Have you ever found yourself procrastinating, feeling unfocused and undisciplined, so that your writing is mood-dependent and inconsistent?
Ever miss a writing day, and then find yourself still not writing weeks or even months later?
Sometimes it can feel like you just can’t find the time to write and life is filled with distractions coming between you and your work-in-progress. (And that might feel easier if only you weren’t married to, or have given birth to, some of those most pressing distractions!)
I’m guessing that you end up feeling frustrated because it feels like you’re not able to get a sense of momentum — am I right?
This was an issue that came up recently when I was interviewing some of my First Book Finish students. We were talking about how I can improve the program for the next time I run it (doors open mid-March — put it on your calendar!) and I asked them what they had experienced before joining the program.
It felt a bit like deja-vu.
I have definitely been there myself. This is a number of years ago now, but I went through a period where I just wasn’t writing consistently. My thought process was just all messed up.
Here’s how the thoughts went through my mind:
“I’m a writer; I should be writing. I really want to finish my book of short stories.”
“Okay, I’ll write tomorrow. I’ll get up at 6am and write for two hours in the morning before I start work. That’s a good plan.”
“That’s a bad plan. You hate waking up early.”
“So, when are you going to write, then?”
“I’ll write in the evening, and I’ll have a glass of wine so it can be like a treat to look forward to.”
“That’s good plan!”
But then that evening would come, and I would be sooo tired after a day’s work and I wouldn’t write. (I’d still have the wine though! LOL)
And then my thought process looked a little like this:
“You suck. You’re so lazy. A “real writer” would be writing tonight.”
“Well, I guess I’m not a real writer then.” [Publications and even awards as evidence to the contrary!]
“You’re never going to finish this book.”
“Probably just as well because the stories aren’t that great anyway. Not like Karen Russell’s stories, and certainly not as good as the other writers you know. Just give up.”
Yep, it got nasty real quick! And then — no big surprise — I wouldn’t write. And I wasn’t writing consistently for some time, which ultimately ended up having an impact on my emotional and mental health. It wasn’t pretty…and this lasted a few months.
So please believe me when I say that well-worn phrase “I’ve been there.” Soooo been there. Bought the t-shirt and lived in it for a few days at a time without a shower. (TMI?)
Six Steps to Becoming a Consistent Writer
When this happened to me, I became really invested in figuring out how to become a consistent writer. Because in the end, what mattered most to me was my relationship with writing and so I needed to figure it out.
I went deep into creativity science and the social science on motivation and I was able to transform my relationship with writing and — yes! — finish my book of short stories and another poetry manuscript after that. I put all of that, and a whole bunch of love for writers facing the same kind of challenges, into my First Book Finish program when it launched last year.
Here are the Six Steps to Becoming a Consistent Writer, as I see them:
- Believe in the Power of Writing
- Cultivate Self-Compassion
- Embrace a Growth Mindset
- Cultivate Community
- Deal with Your Distractions
- Be Honest with Yourself
There's a lot to be said about each of these, and you don’t have to wait until the First Book Finish program opens up again to hear more. I’ve created a special guide you can download NOW that walks through everything I’ve learned. It’s called “Six Steps to Becoming a Consistent Writer” and not only do I go through those six steps in detail in the guide, but I also give you an Action Plan at the end, so you can take concrete actions to solve this issue for yourself and become the consistent writer you’ve always dreamed of being.
Get the guide here: https://rhonda-douglas.mykajabi.com/consistent-writer-guide
I hope it’s helpful. More than anything, I wish for you the kind of relationship with your writing that keeps you writing consistently.