The home cleaning website Flylady.net is devoted to helping people establish routines for getting rid of their clutter and keeping their houses clean. Flylady starts everyone off with only one task to do every day–shine your kitchen sink. From there you take baby steps to add more items to your routine until the next thing you know, your house is consistently no more than 15 min away from being company-ready.
And it all starts with the shiny sink.
What is a writer’s shiny sink? What is the one thing we should do every day to start building our routines on? The obvious answer is write every day. [Groan, I know! I know!] It all starts with the writing. You can’t edit what you don’t have. You can’t sell what you don’t have.
So if you need to change up your routine so you can write every day, here is a list of 10 ways to write every day:
2. Set a number of pages/day—like 1, or 5, or 10 (remember baby steps!)
3. Set the number of scenes or chapters/day—like one chapter
4. Set a time limit, such as one hour before the kids get up, or one hour after they go to bed. Or, like Flylady says, “You can do anything for 15 min.” Set the timer.
5. Take your laptop to a coffee shop.
6. Find a writing partner—not to do the work for you but to keep yourself accountable. You have to check in with each other every day.
7. Graph it—record how much you write in a spreadsheet.
8. Keep a writer’s chore chart.
9. Create a writer’s playlist—only play this music when you are writing to get that pavlovian response. True confessions—I happen to play ABBA’s Greatest Hits—upbeat music and I already know most of the words so it’s not too distracting.
10. Get a deadline—enter a contest, submit your work to an agent or editor, sign up for a critique at a conference, etc. Anything that forces you to put fingers to keyboard.