How to Commit to Writing Your Novel

How to Commit to your novel

How to Commit to your novelTruly committing to your writing can be an exciting yet intimidating thing to do. But if you ever hope to reach your writing goals, commitment is important! So with that in mind, today we’re going to talk about why you need to commit to your writing and how to make it happen!

Why you need to commit to your writing

An inconsistent schedule will hurt you down the line

I try to avoid generalizing, so I’m not going to say it’s impossible to write a book if you only work on it a few days a year, or whenever inspiration strike, or whenever you have time. After all, there may be someone out there who can spit out 10k-15k words a day in a few ridiculously productive bursts. But what I will say is that, even in that best-case scenario, you’re only really setting yourself up to write one book. Because this type of inconsistent work cycle only works if you’re not on a deadline and one is expecting material from you. If you only want to write one book in your life, then this may work for you. But if you want a writing career, consistency is important. And to create consistency, you need to commit to it.

You won’t prioritize your writing dreams and goals if you don’t commit to them

If you aren’t committed to your writing, then you’re not committed to the future you want for yourself. Without a commitment and a semi-serious schedule/plan, you’re saying your goals and dreams aren’t that important. Or at the very least, you’re saying that other things are more important. And sure, sometimes they are. Family is important. A job/money to live on is important. But sometimes, the other commitments sucking up your time aren’t really more important. For example, maybe you don’t really need to watch two hours of TV every night. Or, maybe you don’t really need to spend all of your half-hour lunch break with your co-workers. I can’t tell you what is or what should be important in your life, but I will say it’s really hard to make any goal come true if you don’t decide it’s important enough to be a priority. Writing is no exception.

Your book likely won’t get finished if you don’t commit to it

Like I said, I try not to generalize, so I don’t want to say there’s no chance of finishing a book without fully committing to it, but it’s highly unlikely that you will. Books take a lot of time and a lot of work. What starts out as a really exciting idea can become can start to fizzle out when you find yourself in the middle of your first draft with no clue what comes next. At a time like that, it can be easy to walk away. It gets exceptionally easier when a friend calls and wants to get dinner during your writing time. But if you give up on your book or pass on writing time for friend time, it will be almost impossible to finish your novel. And this is really why it’s so important to commit to your writing.

How to commit to your writing

Don’t let “commitment” scare you

I think commitment has become an intimidating word to some of us. It can make us feel locked in and trapped. It can make writing feel like a chore, or like it’s one more thing on an already too long to do list. Instead, think of your writing commitment as something exciting. You GET to write on a regular basis. You GET to escape for just a little while and work towards the goals. And you GET to spend time with your book, your characters, and yourself. It’s a good thing and an exciting thing! If you can remind yourself of that, it will likely make your commitment a lot more manageable.

Start small

Just because it’s a commitment, doesn’t mean it has to be a big one–especially if you’re just getting in the swing of things. It’s okay if your commitment is 15-30 minutes, 3-5 days a week. Or if it’s any leftover time on your lunch break or an hour every Saturday. The key is to be consistent. Ideally, you’ll write more regularly than once a week, but if that’s where you need to start, then that’s where you start. Get used to honoring a small commitment and when you’re ready, make it a more regular one.

If it helps, think small

Another potentially intimidating part of committing to writing a book is the idea of actually Writing a Book. A book is a big undertaking! They’re hundreds of pages long and there are a lot of moving parts. It needs to be drafted and revised and polished. It’s important to keep sight of the big picture, but it’s even more important to keep yourself from getting overwhelmed with what it really means to Write a Book. So instead, get used to your commitment by thinking small. Every day that you sit down to write, only think about the task you have to complete that day. If you make some kind of progress, no matter how small, you’ve honored your commitment. Let that fuel you to come back again.

Reward yourself for showing up

Plan some kind of reward for yourself for simply showing up to your writing. Down the line, you can reward yourself more for reaching your goals, but in the beginning, celebrate the fact that you’re building a consistent schedule. The size of your reward and the frequency are completely up to you, but don’t let yourself off the hook! Only treat yourself if you actually meet the guidelines you set out for yourself. So, if you decide you’ll reward yourself for showing up as planned for a full five day work week, you can’t decide only showing up four days is “close enough.” Don’t cheat yourself.

Focus on building a writing habit, not finishing a book

Similarly, make sure your goals are clear when you get started. Personally, I think it’s more healthy and sustainable to consider committing to building a writing habit, not just finishing your book. If you take the time to commit and build a sustainable habit, your book WILL get done. It may take a while, but it’ll happen. If you measure your success by how close you are to being done, it can be easy to get frustrated by the time investment and setbacks. It might make you less inclined to continue your commitment. But if success is showing up and moving forward, you’ll feel the success and benefits of your commitment daily. And before long, you’ll have your completed book (and maybe, you’ll even be on your way to more).

I hope this helps you commit to your writing!

Now it’s your turn: Have you struggled to commit to your writing? If you have, what are some roadblocks? If you haven’t, what helped you commit? Tell me about it in the comments!

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