Monday, September 15, 2014

How to Develop the Habit of Writing Everyday

Whether she’s building life-sized models of dinosaurs with her adopted family, trying her hand at cooking at a private retreat, living in a barn, taking a road trip across Europe or climbing mountains in Asia, author Aidyl Ewoh (aka Lydia Howe) seems to have adventures follow her wherever she goes. Her first book, Cave Secrets of the Pterodactyl was published by Answers in Genesis in 2013 and her second book is to be released by Master Books in 2015. Find out more about Aidyl at her BlogFacebook, and Twitter


If you want to be serious about writing, you need to get in the habit of writing every day. It was August, 2012 and I was at my first writing conference when I heard the advice. I wrote it down in my notebook and began thinking of ways to implement writing every day into my life. 

It was the next week when I was reading the Go Teen Writers blog that I saw Stephanie had announced the first round of the 100/100 challenge. (Which is a writing exercise where you write a 100 words for a 100 days.) Realizing it would be the perfect opportunity to get into the habit, I signed up. 

I’m happy to announce that I’ve been going ever since. 

I just wrote my 100 words for the 730th day in a row. It’s a fantastic feeling. 

I know it doesn’t work for everyone to write every day. Still, I think it’s beneficial to at least try it. Here are some tips I’ve found for making the 100 for 100 challenge easier:

Set an alarm. 

I have a phone where I can set a timer that goes off every day. My alarm is set for 10:16 pm each night. When the alarm sounds, if I haven’t already written my words, I snooze it until my words are written. And yes, I have had to get out of bed to write my words when I’ve forgotten to write them. I guess it would probably be smarter to get the words knocked out first thing in the morning, but I’m happy with my routine. 

Keep track of it. 

I started writing down what I did toward my writing dream back on January 1st, 2012. I’ve missed a few days, but I always go back and fill them in. Since I began keeping track, I’ve done at least one thing toward my writing goal every single day. It’s an amazing feeling to flip through a notebook and see how taking little steps each day for years can add up to a big dream coming true. (For instance, on 6-14-13 I wrote: 100/100, Blog post, publishing story, GTW FB, And... My first book is being released today!)



Be ok with mediocre words sometimes. 

You can’t always spend the time you need to craft sensational sentences. Last month my best friend got married, and I was her maid of honor. For several days I didn’t have much time to spend on my writing, so I would think of how my character might respond to the situation I was in, and then write it from her perspective. That was great for me because - although I may never use those words - I still took the time to dive into my character’s head and get a clearer picture of her. Which ties into:

Develop your characters. 

I discovered very quickly that sometimes I won’t be able to write more than 100 words per day (especially if I’m busy editing another manuscript). When that happens, I’ll work on character development, or write a snippet of description or dialog I might be able to use later on. That way I’m still writing constantly and making progress, but I don’t have to worry about choppy paragraphs where I jump from thought to thought.

Share your work. 

If you have a blog, tell your readers about the challenge and give them updates every so often. If you don’t have a blog, try sharing it with a friend, family member, or fellow-writer. Or you can just comment about it on the Go Teen Writers blog or Facebook group. This year I began writing a story and sharing a segment of it on my blog every Friday. My readers love it. 

Reward yourself. 

So, you’ve written every day for a week? Extra internet. Every day for a month? An ice cream cone. A year? Buy yourself that book you’ve been wanting. It doesn’t really matter what it is, just find some way to reward yourself. I’m a words of affirmation gal, so most of the time I just tell my family about my accomplishments and their praise is all the reward I need. 


Whatever you end up doing, remember that your dream does matter and that it is worth spending extra time on! 

Stephanie here: How awesome and encouraging is Aidyl's story? I'm amazed by her discipline and super proud of her. Have you taken steps recently to make writing a more serious part of your routine? If so, we'd love to hear it! 

And there's still time to sign up for this round's 100 words for 100 days challenge! Today is DAY ONE of the challenge, and it's also the LAST day to register.

42 comments:

  1. I'm ready for the challenge! Thanks for the post! This helped a ton! I'm getting back into the habit of writing like I did over the summer.

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    1. I'm so glad the post helped you, Kyra Lyn! And great job for joining the challenge. I'm excited about it, too! ;)

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  2. Great post, Aidyl! I love your blog too. You're a very inspiring young lady.

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    1. Aww, thank you, Ashley! That means a lot!

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  3. Thank you SO much, Stephanie, for the amazing privilege of guest posting on your blog. GTW's has been so very helpful over the years. Keep up the great work. :)

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  4. That's some amazing discipline, Aidyl! Way to go!!!

    Did my writing for the day. =) Now time to get my kiddos started on the homeschool day...

