A foolish consistency may be the hobgoblin of little minds, but a productive consistency is the foundation upon which rests solid writing. Plus, Emerson wasn’t talking about writers.
First, let’s swallow a hard truth: Most of your writing will be unusable in its raw form. Even when I write these blog posts, I delete and revise (or even completely discard) 60% of what I write. With my formal writing, the numbers are worse.
But great final products are built upon a mountain of discarded words. To get there, you have to experiment, tease, rummage through your brain, and just generally enjoy the craft. That won’t happen without a commitment to writing—a lot.
Don’t sit down to write with the belief that you have to use whatever you type. You’ll likely be frustrated. But do sit down with the goal to get something written each day. False starts and unusable bits often generate ideas that you can develop later.
If you’re working on a longer project, make sure that you have the time to dedicate to it consistently. For example, a draft of a novel could take weeks or months to complete. Do your best to work on the draft each morning, night, or whenever your writing time is. Picking back up after a hiatus often means losing your mindset and flow.
Don’t just put your toes in the water; get immersed and stay immersed.
Here are some questions for evaluation:
- Are you writing each day?
- Are you making excuses for not getting in front of the computer?
- Do you feel like you have to use whatever you write?
- Is frustration with unusable drafts causing you to avoid trying?
- Do you have time to commit to a long-term writing project on a consistent basis?
- Who holds you accountable?
The Writer’s Checkup
Read the intro for background.
- Time Management
- Style and Voice