“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” — Thomas Mann
Isaac Assimov wrote or edited over 500 books and roughly 90,000 letters in his life.
Romance novelist Barbara Cartland wrote more than 700 books.
Stephen King has written 60-full length works of fiction and nearly 200 short stories.
How on earth does one become so prolific?
The most important lesson I’ve taken away from the writers I admire most is simple in its prose: one can’t write if they don’t first sit down to do it.
The discipline required to plant ourselves and simply begin has become extraordinarily rare in an age of constant distraction and mindless entertainment.
But as some of the great writers of our time have proven, it is possible.
Here Are 3 Surefire Ways to Help You Write More Consistently
Don’t wait for inspiration
“I’m not any less confused about it than you are. I just got in the habit of doing it.” — David Mamet
What the Isaac Assimov’s and Hemingway’s of the world understood is you can’t simply wait for divine revelation to strike.
YOU have to strike first.
You have to write whether you feel like it or not and, here’s the key, be consistent.
This means falling madly in love with failure, being able to stomach your work being bad, and setting a time each day where you write without distraction.
The better we become at creating environments where we thrive, the better our chances of success.
You can also implement a writing regimen. Maybe you put pen to paper every morning from 6:00 am — 6:30 am before the rest of the world, or at least your family rises.
Perhaps you work until you’ve written 500 words.
Whatever the case, setting a criterion can help immensely. Constraints inspire creativity.
Don’t be thwarted by the criticism of others
“The strength of a person’s spirit would then be measured by how much ‘truth’ he could tolerate…” — Friedrich Nietzsche
Playwright Edward Albee once told a critic, “I didn’t stop writing because you didn’t like it.”
If you’re writing consistently, chances are the work is not always going to be great.
In fact, a lot of it will likely be underwhelming. The key is to not let that stop you from trying.
As playwright David Mamet once said, “You gotta stand being bad if you want to be a writer cause if you don’t you’re never going to write anything good.”
One of the greatest obstacles to becoming a master craftsman is the inability to tolerate something not being great. The key is to appreciate the road to mastery is a long and fleeting journey, but you can only get there if you keep going.
Set up small “wins.”
Author, photographer, and weightlifter James Clear talks a great deal about small wins. His weekly newsletter devoted to uncovering habits and routines that make people extraordinary goes out every week come rain, sleet, or snow.
He understands there will be days where he just doesn’t feel like writing, lifting, or snapping photos.
But he’s disciplined himself to think better than he feels.
You may write 5 sentences one day, or 2 the next. But rather than criticizing yourself for not being Shakespeare you can honor the effort.
And if you feel like you’re in a perpetual state of aggravation it’s likely your expectations are too high.
Don’t be afraid to lower the bar and redefine what success looks like. If you’ve sat down and written anything you can tally that up as a win for the day and gradually build from there.
When we’re frustrated we often surrender too quickly, resorting instead to emails, texts, and other distractions.But it takes courage to sit with something when it’s not going well. Over time, that courage evolves into grit.
Whether we write one word or a thousand, focusing on being proactive regardless of how significant the output is a fundamental part of writing consistently.
Just get started.