What Fuels Your Writing?

I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that I have a couple “writing crutches” – things that make it easier to get into the writing mood and transform those mediocre words in my head into flowing, magical prose on paper.

Writers are notorious for having their crutches (or vices). More often than not, writers are creatures of habit. Our chair has be adjusted at a certain height, the wine has to be red, and the phone must be unplugged. Whatever your criteria may be, creating the atmosphere for writing is a science. Or, perhaps a kind of magic, where everything comes together just so and coaxes the words onto the paper (or computer screen).

Some writers like Faulker require nothing more than a glass of good whiskey. Yet other, more eccentric wordsmiths, have needed private hotel rooms in order to write their masterpieces (Angelou) or have found that they can only write in the nude (Hugo) to get their writing done.

I’ve got some of my favorite requirements for writing here for your perusal (and judgement). While much of what I list here is optional, I’d much rather write with these things than without…

For Inspiration: Pinterest, random words from dictionaries, art
For Focus: Music (instrumental)
For Motivation: Snacks, coffee, tea, wine

So there you have it. Those are the key ingredients to get me in the writing zone.

But we’re all different! So what about you? Tell me what fuels your writing. What are your requirements/crutches/vices that keep you writing? I’ll be pulling some of your answers for my next post!

7 Reasons You Should Set a Writing Goal

If you’ve ever done NaNoWriMo, you know all about setting daily targets. That intimidating 50k breaks down into an average of 1667 words a day. It seems much friendlier when you think about it that way, doesn’t it? But writing goals don’t have to be limited to NaNoWriMo.

Consider what it would be like to have a target to aim for every day. Does that seem scary? It really doesn’t have to be. Writing daily, even if it’s only 100 words, has numerous benefits. Here are my top seven.

1. It increases your productivity.

With a target to aim for each day, a minimum number of words, pages or time spent writing to do, your output increases. Your story grows and you move ever closer to that elusive and tantalising point: The End.

Your target can be as high or as low as you feel comfortable with, whether that’s 200 words a day or 2000. Whatever your goal, it’s the process of writing every day that’s going to yield the greatest results.

2. It adds up to a lot of writing.

No matter your target, it accumulates over time. If your goal is to write 500 words daily, then that’s 3500 words a week, around 15,000 a month and 182,500 a year. That’s, like, two whole novels. Even if your target is only 100 words, it all adds up.

3. It kick-starts your creativity.

Writing that first sentence is always the hardest. After you’ve cleared that hurdle, it’s easier. The words come, one by one, and as you get into the story, they start to flow faster. Creativity sweeps you away. Before you know it, you’ve reached your target and want to write even more.

4. It creates good habits.

Write daily and you’ll fall into a routine. Keep that routine up and habits will form. That comes with several big advantages for writers.

Firstly, putting bum in seat and starting to write is no longer the battle of will it used to be, because now you’re used to it. Not only is getting yourself to begin writing less taxing, finding the right words is too. You’re well acquainted with sentence-crafting and storytelling, so using them becomes more effortless. And, finally, because you’re making progress, because you’re succeeding, because you’re living your story each and every day, writing is much more enjoyable.

5. It feels good to achieve your target.

Because you have a concrete goal, you feel you’ve accomplished something when you go to bed at night having reached it. If you just write however much (or little) you feel like each day, then that feeling of triumph may be more elusive, perhaps only appearing when you beat a previous all-time record or write an unusually high amount. With a minimum goal in mind, you can feel good every time you surpass it.

Also, watching your word count rise and your story flourish makes you all warm and tingly inside.

6. It motivates you to break through writer’s block.

You can’t stall out for days when you have a daily target to meet. Instead of floundering around and waiting for inspiration to strike, you write on through the block (TIP: word sprints help—a lot) or skip ahead to a scene that you can write and return to fill in the gaps later, once the words start flowing again.

7. It can give focus and drive to your word sprints.

Leisurely word sprinting is great. It’s fun. It’s fruitful. It’s wordelicious. But if you want a further challenge, then having a goal to aim towards—such as a word or page count—adds focus to a word sprint. It motivates you to sprint more and write more each time.

So, are you ready to set yourself a writing goal?

If the answer is yes, check out the #WriteChain Challenge and work towards your daily target alongside a rapidly growing community of writers! Nothing motivates like having others beside you to support, encourage and compete against.

If you’re looking for a gentle(ish) prod to send you on your writing way, come join our word sprints on Twitter (@TheSprintShack) or spread the word sprint love by hosting some of your own. Together we’ll reach our targets, one sprint at a time.

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What kind of writing goals do you set yourself? Tell us in the comments below!

Do you have any questions about setting daily targets? Leave us a comment or email us at thesprintshack@gmail.com and we’d be happy to help!