Reasons Not To Write Every Day

Do you worry about writing every day? Should you write every day? Stephen King thinks so, and it works for many other people…but I’m afraid that I’m not one of them.

Here’s the issue – I’ve tried it. I have sat down every single day to hammer out some words. Did it go well? Sure, for a while. But, after a month or so, I found that I couldn’t keep up, and eventually, I was left feeling discouraged, guilty, and actually spending time worrying about it. So, overall, it did not work for me. It does work for some people – I have a friend who writes 1000 words a day. That’s so great, and I celebrate their routine! But for me, it just isn’t suitable. If it doesn’t work for you either, that’s okay. You don’t have to write every day to be a terrific writer. Here’s why:

A Writing Routine Should Fit Your Specific Life

I don’t have a life routine that fits with writing every day. Heck, I’m a small business owner, I have family and friends that need my attention, and I like to do various other things that take up time. That’s okay! Writing is a huge priority of mine, and that’s why I created a writing routine that actually does work for me and fits in with my life. It’s flexible, allows for movement, and means that I write around 4,000 words a week. If you want to create a writing routine that works for you, check out this blog post on doing just that! A writing routine that includes writing every day is absolutely fine if it works for you, but the key is making sure it fits in with your life. We all write best when we have the time. Forcing ourselves to write every day when it doesn’t fit will create feelings that I’ve already outlined – ultimately, it can make us feel dejected. I don’t know about you, but writing while dejected does not make me feel awesome, and it doesn’t equal my best work either.

Breaks are Important Too

A work-life balance is vital, and I think breaks in the week are essential. Breaks can also mean we allow ourselves to get excited about our writing projects, look forward to that moment of creation, and refill the well of creativity.

Writing Is About More Than The Act of Writing

Writing is about so much more than sitting down to write. Writing is about research; it’s about thinking, dreaming, planning. It can involve reading, watching movies, taking action. If you spend time in your week working on your novel, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are spending the time writing. Here’s a little picture of me enjoying my character’s favourite meal, a chuckwagon inspired stew with cornbread.

Writing every day

Giving yourself the time in your week to work on your project without writing isn’t just fun; it can deepen your world and create a richer experience for yourself and the reader.

Flexibility Aids Motivation

Writing every day is a rigid and strict rule that must be broken at some stage. Life happens, and if we restrict ourselves to fixed structures, it is far more likely that these structures will be broken. Instead, a writing routine that allows flexibility can motivate us to work and ultimately means that the idea of ‘breaking the routine’ is not such a demoralising one.

So there you have it – you do not need to write every day to be a fantastic writer. Creating a routine that works for you will make you feel more motivated, better rested, and can generate more words!

If you are ready to chat about creating a writing routine that works with your personal life, get in touch.

If this blog post was helpful to you, share it with another!

Fancy reading something similar?

The Power of Taking Responsibility for Your Writing Journey
How to Harness Your Writing Motivation
Ten Tips for Planning Your Writing Week
The Ultimate Guide to Creating Your Writing Routine


5 Tips to Help You Finish Writing Your Novel

The rumours are true; I can give you five tips and tricks for finishing your novel. But, before I do, I want you to highlight the most important one…taking steps toward putting these into action.

Because, after all of the tips, tricks, and general advice one writer can give another, the most valuable is this: taking imperfect action will get you to your goal.

1. Taking imperfect action

What is imperfect action?
Imperfect action means throwing out the idea that everything you do and create needs to be perfect and committing to taking action that gets you toward your goal instead.

A first draft is a great example. When you’re writing a first draft, the idea is to just get the story down on paper. It doesn’t matter if later you will need to change that characters name, or if actually, the villain should be crueller, or even that you have continuously misspelt the word ‘sandwich’.

Take imperfect action and allow yourself to make mistakes, get work done, and achieve your dream.

2. Create a realistic writing routine

Oh, I do go on about creating a writing routine, don’t I?
Yes, and here’s why: it changed my life.
It enabled me to write two novels in a year, complete a full-time Creative Writing PhD while working two jobs, and more.

Creating a routine that works for you is how to write your novel and get that dream achieved!

Want to know how it’s done? Look no further than the Ultimate Guide to Creating Your Writing Routine – right here.

3. Give yourself a deadline

Deadlines are your friend! Once you have your writing routine ready and you are committed to taking imperfect action, set a realistic deadline that will allow you to write your novel. Once it’s set, tell other people about it so that you have some accountability. You’re more likely to strive toward a goal if a deadline is set and you have other people who are aware of it.

4. Set clear boundaries

Everyone has different people vying for their time, whether it’s partners, kids, dogs, friends…the list is endless. It’s up to you to set clear boundaries with others so that you can use your writing time as your own.

Tell other people what your writing routine is. Stick it up on the fridge. Close the door when you need to, and give yourself the chance to achieve your goal.

