Writing is a skill like any other. Having a talent for it is a good start, but “practice” makes perfect and is what separates the professionals from everyone else. Luckily, there’s a simple tactic you can use to make sure this happens: writing every day.
Easier said than done, right? There are all sorts of reasons you might struggle to put pen to paper (or fingertips to keyboard) regularly. Your motivation might be low. You might be stuck, unsure where your story needs to go next.
Or – and this is probably the most common one – life just gets in the way. Writing every day is tough when you’ve got family commitments or you work another job alongside your screenwriting. How do you carve out the time to write when there’s no spare time in the day?
We’ll provide some hints and tips below – but before that, it’s important to remember how much writing every day will help you.
The best musicians practice their craft every day. So do athletes, training themselves both body and mind for the next race or game. They make sure to keep moving forwards, even if only slightly, consolidating their skills so that things that once seemed difficult become instinctual.
Writing every day has the same benefit. You might not be developing muscle memory, but skill acquisition works the same way no matter the skill. Progress every day, no matter how small, leads to greater gains than trying to develop a skill quickly and then abandoning it for a month.
Another major benefit to writing every day is that it keeps your projects moving forward. Even one page per day adds up over time – that’s approximately three feature scripts per year!
So, here are some hints and tips for writing every day and keeping the momentum going:
- Keep track of how often you manage to write. A simple spreadsheet saying “Yes” or “No” can show you if you’re hitting your targets. If too many “Nos” show up, you know you need to write more! Color code it too so you can see at a glance.
- Don’t aim too high. Nobody at the gym starts lifting the heaviest weights first – they start light and work their way up. Do the same with writing. Set yourself small, achievable targets instead of setting yourself up to fail.
- Just write. This one’s for all of you who might feel stuck. If you don’t know where your story’s going next, just writing something. Anything. You’ll be surprised how often, looking back the next day, you’ll find it actually reads okay. And if it doesn’t, you can analyze why not so you can fix it – which you can’t do with a blank page!
- Make it a habit. Try to write at the same time every day, making it part of your daily schedule. If you’re struggling to get away from the chaos of everyday life, even just ten minutes at lunchtime will make all the difference. Remember: it all adds up in the end.
- Get creative with how you write, not just what you write. You don’t always have to sit down at your typewriter/computer/pen and paper to make progress. Try dictating into your phone while doing other things, or keeping a notepad in the car so you can jot down a line or two when you get a spare minute.
- Don’t put yourself down after a missed day or two. Just because you didn’t write yesterday doesn’t mean you can’t write today. When you miss a target, just move on and do your best to hit the next. Failure is a natural part of life – learn to embrace it, and you’ll come out stronger.
There you have it – our hints and tips for writing every day. If you’re still stuck and struggling, we’d also recommend checking out the WriteMovies 100-Day Creative Challenge, a series of daily exercises to get the creative juices flowing and improve your skills.
So what are you waiting for? There’s no time like the present. Get writing – and keeping doing it every day!