What is “Daily Writing”?
Writing takes time, whether it is a research project, poem, dissertation, or the next 500-page young adult novel. Often, a medium to large scale writing project can seem both daunting and exhausting. One way to make large writing projects (or writing projects of any kind) seem less intimidating is to engage in the practice of daily writing.
Daily writing has been something suggested and successfully used by multiple authors, bloggers, and professors. Becca Tarsa, contributor to Another Word, UW-Madison’s writing center blog, explained some realities about daily writing in her article, “More than Word Counts: The Emotional Benefits of Daily Writing”. She writes, “Daily writing gets a lot of good press, and for good reason: it works. There’s strong evidence that daily writers are productive writers. Brian Martin uses the metaphor of athletic training to make the case for daily writing: athletes don’t work themselves to the point of collapse once every few weeks – they achieve their best results by training moderately every day” (Tarsa). Tarsa’s insight supports the reality that mastery of a medium or a topic takes time, and daily engagement with that medium is essential to move towards any end goal. For example, when learning a new language, students who practice small amounts of the vocabulary or syntax of the language daily will develop the language. One cannot assume that they will be able to have attained fluency over a language in a brief period of time. Within this context, writing is both like athletic training and learning a new language. Writing takes time. There are multiple methods to strengthen your writing, but engaging in writing every day is one proven way to both get a lot accomplished and to build writing style. There are easier days where things seem to click, and there are days where all inspiration and motivation lacks. Yet, in those slow and rough days, those are the times that writing is the most imperative. Writing about big and small things, about things that seem relevant and don’t seem relevant, these are practices that add to progress and moving forward.
What to Write?
There are many purposes for daily writing. Some people write daily to help make sense of their lives, to help them process the things that they see everyday around them. Some examples of daily writing that do not have an academic aim include diaries, thought journals, and creative writing. These types of writing allow for personal growth and reflection through writing. While some people use daily writing to better understand life, others choose to use daily writing to work towards a goal: they may write 500-750 words, writing for different projects and papers. When using daily writing for academic means, or for bigger projects, daily writing can seem boring and tedious. To combat this, focus on whatever seems interesting to you for that day. Write ideas and thoughts that strike you, whether or not they seem relevant to one specific aspect of your work. It is highly likely that if you are writing about what interests you, you will be able to incorporate it into your end goal, making it richer and more fascinating. Choosing to write about what we are passionate about will make the time move faster and you can better focus on your end goal. The beauty of daily writing is that it is flexible; all you have to do is build a habit, writing about the same topic or different topics throughout the course of the day. In keeping with my earlier metaphor, learning a language looks different as you practice and study it daily. You’ll need to spend longer times learning the complex aspects of the language. Yet, even within these complex conjugations, vocabularies, or tenses, you can add variety to how you learn it. No two days of learning will look the same. The same principle goes for daily writing: no two days will be the same, and all of the time you put into this practice will pay off.
How To Begin
Now that you’ve figured out what you want to write, there are many ways to implement daily writing as a habit in your everyday life. Whatever you choose to write, write with purpose, beginning with a small, achievable goal. Start off by writing for ten minutes a day, and see how it goes. Form a habit, and make it fun; write when you feel most productive and when you feel most awake. If it helps, have coffee, tea, or a large glass of ice water on hand next to you as you write. Write in an environment where you are most comfortable, using your laptop or your favorite pen and a notebook. I’m a big fan of listening to classical music as I write. Because I know this about myself, I’ve equipped my spotify with a few playlists I use expressly for writing. Knowing how you write best will make this endeavor more fun. Once you’ve set your environment to your liking, write little by little. As you do this, the writing you do will begin to seem much more achievable. Once you find the pattern that works best for you and you’re established in that, it will springboard you into reaching writing goals, and you will grow in the area of writing.
For more insight on Daily Writing, Read Tarsa’s blog here.
Tarsa, Becca. “More Than Word Counts: The Emotional Benefits of Daily Writing.” Another Word. University of Wisconsin-Madison Writing Center, 16 Mar. 2016. Web.