Once you reach small successes – from hitting that word count in the week or getting half of your novel written, make sure you involve the people in your life in the celebration of this. That way, they are far more likely to respect your time, boundaries and will be excited to be a part of your journey – even though they’re not allowed in the room when you’re actually writing.

5. Use the compound effect

The compound effect is the idea that small steps equal big success. Got ten minutes? Don’t let it get away by using it on procrastination; grab it with a pen and paper and get one hundred words down. Taking advantage of those moments will increase more than your word count; it will get you closer to your goal of writing your novel.

Found this post helpful?
Share it with other writers! You can also find similar posts that you will find helpful here:

Need a hand with finishing your book?

Get in touch. As a certified coach, and with a PhD, MA and BA in Creative Writing, I can help you get space cleared in your life to write your novel. A discovery call with me is free, informal and friendly. It’s the opportunity to talk about what you’re struggling with in your writing life. Why not give it a go?


The Ultimate Guide to Creating Your Writing Routine

A 7 Step Journey from Time Poor to Productive Writer

Did you know that only 3% of aspiring authors finish their manuscript?

Now, of course, there are potentially plenty of reasons for why this is, from maintaining the desire to write to having the information you need to write a novel…but I’m going to take a guess here that one of the prevailing reasons is time.

This is actually more than a guess, this is based on my research into the pain points of aspiring authors online.

Time to write is vital. Writing a novel takes persistence, writing knowledge, a thick skin, hard work, the list goes on and on, but the thing writing a novel really requires? More time.

So, what if I told you that the answer to this issue was as simple as creating a writing routine that actually works with your life? Whatever your reaction is to that, surely it’s worth a shot.

If you’re ready to go from time poor to productive writer, read on!

My Experience of Time

Years ago I was in a high-pressure time sensitive situation all the time.

I was working two jobs alongside completing my full-time Creative Writing PhD. Time was precious, and I felt overwhelmed and tired.

Then, I developed a way to cope and followed the techniques I’m about to present for your reading pleasure in this blog post. After this, I thrived in each of my roles. I had a waiting list of students trying to get onto my creative writing classes, and full mark observations of my teaching. I won business excellence awards at a national level in my part-time office job. I completed my PhD in four years with minor corrections.

Since then, I’ve put my routine building skills to good use, planning my wedding for four months from the day my partner proposed, writing two novels in one year with time for querying, and more.

So, come in a little closer writer, I’m about to tell you my secrets of productivity!

1. Pinpointing Your Time Wasters

We all waste time in our week, and that’s absolutely fine.

After all, life is not just a series of work tasks to be completed – sometimes there is pleasure to be had in sitting on the sofa, switching on the television, and delighting in a little bit of time wasting.

But when this delightful time wasting turns into a daily habit, it often stops becoming enjoyable and can turn into a negative practice.

The first step of building your writing habit is to pinpoint those time wasters in your week. How much time do you spend mindlessly scrolling, for example?

Once you understand what tasks fill up your week, and which ones you feel you can do without, you can start to understand where space exists for your writing.

2. Weekly Goals over Daily Goals

Setting daily goals can often be an inflexible way of planning, meaning that there is no space for movement.

This in turn can lead to stress – after all, inflexibility in a routine means that the routine is most likely not sustainable.

Instead, weekly goals can help you achieve your writing ambitions.

Ask yourself what you would like to achieve this time next month, and then break down your goal into weekly easy to digest chunks.

For example, now you know that you would like to have written ten thousand words in one month, how will that fit into each week?

3. Your Creative Data

‘What on earth is creative data?!’ I hear you ask.

Well, it’s the time it takes you to write.

Next time you are writing, keep an eye on the clock and check how many words it takes you to write in one hour. Don’t race or hurry yourself along, because this is not realistic. Your data should be honest in order to work for you.

Once you know how many words you can write in one hour, on a normal day, you can understand how many words you can fit into a week.

4. Overestimating Your Time

Always overestimate how long it will take you to complete a task.

You might be able to write five hundred words in fifteen minutes on a good day when the work is planned, the sun is shining, and the house is quiet – but how many words can you write realistically in one hour?

For example, I write ninety words a minute, but when I’m writing creatively it can be more like ten words a minute. My personal best is 714 words in fifteen minutes…but on some days it takes me two hours to write 1000 words!

Overestimating how long it will take based on my creative data ensures a space in my calendar for the actual amount of words I’d like to get written.

5. Planning Flexibility

Life happens, and sometimes there is nothing we can do to stop it.

We can balance our writing routines by ensuring that there is space for some movement and flexibility.

For example, time blocking back to back and squeezing writing in where we can is one thing, but leaving small gaps in between tasks in the day will mean that there is movement for something to change.

This also means ensuring that if one writing session is missed, another one won’t be too hard to find.

For example, I don’t usually write on the weekend unless I missed a session in the week. Having that option means that my writing routine doesn’t get thrown out if life throws a spanner into my washing machine.

