Part 3: Why Writing For 100 Days Straight Changes EVERYTHING
Are you a writer who just can’t get a regular writing routine established? Do you want to write, but struggle to find the time for it or to beat distractions? If you’re ready to write more frequently, but just don’t know how to make it happen, this 5-part series can help.
I’ll share with you the exact steps I’ve taken over the last year and a half to create a daily writing practice that helped me write a 98,000-word novel. No shortcuts, no outlandish schemes, nothing you can’t do around your busy day-to-day life.
Just practical, real tricks to finally turn your dream of writing into your daily reality.
Definitely check those posts out if you haven’t already – they set the foundation for what I’m going to talk about in this installment…
Why writing for 100 days straight changes everything, or, to put it more simply, set up a timeframe so you’re working towards a specific goal.
One August evening while sitting on my back porch, I arbitrarily decided I’d write for 100 days straight. I needed a way back into my writing after a flare up of an autoimmune disease and a serious lack of writing energy that took me out of the game for months.
But it had to be simple and I had to set up some guidelines so I felt like I was at least working towards something tangible.
100 sounded like a nice, round number. It felt like a challenge, yet it also seemed doable. I could write something every day for 100 days, right? At the very least, if I only wrote a single word each day I’d have 100 words of something by the end of it.
I hated myself for the first two weeks. Don’t ask me why the first 14 days were so difficult, but they were. I mean, day one was exciting. I was on my high horse, ready to breeze through the next few months and show myself who’s boss.
But by day two, I felt like stabbing myself with the pen instead of writing with it in my notebook. Why?!
Probably because my desire to write and my willpower were butting up against good old resistance. Totally normal. This will probably happen to you, too. And if it doesn’t, what is wrong with you and can you please make an online course about how you manage to not feel resistance so the rest of us can learn your mystical ways?
My resistance usually looks like this: I find almost anything else to do but write. Even stare at the wall. I wish I was kidding.
During the first two weeks of my 100 day challenge, I’d sit in bed with my notebook and pen and agonize for a while before finally writing something. I’ll tell you, that agonizing part – it’s the worst part, and it’s totally silly. There’s no need for it. Put ANYTHING down on the page and be done with it. No expectations, remember?
If you stop after a word or two, or a sentence or two, fine! If you keep going, bravo.
Especially in the first week or two, be gentle. Cut yourself some slack.
Setting up a timeline like 100 days (this number is arbitrary, please choose any number that rocks your world!) gives you the psychological benefit of feeling like you’re working towards a goal.
It builds a framework around your writing routine. Instead of just saying you want to write more, you’re now saying you will write at least one word every day for 100 days without missing a single day, so help you God.
See the difference?
“Writing more” means absolutely nothing. Writing every day for 100 days is actionable.
Make your timeline at least 30 days, more if possible. I recommend 100 days because it worked for me multiple times over. Seriously. Numerous times I’ve reached day 100 and started over on day 1 the following morning.
Here’s a secret: the goal will eventually fall away (that’s why it doesn’t really matter how many days or months you choose).
The goal will fall away because, after a while, it won’t be a “challenge” anymore; it’ll just be a habit. That’s when you’ll hit your stride and you can maintain your practice longterm.
You won’t need a goal of 100 days after that. Maybe you’ll even lose count before you hit 100. But if you don’t, and if you keep track, at least you know that after 100 days, you can stop this madness if it’s not working for you.
The perimeters you set up matter far less than focusing on one day at a time. 100 days might be your end point, but just focus on the individual days that will get you there. Try not to look at the entire thing and panic. Just look at today.
What can you write today?
100 days might sound like a crazy long time, but I promise it’s not. It’ll go faster than you realize. Besides, the days are going to pass anyway. You might as well get some writing done, right?
Your turn! Can you manage 100 straight days of writing? Why or why not? Share below. I’d love to hear.
If you found this helpful, share it with other writers who might need it too.
Don’t miss a thing! Check out part 1 here and part 2 here.
Stay tuned next Sunday for part 4 of 5: How To Create A Writing Trigger That Saves You Time And Energy – And Gets You Writing