that I used to do morning pages. Every morning I would get up and write three pages in a college-ruled notebook. For the most part, I did that every day. It created a discipline and showed me that writing in the morning, with no distractions, was something that could be done. So I do it. The other reason is that I work full-time, regularly putting in 10 and sometimes 12 hour days. By the time I get home, I’m mentally exhausted. I either write in the morning, or I don’t write at all. I save the evenings for social media, for reading and sharing other blogs and for clearing out my emails.
Step Three: Where
Believe it or not, I don’t have a cute office or even a cubby made out of a closet–although pictures of both are on one of my Pinterest boards. Instead, I’m in the living room, surrounded by small tables. One holds my laptop and when I close the top of it, the laptop becomes the perfect spot to put my notebook. This is also the same spot where I pay my bills and watch TV and read. When I was a teenager, I used to change my bedroom furniture around constantly trying to find the best place to write. I moved my table in front of the window, then in a corner and against the main wall. I’ve had it flat against the wall and then sticking out from the wall all in a futile effort to find the correct spot for a “writer.” Do you know where I wrote? On the floor, with my back up against the bed, surrounded by books and notebooks. It’s also where I watched TV and did my homework.
The moral? Writer’s write. I don’t know who said that originally, but it’s a phrase that I’ve kept since the ’70s. Listen to that sentence: Writer’s write. There’s no cute office, no perfect time or place. You just write. It doesn’t matter where and it doesn’t matter when and it doesn’t matter whether you’re writing a poem, a novel or a blog post. You just have to find what works for you by trying. Don’t give up because you don’t have the perfect place or a perfect time or can’t spend your whole day just writing. All are excuses—I know because I’ve used them all.