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How I Finally Cultivated The Discipline To Write Daily

How I Finally Cultivated The Discipline To Write Daily

If you’ve been on this blog for some time, you’d know I’m lazy at writing.

I’ve long known the importance of writing daily, but the discipline to practice it has often eluded me. I’ve confessed about that laziness on this blog here, here and here.

But now, I’m glad to tell you the game has changed. For at least 120 days in a row, I’ve written every day. Even on my wedding day!

And by writing, I don’t mean just replying to emails or social media messages – dozens of which I get daily.

Write daily

I mean actually putting pen to paper to express myself. Sometimes, it’s a blog post. Sometimes it’s part of my next book. Sometimes, it’s just a random expression of some ideas that I’ll never read again, let alone publish.

And I can confirm it, that writing daily heals. It frees your mind. It boosts your confidence. It sharpens your observation skills.

And more importantly, it strengthens your writing muscles.

Stephen King in his amazing book, On Writing, relates how once he didn’t write for several weeks due to an accident, and how his words weren’t flowing well when he started to write again.

Yes, that’s Stephen King – one of the greatest writers living today. If writing inconsistency could weaken his writing muscles, who are you?

Although I’ve not mastered them all, below are the 10 helpful strategies I devised to finally defeat my lack of discipline to write daily.

I recommend them for you too:

1. Show up: Write for at least 30 minutes a day. Do the writing as early in the day as possible so you can still have ample time, creative energy and concentration.

2.: Be intentional: Tell your friends and family this is who you are, and let them respect it.

3. Appointment: Being a writer tends to make people bump into your schedule too often. So fix an appointment with yourself during which you’ll write and don’t let your friends and family step into it.

4. Don’t edit yet: Don’t edit while writing. Just write. Editing while writing gives voice to your inner critic who might discourage you.

5. Don’t wait for inspiration. If a carpenter does, he would never make a chair. So just write. Even if the writing turns out too bad to be published or even read by you, the process will still help you.

6. Go one day at a time. Don’t write too hard today to buy time for tomorrow or next week. Let each day take care of itself.

7. Write anywhere. Don’t tie yourself to a specific location. Accept the fact you can write anywhere. Do it.

8. Shut off distractions. No internet during writing time. Not even on your phone. I violate this often but I know I need it and I’m working on getting better at it each day

9. Be human. Accept the fact you’re human and have limitations. If a crisis bumps into your writing time one day, don’t let it erode your routine. Just forgive yourself and keep your appointment the next day.

10. Take feedback. Move with other writers and share your works with them. Start a blog. Publish. Take feedback. It will make you feel good so you can write even more. Daily.

That’s it.

Stop reading about writing, why you should do it and how best to do it.

Start doing what matters – writing. Daily.

You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page. ~ Jodie Picoult [Click to tweet]

Question: Do you write daily? If yes, how do you do it? If no, how will you start it? You can leave a comment below.

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About Muhammed Abdullahi Tosin

Writer. Difference Maker. Entrepreneur. Author, Your Right To Write & Vertical Writing. Winner, 11 Writing Prizes.

Comments

  1. Wow, thanks a lot Abdullah. Writing daily is a real difficult task but it’s surmountable.

    It really takes one with lots of discipline, dedication, and patience to do it.

    But, if I may digress a little bit, what about the writer’s block in which you want to write and nothing comes. I think most at times writing can be inspirational and sometimes nothing shows up, so in that case what happens.

    As for me, I’m really far from it but I believe I’ll adjust with time.

    • Shehu, you have to “create and follow” your own pace.

      As much time as I have, I write.

      I have about 1000 unedited articles and I still write – daily.

      It’s a habit you have to let sink into you – with time.

    • Hello Shehu, those are great insights. Most times, writer’s block attacks you when you want to write a piece that will move mountains. I believe the essence of writing daily is not to write great pieces every day. It’s to strengthen your writing muscle.

      Think of it this way: you fetch water from a stream with a dirty basket daily. The basket can’t take water home but it will surely become clean.

      So forget inspiration. Just write daily. Write anything. Sometimes, it will turn out great. Other times, it will be mediocre. The result is not up to you. Your job is to show up and write.

