You Don’t Have To Be A Best-Selling Author To Make Writing A Priority

by Jennifer Blanchard

Stephen King

Lemme ask you a question. And be honest.

Is writing a priority for you?

Do you make time for writing?

Is it important to you?

(I guess I really had three questions.)

Writing is one of those things–you’re either committed to it or you’re not. But if you’re not and you don’t know why, now’s as good a time as any to figure it out.

Why Isn’t Writing A Priority For You?

If you don’t make time for writing on an almost-daily basis, then most likely it’s not a priority for you. You can say it is ’til the cows come home.

But if you’re not taking action and sitting down to write, it’s not important to you, even if you think it is.

Maybe you think about writing all day long. Maybe you’ve taken every Continuing Ed writing class available at your local college. Maybe every great book about writing is sitting on your bookshelf, dog-eared and severely marked up with highlighter.

But if your thoughts and classes and book reading sessions aren’t turning into words on the page, then you’re not writing.

Right now, all you’re prioritizing is not writing.

You Don’t Have to Write A Best-Seller

Although you might want to. But you don’t have to.

And you don’t have to be a best-selling author to finally make writing a priority.

I hear it from writers all the time–“When I have a publishing deal, then I’ll sit down and write every day. That will motivate me to.”

The thing is, that’s not how it works.

Authors didn’t get to best-seller status by writing once every couple years. No, they got to best-seller status by writing as often as they possibly could. All of them sacrificed so they could spend time writing. They gave up things that were less important to them to make writing happen.

That’s how it works. That’s how you get to best-seller status.

And if that’s not what you’re aiming for, that’s OK. You don’t have to write a best-seller to be a writer. You can write whatever you want.

It starts with making writing a priority.

If Writing Is Important to You…

If after reading this post you want to make writing a priority in your life, here are some steps you can take:

  • Make Room for Writing–It’s been said over and over and will be repeated again, if writing is important to you, you need to make room for it. You may need to make sacrifices (like giving up the three hours of TV you watch every night). You may need to say no to events and people so you can sit down and write. All writers go through this at some point. If you want to write, you have to make time for it, period.
  • Write When You Say You Will–If you set in your calendar that you’re going to write for an hour on Wednesday at 1 p.m., then you damn well better do it. Sure, there will be times when “life happens” and you can’t write when you say you’re going to. But if you keep letting “life happen,” you’ll never get any writing done. Don’t make excuses. Write when you say you’re going to.
  • Take Action–Actions speak louder than words for a reason. It’s easy to say something, but doing it? That’s a whole other ball game. So take action and write as often as you can.

How do you make writing a priority in your life?

Today’s Challenge: Take action on something you’ve been talking about, but not doing. You’ll be glad that you did.

About the Author: Jennifer Blanchard is the founder of Procrastinating Writers, a blog that offers guidance for writers who struggle to get started. She is co-founder of the Better Writing Habits challenge.

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  • Anonymous

    Hi Jennifer,

    Ouch! You hit my problem, failure to priortize. Thanks especially for saying write about I’m talking about. God knows I love to talk!

  • Anonymous

    I aim to write in any free time that comes up. It may not happen 100% of the time but it’s a goal evry time. One of the biggesy things I do, which people might find too much, is I. Rarely watch TV. I get my fix while on the tradmill in the morning (bless the DVR!) And that’s it. After dinner, I’ve got about 2 hrs open. If I sit in front of the TV, I’ll shoot most or all of it. So I’ve given up TV. (Mostly)

    Try it! You can do it. And when you see how much time you gain–how much writing time you gain–you’ll realize how many TV shows were just sucking away your time, w/ nothing to show for it.

    • Anonymous

      When I lived in California, I didn’t have cable. I couldn’t afford it and it served me well. Most nights I would find something more fun to do, like go out with my friends, make jewelry or read. I wasn’t doing much writing then, and I wish I had been because now I have cable and I get sucked into nighttime TV way too often.

      • Anonymous

        It’s sooo easy for that to happen. A number of years ago, I cut myself off of TV. I was getting too addicted to shows. (It helped that 3 of my shows had ended!) But this past year I see myself getting sucked back into TV. I still stay away from good TV that I know I’ll get hooked on–mostly. But my DVR is not helping. So I can watch Bones or Criminal Minds, etc., while on the treadmill. I haven’t gotten to the point where I’ll spend free time in front of the TV, but I see myself slipping towards it. I have to remember that every minute I spend in front of that screen is a minute I could be in front of my computer screen writing.

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  • Anonymous

    Excellent. Glad to have found you!

    • Anonymous

      Glad to have you here!

  • Thewriterstuff

    “You may need to make sacrifices (like giving up the three hours of TV you watch every night).”

    Damn, busted!

    When I first decided I wanted to be a writer I couldn’t get enough and I’ve even been published a couple of times but then the fire went out (for reasons I’m still not clear about) and I’ve been trying to light it again ever since. I’m grateful for this post because it’s made me reaize that I have to stop deluding myself. Either I’m a writer or I’m not.

    You know what? I’m a writer.

    • Anonymous

      I’m so glad to “hear” you say that! Now get back to writing. If you’ve been published before it’s clear you have what it takes to make it happen again.

  • Eporter70

    TV is definitely my time sucker. Part of it is that this is the time when I tend to sit with my kids and watch comedy shows (I’m a sucker for a good comedy). That being said, I’m trying to make my lunchbreak a 45 minute writing time. It’s not a lot of time but it’s a lot more than I was spending before.

    I guess the toughest part when you’re NOT a best selling author, is to justify the time you spend writing vs all the other things we like to do and enjoy doing.

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