What Do You Need to Write Regularly?

by Julie Glover

“I need to write!” How often do I say that to myself? How often do you say that to yourself?

It can be a challenge to find the time, space, and motivation to write. Let’s tackle each of those and address getting what we need to write regularly.

Your Writing Space

“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” – Virginia Woolf

I had that quote pinned up in my old office, right up until my husband moved his own desk in there, followed by my then-children taking up a third desk. Even then, I had the space to myself while they worked and went to school, though it was everyone’s hangout evenings, weekends, and holidays. Then my kids grew up and moved out, but my husband remained…and retired. So much for having weekdays to myself.

Fast forward a couple of years, and we moved. At first, my hubby had planned to share an office with me again, but through a series of events, the second bedroom has ended up being that “room of her own.” And I’m already getting more done. Not because my family had tried to make my life less productive—they were actually pretty good about letting me work. But having a quiet, dedicated space to myself is what I need to write regularly and productively.

Other authors need people around or background noise, perhaps writing in coffee shops or with the quiet murmurs of their local library. Some write reclined on sofas, and others need ergonomic desk furniture. Some want to be outside or with sunlight streaming through windows, and others want no windows so that they can block out the world.

Considerations for Your Writing Space

Whatever you need is fine, but I wish I’d known a few things about a writing space years ago:

  • Test out variations and measure work productivity. Some places where I’ve written were delightful experiences, but I didn’t get much done. Other options, I thought I wouldn’t do well with, until I tried them.
  • Spend some time and money creating the space you need. Invest in the right seating or monitor stand, or go ahead and pick up a recliner to add to your office if that’s where you brainstorm best. Just put some effort into creating a space conducive to writing.
  • Tell those in your circle what helps you write. If you need quiet, ask for quiet times. If you need every inch of your desk smudged before you begin, warn them that the scent of sage is coming. Whatever it is, just ask for others’ respect and help as you put together a productive space.
  • Be flexible, because it won’t be perfect. Like me, you may have challenges with space and people around you. Just do your best and learn to write within that space. Adjust what you can, but then embrace the rest.

Your Writing Time

If you want to be a writer—stop talking about it and sit down and write! – Jackie Collins

Easier said than done, Jackie. I typed “finding time to write” into the Google search engine and got back approximately 1,090,000,000 results. That’s over one billion hits! So obviously, finding writing time is a struggle for lots of folks.

For one thing, most authors don’t make a living solely writing books, so they often have work of another kind to complete. Then there are the daily tasks one must take care of, with oneself and significant others, children, etc. On top of that, there’s Life, which can throw fastballs, curveballs, and spitballs at you from time to time.

Not surprisingly, the number one slice of advice I hear about this topic is: Protect Your Writing Time.

But what does that look like? Well, like writing space, it looks different for different writers. Some can write on their phone standing in line at the grocery store while others need large blocks of time set aside to get deep into a scene. How big a fortress you need to protect your writing time is up to you and your personality.

WITS Wisdom on Writing Time

Here on WITS, though, there’s plenty of wisdom about finding time to write. Just a few of those posts are:

Your Writing Motivation

What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure. – Samuel Johnson

Everyone who has an idea for a book does not write a book. Everyone who starts a book does not finish a book. Everyone who finishes a book does not edit that book to publication quality.

In summary, it’s hard to write a good book. You have to get motivated and stay motivated.

Personally, I’m great about starting. I have more ideas than I know what to do with, and writing an opening scene delights me to no end. But a writing career is not made of good starts. I have to find ways to keep myself going on the book I’m on, even when I want to say, “Ugh, forget this project. I want to play with that other new, shiny idea!”

Once again, we vary in what motivates us to write. To begin with, some love writing for the process, and others better appreciate the finished product.

Extra Motivation Tips

But here are a few ideas of what might help you find and maintain your motivation to write:

  • Inspiration from other authors. Writing quotes, like the ones I used here, can inspire you when you begin to flounder, as well as hearing others’ stories of success or struggle. Jenny Hansen has a wonderful series of Top 10 Success Tips from various inspiring creatives, and WITS has a whole category titled Inspiration with lots of posts to peruse and find what you need.
  • Goals and Rewards. My critique partner uses spreadsheets to stay on track, while others use whiteboards, detailed planners, or lists to keep themselves motivated. They feel a sense of satisfaction checking off a task, and they may even have a system of personal rewards for doing so. If that’s your thang, go for it.
  • Personal Refreshment. I’m a big fan of taking breaks and doing self-care to keep your mind sharp and your heart engaged. Plenty of writers are more motivated to write after taking a brisk walk, a long hot shower, or a dip in the pool. Make sure to fill your own personal well so that you can pour the words out later.
  • Positive Self-Talk. Often, what we need to get past the bumps and humps of writing is to remind ourselves: “I can write this book. I want to write this book. I will write this book!” That often involves telling your inner critic to shut up and your inner cheerleader to speak up. For me, taking time to remind myself how much I love my story and characters gives me fresh motivation to go back and spend time with them.

Writing Regularly

I originally titled this post What Do You Need to Write? But after a bit of mulling, I added the word “Regularly.” Because that’s what will get books written, edited, and published.

You need space, time, and motivation to write consistently. What each of those entails for you depends on you. But I firmly believe that we won’t get the space, time, and motivation we need unless we consider each intentionally and pursue what helps us produce our best work.

What do you currently lack to be able to write regularly? Do you have any plans to achieve that goal?

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About Julie

Julie Glover is an award-winning author of mysteries and young adult fiction. She also writes supernatural suspense under the pen name Jules Lynn.

Her most recent release is My Team’s Fairy Godmother, the fourth of five YA paranormal short stories.

When not writing, she collects boots, practices rampant sarcasm, and advocates for good grammar and the addition of the interrobang as a much-needed punctuation mark.

Photo credit: StartupStockPhotos and kaboompics from Pixabay 

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