    • Thanks Mr. M.A.T i am truely grateful for your time patient and all you’ve put into writing and reading and coaching the upcoming writers irrespective of their culture, religion, gender or colour you’re of a true a true coach… thanks once again from all of us here in Readers and Writers Association of Nigeria (RWAN)…
      sign: Management

  2. Thanks man, you’ve been a mentor for ages…

  3. This is great, Abdullahi.
    I’ be also been fighting this overtime and I am getting to its finishing line stronger, day after day.

    Saw these “semmingly” errors in the article and I’d like you to look into them.

    Strategy 2: Who you (are)
    7: the fact (that) you are
    9: accept the fact (that) you are human.

    I am still a learner o.

    Just look into those and let me know…

  4. Good to hear that you ve written for that long. Thats a good start. I am always motivated by the author of “bird by bird” who says “write those shitty first drafts”.

    We also often forget that nobody needs to see those first drafts we write. So, grab your pen and start writing.
    Overcoming the writers block cam seemingly be surmounted by just writing anything till you find something to write. Another advise is good writers are also good readers. You must endeavour read widely from newspapers, to blog posts to good books, novels, and so on.

    Write for yourself a manifesto. I goes a long way to spur you to write. Most importantly, you just have to show up everyday to write.

    • Anne Lamott’s book is indeed an indispensable companion for every serious writer. Thanks for mentioning it, Anu. I love your revelation (that’s what it looks like to me) about us forgetting that the world needs not see our shitty first drafts. 😉

  5. The words of this post sink in my mind. It’s no lie that frequent writing enriches our brain and writing ability. As par blockage in inspirations however, I think Abdullah has shown us another way out, today.

    If I may say, from each article you write or read, you detect another matter to address in a new article. Thus the inspiration keeps regenerating.

    Lets just keep the spirit.

  6. Ovye Timothy Anzaku says:

    Quite an inspiring piece. Knowing one has the innate talent is one thing, having the discipline to sit down and do the writing is another. Knowing that one has the writing talent and not being able to express it can be a huge burden in the heart. I find ur post quite useful because i am a victim of this. I hope to change soon. You are doingma great job, Tosin. Keep it up.

  7. Wow inciting and motivating comments by contributors so far.

    Inspired to do more

  8. obinna Jones says:

    Inspirational and rational (what does rational mean sef?) nice one sha.

  9. Writing daily has been alluding me for ages now, even though i have know the importance long ago. Thanks for this post coach. Like you rightly advised, i noticed the days i have woken up early to write were great, less distractions, thus good concentration. That timing is just perfect. Thanks once again coach, i will make sure i start doing the needful.

  10. truly people who wait for perfect conditions never makes anytin done.

    writing daily is one of the most important and d hardest thing to do but once it is done, u feel elated and an endorphine hormone is released into ur blood which is d feel good factor. its like your head is heavy before, but now its light.

    But d question is dis my able mentor
    Is there anybody that likes writing?
    What if they keep writing daily and nothing seems to come out of it? will such a person not be frustrated?

    gud a.m

  11. Hi Abdullahi,

    Writing daily was a nightmare to me…as you, I was an excellent procrastinator and always had a reason to put things off – till 1st January this year…one of my resolution was to start a blog that would be a public diary (no niche – just my thoughts for the day as they came).

    And, you know what? This worked like a charm! Today, I share my thoughts daily on akaahanterungwa(dot) com and so far, I’m proud of the venture.

    It would also amaze you to know that the idea of procrastination vanished when I made it a point of duty to write – unfailingly, everyday. Also, I have discovered that crafting other pieces of content just got easier…

    BTW, I completely concur that the best time to actually write is first thing in the morning…that has worked wonders for me; it should work for any serious writer too.

    Do make the day great!

    Always,
    Akaahan Terungwa

    P.S.

    Congratulations on your wedding…a wife is one of the best thing a man can ever have! I sincerely wish you a joyful and supremely fruitful union.

    • Thanks, Terungwa, for validating the ‘write daily’ idea. It’s refreshing knowing you’re also on that awesome writing train.

      I didn’t know of your personal blog before now. It’s awesome, like your other projects. I appreciate your goodwill.

  12. i will like to be a good writer. am trying my best to do that. but am actually good @ poetry

  13. i really appreciate your skills bro abdullahi

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