Good writing comes from two things. Lots of reading and lots of writing. There’s just no getting around it. But you hopefully already knew that.
Our Feature Friday author Kim Vandel, recommended writers to “read, read, read.” I used to be one of those types who would find time to write but rarely to read. Then one day, I stumbled upon something one of the most prolific writer, Stephen King, wrote. He said, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write.”
Many writers I know are in the same boat. Maybe they’re a full time employee at a tech startup working long hours and can only find time to write on the weekends. Maybe they’re a stay at home mom writing witty sentences in between cleaning, errands, playing with the baby and nap times. Or maybe they’re a physical trainer and part time bar tender writing in between shifts.
Whatever the case, I get it. I’m there too.
King reads 4-6 hours every day. When I first heard that my heart sank. I could never find time for that. And if I magically did, I can promise you I wouldn’t have any additional time for writing. But then I had an idea. Something that I’ve started doing that works. Something you can do too.
Read However You Can
What do I mean by this? Think about the down time in your day. Time when your brain is in a semi state of vegetation. For me it happens while commuting to work, grocery shopping, getting ready in the morning, cooking and working out. I now use those times to “read”.
Reading doesn’t have to mean physically opening a book. For me, I started listening to audio books. While not a new revelation, it struck me like an explosive hook punch one day. My life is never going to slow down and I’m not every going to be able to cuddle up with a good book for hours on end every day. While I’m still never going to hit six hours, when listening to books, I can get in a good two or three hours every day.
Why is this so important? Because to improve your writing you have to be reading. Yes, practicing the craft is vital to development, but so is observing others’ works of art. What’s working? What’s not? You can learn so much from others just while going about your daily routine if you’re willing to listen.
Grit Your Teeth and Write
This is the second piece to writing success.
No duh. Easier said than done though… The real question is, what will you do about it? How will you incorporate writing into your routine? Because if you don’t, there will never be a “slower time” or a time when you’re “just at a good point financially” or “feeling inspired”. Do it now.
King writes around ten pages a day no matter how long it takes him. Set a goal for yourself and stick to it! Start with something easy. Try something achievable like a thousand words a day. You can take it from there.
Whatever you goal is, go for it and don’t look back!
Candace signing off to meet my daily writing goal.
Photo credit: corriemahrphotography.com
2 thoughts on “The Practice of Writing”
I think a thousand words can still be a lot for some people! One thing that can be less intimidating is to develop a daily writing practice where you simply pick a set amount of time for writing, so that you don’t feel the pressure to get a certain number of words on the page. Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones has some really great advice for developing a daily writing practice…