6. Building a Habit

Building a habit is something that I talk about often because it is a powerful way of keeping yourself writing.

It takes three weeks to build a habit into your life, and three weeks to lose one. So, once you have your writing routine ready, try it for at least three weeks to really give it a shot.

Building a habit requires the following:

Cue – An alert to remind you the habit is about to start.

Craving – Imagining the action. Inspire yourself by thinking of how wonderful it will be to write, how it will feel to have the finished product.

Response – The act of writing.

Reward – The incentive to write, whether it’s a cup of tea, an hour of your favourite show, or a pat on the back.

So, once you know what your time wasters are, you have set yourself your weekly goals based on your creativity data, you’ve overestimated your time and ensured that you have movement for flexibility in your week it’s time to start this writing habit by setting alerts into your calendar.

Once the alarm goes off, don’t ignore it, pay attention and imagine the action of writing. See yourself completing the task.

7. Holding Yourself Accountable 

This is key! No one can tell this story but you, so it’s time to keep yourself accountable.

Use rewards, be clear and realistic in your planning, and set yourself up for success!

If you struggle with holding yourself to account it might be a good idea to find an accountability partner who can support you.

This is exactly where a writing coach comes in useful! Through my work with my clients, I hold them accountable to action points they set themselves and investigate any issues that stop them from achieving.

Complete these seven steps and see how your writing routine grows beneath you – try it out for three weeks, and you’ll have a word count to be proud of.

Found this post useful?
Share away and help other writers create a routine that works for them!

Check out these related posts:

Want some free writing books?

Click here to grab The Writer’s Toolkit and The Writer’s Way!

Ready to create your own writing routine?

Get in touch.
I help authors write their novels and create a writing routine that takes them from procrastination to print, and I would love to help you! Click here for more information. 


Ten Tips for Planning Your Writing Week

Do you want to make the most of your week? The best way is to get ahead of yourself and get planning. If you prepare and set yourself up for success, you have a far better chance of getting those pesky words written on the page!

Prepare before your week begins.

For example, if you begin your week on a Monday, get ready on a Sunday. Heading into the week with an action plan is the best way to face it – otherwise, time can really drift away!

De-clutter your writing area.

Whether it’s a desk, the area around your favourite chair, or nestled against a bookcase – clear the space the day before you intend to begin. Sitting down in a tidy area to write will mean that you can give all your attention to your work, and none of it to the demands of the space.

Set your word count – and stick to it.

Setting a word count is a really effective way of getting as much written as possible, but make sure you keep it realistic and don’t set yourself up to fail. For example, if you set 10,000 words but know that you have an extra busy week coming up, lessen it to something you know you can achieve.

On a normal week, I set myself the challenge of 4,000 words. I know that I can fit this around my work schedule, and sometimes I’ll even write a few hundred words over.

Look at the week ahead and plan out your spare time. What space do you have available for writing?

How much can you write in an hour? What’s realistic?

Set reminders on your phone.

Once you know where you have spare time coming up in the week ahead and you’ve set your word count, divide the word count by the time you have and set reminders. You may set a reminder to write 500 words on a Tuesday evening, for example, which you estimate will take you thirty minutes.

Get your rewards ready.

Having rewards already set up will drive you to get that writing done! Rewards are a big part of creating a habit and help drive you to take action. You’re more likely to get a word count completed if you know a reward is waiting for you. Your reward doesn’t have to be flashy, high in sugar or expensive. It can be half an hour alone to read your favourite book or a new candle. Whatever is special and important to you!

writing tips writing coach

Talk to people about your plans.

Whether you live with someone or not, tell a person close to you about your writing plans for the week. Ask them to hold you accountable. Studies show that people have more goal commitment if they tell others about their goals!

Ask a friend to help you achieve your word count by asking how it’s going. You could even promise to tell your writing friends on Instagram and hold yourself accountable that way.


Sit back for a moment and imagine how awesome you will feel by the end of the week if you’ve achieved your writing goals. Visualisation of achieving and satisfaction is another big part of forming a habit!

Set your expectations with those around you.

If you require half an hour to yourself on a Tuesday night, make sure that everyone around you is aware of it. Tell them that you would like to be left alone to work during that time, and set your expectations ahead of time. That way, everyone knows where they stand, what the goal is, and you’re more likely to get that time alone.

Research ahead of time.

Research time can take away from writing time, and it’s so easy to get into a rabbit hole of research and waste that time you had put aside for writing. Spend some time thinking about what you would like to write about during the designated period – what’s the chapter going to be about?

Will you need to do any research ahead of time? How can you best prepare to get the words written?

Be kind to yourself.

Remember – if you don’t get the goal achieved, it’s okay – life really does happen.

There’s a fine line between making yourself write and giving yourself a hard time for not writing – if your plans go totally array, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and make a plan for the next week with gusto.