I’ll admit it, I’m guilty of waiting for my muse.
I’ve waited while drinking a third cup of coffee. I’ve waited while listening to mood music. I’ve waited while reading someone’s else’s work. I’ve waited while killing time on the internet.
But, quite often, my muse lets me down. She must have a very exciting personal life because she rarely visits. In fact, I can count the number of times in my life I’ve been inspired to write on one hand.
In September, I took matters into my own hands and set an ambitious goal.
I wrote every single morning for 30 minutes.
No days off, no excuses, no matter what.
And guess what? I did it.
I wrote when I wasn’t feeling well. I wrote after four hours of sleep. I wrote when I should have been vacuuming, doing laundry or cooking. I wrote when I had projects due. I wrote standing at my kitchen counter. I wrote in my office. I wrote with my daughter sitting on my lap.
At first, I told myself I wouldn’t be able to do it.
After all, I take care of a toddler all day. My first responsibility is being a mother. My second is running a small business.
I didn’t have time to add an extra 30 minutes of personal writing into the mix.
But here’s the thing: I did have time.
It was time I mindlessly scrolled through Instagram or Facebook, watched random YouTube videos, read Medium articles or checked headlines on Huffington Post.
I had that time, and I bet you do too.
Here’s what I learned: I don’t need my muse. She can visit if she wants, but her presence is not necessary for me to create.
In 30 days, I:
- Published nine new posts on my blog, Freelancing Mama and drafted another 21 posts.
- Planned out my content until March 2017.
- Completed 30+ pages of an ebook on becoming a virtual assistant.
- Decreased the amount of time it takes me to write a post
- Gained more confidence in my abilities.
- Discovered my well of ideas would not dry up if I dipped my bucket in every day.
I finally felt confident enough to call myself a writer; I am a writer.
Here’s how I made it happen.
Each morning, I sat down and turned on a timer. I’d spend 30 (mostly uninterrupted) minutes writing. I didn’t check my email, Facebook or any websites.
I used Toggl to track my time and Brain.fm to keep me focused and drown out the sounds of toddler morning TV. If I needed to take care of something, I paused the timer, did the task as quickly as possible and went right back to writing. On the weekends, I was able to hole up in my office while my husband took care of our daughter.
I realized I don’t need perfect conditions to write. I could stand in the middle of the tornado that is my kitchen and write as if I was at Walden Pond. As long as my mind was peaceful, it didn’t matter what my surroundings were like.
Want to create a daily writing habit? Set yourself up for success with these tips.
1. Get an accountability buddy
When it comes to meeting your goals, having someone hold you accountable can make all the difference. You don’t want to disappoint someone who believes in you.
I’m a member of an awesome Slack group called #JustWrite. My writing streak started with a week-long challenge from Sara Frandina that I liked so much, I didn’t stop. Every day, I let other members of the Slack group know I completed another day of writing. Knowing the group was waiting for my daily check-in kept me accountable and gave me encouragement to keep going.
2. Choose to make writing a priority
As soon as I decided to pursue this journey, I knew it wouldn’t work unless I made it a priority.
I couldn’t let my to-do list dictate my morning. I was going to write whether I had one or 100 projects due that day. In the grand scheme of it, thirty minutes was not going to make or break my business, but it could make or break my writing process.
3. Sit down and write.
At some point, we just have to do it. We can’t wait for perfect conditions, or the mood to strike, or the planets to align.
One my favorite quotes about writing comes from Anne Tyler; she says “If I waited until I felt like writing, I’d never write at all.”
Not only did writing every day produce tangible results, but it improved my life in other ways.
I was more motivated to meet goals that had nothing to do with writing like cooking homemade meals and going on a walk in the evenings.
Completing these 30 days also gave me a huge boost of confidence. In fact, it inspired me to submit my first guest post – the one you just read!
So, what’s next? I’m going to keep going. I plan to write every day for the rest of the year.
Then write every day of 2017.
Will you join me?