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Why Writing Every Day Isn’t Working For You And How To Fix It

You’re writing every day. 🎉Congratulations.

But here’s a question for you:

Are you achieving your BIG writing goals?

If the answer isn’t a resounding “hell yeah!” you’ve got a problem, because daily writing should be propelling you forward. If it isn’t working, it’s probably because you’re building a HABIT instead of a ROUTINE.

We often use the words habit and routine as though they’re interchangeable but they’re not. A habit and a routine are two very different things:

  • habit is something you do unconsciously and with little effort. 
  • routine is a series of conscious actions you follow regularly. A routine involves strategy and effort.

For instance, washing your hands after you use the washroom can (and should) become a habit. Once it’s solidly entrenched in Habit Land, you don’t need to think about it. You just do it.

But writing is infinitely more complex than washing your hands. It requires concentration, creativity, focus, decision-making, knowledge, insights, etc. 

Writing isn’t effortless, nor should it be! 

It can’t be performed on autopilot, which is why just forcing yourself to write every day seldom gets astounding results. And using AI won’t fix things because the problem isn’t just about writing faster, or writing more. It’s deeper than that.

Writing every day is an excellent habit. But to make that time creative and productive, you need the infrastructure of a routine!

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” – Paul J. Meyer

What does “intelligent planning” look like when it comes to writing?

Intelligent planning is about establishing clear, manageable goals. Note: Writing every day isn’t a goal; it’s an action that supports your goals.

A clear writing goal must include a concrete deliverable and a timeline. Here are a few examples of vague ambitions versus clear goals:

🙁Write more blog posts < 💥Write a 1500-2000 word blog post for my website every two weeks.

🙁Start a newsletter < 💥Create a weekly newsletter and send it out every Monday morning.

🙁Write a book < 💥Complete the first draft of my book in the next 6 months.

When creating your goals, avoid words like “more” because they’re non-specific. How much is more? How will you know when you get across that finish line? If you can’t SEE the finish line, you’re screwed.

You need to make each deliverable as specific as possible (e.g., 1500-2000 words, weekly newsletter, first draft). And always have a completion date in place.

Specific goals and appropriate deadlines give you a visible target and a sense of urgency (but not panic).

What if some of my writing goals are BIG and over-whelming?

Some writing goals are simple enough to accomplish in a few hours, like writing the copy for your newsletter, or creating a blog post that has gravitas.

Other goals are more formidable, like writing a book, or creating an online course. BIG writing goals need to be broken down into more manageable bites. I call these micro-goals.

How you set up those micro-goals is up to you. Here’s an example:

When writing my book, Making Words Work, I created an outline that divided the content into sections. Then I broke each section into short chapters, and I wrote one chapter each day for 80 days. That felt manageable to me.

I have a friend who completed her book by writing 2,000 words a day. That’s what felt manageable to her.

I thought pushing out 2,000 words every day sounded onerous. She thought my chapter-a-day goal was intimidating. But we both got across the finish line!

The lesson of this story is that manageable is subjective. We all have different ways of approaching things, and different demands on our time and energy.

Once you have ambitious but manageable goals, create a routine that makes sense – for you.

A well-oiled routine helps get things done more quickly and efficiently. But routines also need to be practical and flexible.

Setting a practical routine requires you to be realistic about the other parts of your life. If you’ve got lots of time to commit to your writing… yay! But if you don’t, you don’t.

Placing unrealistic expectations on yourself is a recipe for failure.

For example, if trying to write for an hour every day is stressing you out, that stress is inevitably having a negative effect on your creativity. So take the pressure off. Make it an hour on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Or one morning a week.

📣What works best for YOU is what will work best for your writing!

Flexibility is also important – and it cuts both ways. If there’s a busy week and you need to adapt your routine, that’s cool. Don’t beat yourself up about it. But look forward…

Examine future weeks, and see where you may be able to make up for lost time. Flexibility isn’t about lack of commitment; it’s about adapting.

Most importantly, make your writing routine pleasant.

We naturally want to repeat things that bring us joy. Conversely, we procrastinate on activities that are boring, frustrating, and generally unpleasant.

My writing space is cozy because coziness attracts me to the process of writing. I want to be in my very comfortable chair, with a lavender-scented candle burning and a warm cup of tea beside me.

Writing is hard work – and hard work seldom feels like a spa holiday. But it’s important to be kind to yourself. Nurture your creativity by making the environment as relaxed and comfortable as possible.

For me, the process of making that cup of tea is the first step of my daily writing routine!

I close all the tabs on my laptop, tidy my desk, and leave my workspace long enough to boil water and steep the tea. Then I light the candle I keep on a nearby window sill, and I settle in for my writing time.

Intelligent planning + a practical, flexible daily routine + a pleasant writing space = SUCCESS!

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Kim Scaravelli

Kim Scaravelli

Kim Scaravelli is a brand voice coach, writer, and author Making Words Work. She lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with her unruly family, a sweet dog named Stevie, and a sarcastic cat named Winnie.