Lots of people want to make a living writing, but most have no idea what it takes to actually be successful at it. The idea of being an award winning blogger, novelist or journalist is attractive because it holds a certain mystique. Sitting in a cafe or on a beach in some far flung country sounds exotic and sexy, which is why so many aspiring writers are out there trying their luck at making a living through creative writing.
But being good enough to actually be able to make a living through writing is a challenge. It takes regular practice and continuous focus, as well as a fair amount of good luck, to reach a level where you can comfortably support yourself through writing.
With all that being said, there are a lot of reasons to start a writing on a regular basis. Even if you aren’t able to make a living with writing right away, developing the ability to clearly communicate through writing is a rare attribute which should be cultivated.
In fact, there is evidence to suggest that people with above average written communication skills regularly earn higher salaries and are more likely to report higher levels of life satisfaction and overall happiness.
So how do you get started? One of the best ways to get better at writing is to develop a daily writing practice.
Here are four reasons to start a daily writing practice:
1. It teaches you to let go of the idea of perfection
For many people, the hardest part about starting to write is the idea that everything has to be perfect. Throw that idea away and learn to be comfortable “writing for the trash can.” This means that you should write without the intention of showing anyone else what you’re writing.
Sure, you may want to show your writing to someone eventually, but at least in the initial daily writing practice you shouldn’t worry about getting anything perfect on the first attempt. That’s what editing is for.
“Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.” – Aristotle
2. It drives your creative engine
Writing on a daily basis means you will be constantly looking for inspiration in your daily life.
Whether you decide to write about an experience you had at the store earlier in the day, a memory you had about something that happened years ago, or a lesson that you think would be important to write down to remember later, creating a regular writing practice will teach you to keep an eye out for these pieces of creative inspiration. No matter what you decide to write, you’ll be tapping into and engaging your creative engine, which will feed into different parts of your life as well.
3. It builds your ability to persevere through difficulty
Writing is not always a bundle of laughs. In fact, sometimes writing can be hell. It can be like pulling teeth trying to get the next words out and onto the page. It can be awful, frustrating, and heartbreaking.
There’s also some good news which should inspire you to carry through the tough stretches. Often times, the best writing comes after you’ve fought long and hard to get through a rough patch. This practice of daily writing can teach you a lot about grit and perseverance, and it will help you in both your writing career and your personal life.
“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other.” – Walter Elliot
4. It helps you develop a style and a strong personal voice
Your personal writing style is influenced by a multitude of factors. You may be inspired by the books you’ve read, the people you’ve spent time with, and the music you listen to, but you also have your own unique style which can’t be copied.
The more that you write, the more you are able to develop your own personal, unique style which goes beyond the influences you engage with on a daily basis.
Developing a daily writing practice that is based on writing as quickly as possible is a bit like interval training for the writing muscle. Interval training works because it pushes you to write quickly and actively for a short burst of time, followed by a period of lower intensity writing.
Next time you think about improving your writing, consider adopting a daily writing practice which forces you to write anywhere from between 200 to 750 words a day.