The fact that you’re reading this right now tells me two things about you. You probably write. And you are probably interested in writing well—maybe even in improving your writing.
As such, we’ll cover two bases of consistency in this post:
- Consistency = production
- Consistency = product
Consistency = production means writing for a consistent amount of time consistently each day/week/month. Writing consistently boils down to creating the habit of writing so that you improve your writing and/or get more work done in less time.
Consistency = product simply means writing consistently in quality, tone, length, and all the other formal terms that we can use to define writing.
How to write more consistently (production)
In one word, habit. Make writing a habit that you incorporate into your average day, and you’re writing more consistently.
There are essentially two ways to make writing a habit.
- Create a new habit
- Revamp an old habit
Creating a new habit
To create a brand new habit of writing every day, follow a tried-and-true process. (There’s a couple out there.) Here’s one of the ways that you can try.
- Decide why you are wanting to write regularly. What is the intrinsic desire that is asking you to create a writing habit? Are you wanting to write a novel? Get better at writing? Write more blog posts? More importantly, why do you want to write a novel/get better, etc? This is your motivation, so make sure it’s a solid “why.”
- Decide when you can write regularly. In the morning? In the evening? During your lunch break? Pick a time, and put it into your calendar.
- Do it. Even if you just sit down to an empty page and write no words, commit to the act of sitting down to write. If you need accountability to help you actually do it, get that accountability.
- Create punishments and/or rewards. This can help with motivation—if you fulfill your habit for 7 days in a row, get a new pen. If you don’t, give money to a cause you hate. Accountability can help with this until you develop the habit.
- Adjust as necessary. Maybe you committed to writing for an hour… but you can only write for 15 minutes. Adjust so that you write consistently.
Revamping an old habit
We are creatures of habit, so you already have a lot of habits. In order to create a new writing habit, tie it to something you already habitually do.
For instance, you hopefully eat breakfast every day. Since you already do that every day, why not add an extra 10-30 minutes to it and write as you eat?
Or maybe you want to quit smoking—you always do it before bed. Why not change your 10-minute bedtime smoke into a 10-minute bedtime writing sesh?
In order to revamp a habit, try this process:
- Choose a habit to tie writing to. Preferably something that isn’t time-sensitive so that if your writing goes well you don’t have to cut it short.
- Determine how to incorporate/replace the habit with writing. If I have a smoothie for breakfast I can “eat” it through a straw, leaving my hands free to type as I sip. If I eat lunch at my desk, I can use my lunch break to actually write.
- Do it. Since you already have the established habit, you are reminded every day to write as you engage that habit. So even if it’s only for 5 minutes, sit down and write whenever you do your ingrained habit.
- Adjust as necessary. You have the time to write, you just have to do it. How you get it done is up to you as you actually start writing more consistently.
How to write more consistently (product)
I write a lot of blog posts. Lately, most of my content has been going straight to this blog, but I sometimes write for different purposes on different platforms.
And consistency is incredibly important when you’re writing a lot of content for one brand, book, or platform.
If you read a book that had a light-hearted, easy Lexile within the prologue but suddenly shifted to a dark, difficult Lexile for the first chapter (and then switched back for no reason to the light, easy stuff for chapter 5) you’d probably lose interest in the book.
Or if you are reading a blog post and it’s super easy to follow, but then you check another article and it’s impossible to skim, you might not return to the blog.
So how do you write consistently?
- Practice (write) A LOT in the tone/theme/style. Intentionally determine what you want to remain consistent, and then write and edit with that in mind.
- Keep the vocabulary. A huge part of consistent writing is the diction. If it helps, you can keep a dictionary or lexicon of the vocabulary that is useful for your writing. This can be especially helpful if you’re writing a book over a long period of time!
- Write faster, or get projects done in less time. The more time that it takes to write something, the more likely you are to grow as a writer—meaning that your writing may not sound the same across the piece.
- Revise. Because going back over your writing will help ensure that it all ends up publishing consistently with the consistency you want.
Improvement in your writing doesn’t have to mean you lose the consistent tone/theme/style that you are going for. It just means you write that consistency better—so don’t sacrifice improving your writing for a “consistent product.”
What do you think—how do you write consistently? How do you grow in your writing, and how important is consistency to novels/blogs/writing? Share in the comments!