After years of writing, learning, reading, and studying with amazing instructors, there was one single lesson that stood above it all. You don’t have to have natural-born talent or write like a master to follow this lesson. It’s a simple thing that anyone can do to find their voice and thrive in their writing practice.
But before I explain it to you, let me give you an example of how it works.
Let’s say you want to run a 5K, but you’ve never run before. You learn about good form, proper footwear, stretching, and breathing techniques.
You learn how to run. Does that mean you perform your best on race day? No sweat, right? Without having ever run at all, you know how to do it, so you should finish the race with little effort.
Of course not. If you don’t put in weekly miles, then you’re going to collapse in the first quarter mile. During training, you take the knowledge you have about running and you practice with it.
You test your form and put breathing techniques to practice, because you know you’re not going to get them right the first time. You need to try them over and over again until your body conditions itself to running.
You practice running before you run the race. No doubt many of you agree that this is common sense.
How does this relate to writing?
When you sit down to write a blog post or a chapter, you know how to form a complete sentence and have a grasp of the English language.
But that doesn’t mean you write everything perfectly on the first try. Just like running, writing is not a single, great act. You practice time and time again until you get better at it.
You make mistakes and then you have an aha-moment and then maybe you make some more mistakes. You hone the words so they feel right. You practice until you find a voice that sounds authentic.
So, what was the lesson?
How do you condition yourself for writing?
Write every day. Every. Day.
You might be telling yourself that you don’t have time to write every day. That’s a common form of resistance. If you can make time for everything else – making dinner, watching Netflix, or Tweeting – then you can make time for writing every day.
It can be fifteen minutes or an hour, so long as you give your mind that essential practice it needs to make you a stronger writer.
Do morning pages, work on a chapter from your book, or write a blog post without publishing it. Just do something every day, and you will get better.
Before you long, you’ll feel cranky and restless when you miss a day of writing. You’ll feel as if you’re whole day is off kilter if you haven’t made time for it. And when write something that really matters, you’ll write like a champ.