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    1. Thank you, Rosanna. :) Wow... Every time I see you mention homeschooling your kids I'm inspired. Some day I hope to be a homeschooling mom and writer at the same time and I can't even imagine it! That sounds like a crazy busy life. :)

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    2. She's a superstar. I think Jesus puts more hours in her days, because I'm confused about how she gets everything done otherwise.

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    3. Superstar sounds pretty correct... ;)

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    4. Wow, I didn't realize you homeschool!! We are homeschooled too :)

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  5. Your discipline is amazing, Aidyl! Congratulations! About two and a half months ago I began to write one page about my day in a journal every single day, and so far, I've been successful. I don't always get in one page, but I always write something about my day. I don't always work on my WIP, though. I agree that developing your characters is very important. For the first draft of my first novel I didn't develop my characters enough. But that's what revising the draft and then writing another novel is for, right? Rewards are awesome, too. I'm going to reward myself for finishing my first novel by buying the GTW book to help me through the editing process.

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    1. I have both the e-book and physical copy of the GTW book (even got the paperback signed by Jill! :D) and I can't recommend it enough! It is the best writing book for teens I've read.
      Good luck finishing your novel! :)

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    2. Ana: Thank you! Wow, way to go. I know it can be hard to keep a journal (something I used to do, but don't any more) but journals are so nice to be able to look back on! And ugg... Having an under-developed character isn't fun at all. I think that's a great reward! Keep up the great work with your novel!

      Catsi: I have both, too! Although mine isn't signed. That's so cool that yours is. :) I would have to say it's one of the best writing books I've ever read, not even just for teens!

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    3. I met Jill at the OYAN summer workshop, and I'm hoping to bring the copy along next year so Stephanie can sign it. :D It would be awesome to have both of the authors' signatures.

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    4. That would be very amazing, indeed! =)

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  6. This post is so awesome and encouraging, Aidyl! Thanks!

    ~Robyn

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    1. Aww, well thank you, Robyn! I'm glad you liked it. ;)

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  7. This is so true--I actually just gave this advice to someone recently, who said she was struggling with her writing. Write every day. 100 words add up. I'm going to need to give her the link to this now, so she doesn't think that I'm just some crazy person with weird advice, LOL.

    Thank you so much for this post! I'm going to go write some more now. (650 words already this morning!)

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    1. Yea, Catsi! I'm glad this post was timely! :) And 650 words? Way to go! Keep up the writing. :)

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    2. Thanks, Aidyl! I ended up getting in 1,534 words yesterday. :D

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  8. Wonderful to have you here Aidyl! And congrats on all those days!

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    1. It's totally wonderful to be on here! And thank you!

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  9. I LOVE the idea of the 'working towards my writing goals' book. I'm going to find a cute little notebook at the dollar store later and do it :)

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    1. Aww, I'm glad you like it! One of my little cousins gave me my notebook for Christmas. It's crazy how many places the notebook has been now. It's gone caving with me, gone through the Chunnel (Paris to London) and even traveled across the world to Asia. So yes, I highly recommend 'working toward my writing goal notebooks'. Even if they just stay at home, they're still amazing. :)

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  10. Since Stephanie wrote the post on keeping track of your writing words on a daily basis, I have been just doing that. And while I still dont' write every day, it has helped me to write on a steady basis with weekly goals at least. I'm progressing!

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    1. Wow, good for you, Arlette! Keeping track of your word count? That sounds pretty cool. I actually don't do that all the time... Maybe I'll get in the habit of it during this next challenge...

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  11. Wonderful post, Aidyl! This was just what I needed right now. :)

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    1. Aww! I'm glad it was helpful, Emma! That's great. :)

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  12. Love this advice, Aidyl! This is so helpful and motivating :) I'm starting the 100 for 100 challenge today and I can't wait to use some of your advice.

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    1. Great! I'm so glad you find it motivating! Motivation is so helpful especially on the outset of a big challenge! Good job and keep going even when it gets tough!

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  13. I love the tips and her awesome success story! She's such an inspiration! I just completed writing my 100 words for today. I'm already getting excited for tomorrow's 100 word bunch. :D

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    1. Way to go, Cupcakes4ever! I'm glad my story could inspire you. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you do a little bit every day.

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  14. Those are some awesome tips. Never thought of setting an alarm for writing. And the idea of using your 100 words to "Develop your characters" will really help sometimes.

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    1. Yea! I'm glad the tips helped you out. I hope the challenge goes well for you. :)

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  15. I love these tips! Especially the ones you talked about under "Developing your Characters." I'll have to try them sometime.


    Alexa S. Winters
    thessalexa.blogspot.com

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    1. I'm so glad to hear that! I hope they work out well for you. :)

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  16. I really like the daily alarm idea. In fact, I just set one for myself. :)

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    1. Yea! I'm glad you're using it. I've found it to be very helpful and I hope it works for you. :)

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