How to Create Your Ideal Writing Life
The notion of creating an ideal writing life as an unknown storyteller is something that at first feels incredibly far off.
This is because you more than likely aren’t being paid for your stories, which means other things such as work or family are interrupting what could have been a full day of nonstop writing.
So, how can you create an ideal writing life then if nothing in your writing life is currently “ideal?”
While it may seem like you’ll have to create a subpar writing life given your current situation, in reality, creating an ideal writing life simply involves narrowing down your goals and dreams and turning them into actionable steps.
Sure, it may not involve you writing all day for the pure joy of it, but it will certainly involve you studying stories regularly so that you are always fine-tuning your skills and working towards your writing dreams.
What is an Ideal Writing Life?
An ideal writing life is one filled with stories.
While the way in which those stories present themselves to the writer may vary from person to person, at the core of an ideal writing life is a life that adequately meets any writer’s expectations or demands. It’s what a writer envisions when they imagine life as a successful author or screenwriter, and it usually feels far off.
However, as we’ve already learned, creating your ideal writing life is more possible than you might have realized. While it may not involve writing from dawn till dusk with zero distractions, it can certainly can be something that betters your creative life.
All it requires is intentional storytelling in your daily life. This could mean writing every day, or it could mean just interacting with stories as soon as you wake up. Whatever it is, it is serving you as a storyteller with regular storytelling, keeping you constantly inspired and dedicated to your work.
Create Your Ideal Writing Life
As you approach creating your ideal writing life, you’ll want to start out with a big picture idea of what that looks like for you, then narrow down specifics and small goals as you really refine your day-to-day writing life.
This approach will make it easier for you to find a tangible way to actually create that writing life because you will take your dream writing life – a big picture goal and likely something you deeply wish for – and then break it down into smaller, actionable steps that make this ideal life possible.
Additionally, remember that an ideal writing life contains more than just writing. It contains things like reading books, watching movies and plays, and playing video games as much as it contains editing, revising and pre-writing.
So, as you approach this process, be sure to consider the various features of a writing life, going beyond writing to see that an ideal writing life almost always contains other features beyond writing.
Imagine the Perfect Writing Day
With an ideal writing life comes an ideal writing day.
Using your imaginative skills as a writer, spend some time jotting down what the perfect writing day looks like for you.
Again, start with the big picture, then narrow it down into specifics.
Instead of saying “write all day,” break that ideal writing day into hours or periods of time or different focuses, saying something like “write for fifteen minute bursts to my favorite music for three hours, then have lunch.”
Remember also that a perfect writing day can easily include things beyond writing.
For me, a perfect writing day would involve me waking up, writing for about an hour. Then I’d want to read a novel or watch a movie. Later I’d want to go on a walk, then maybe play a video game or study some other story. As you can see, the perfect writing day for me is one filled with stories, but I also like to balance it with observation and social life, but for you it may include going swimming or enjoying coffee with friends.
Whatever your perfect writing day looks like, after you’ve taken the time to imagine it, write down the steps you must take to achieve it.
This may be making a point to set aside an extra hour in the morning by waking up earlier, or by turning off your Internet to keep you focused.
However, if, in doing this, it appears your perfect writing day isn’t achievable given your current circumstances, write down steps to creating this day once a month on a weekend or adapt this perfect writing day into a version that is more suitable to your current situation.
Write Down Your Writing Dreams
After you create your perfect writing day, you want to write down all of your writing dreams. And I mean ALL of them.
Make a list of everything you want to write, the things you wish to achieve – everything.
It could be a vague writing dream such as “write an epic fantasy novel” or more specific like, “writing a triple-A RPG, three novels, and one screenplay.”
After you do this, you’ll want to once again write down all the steps required to achieving these dreams as a writer and storyteller.
Maybe if it’s to “write an epic fantasy novel,” you’ll have steps such as “develop a fleshed out and real world” which then spawns even more steps, such as “draw a map of the world” or “create regional dialects.”
The key here, as mentioned, is taking enormous goals that are seemingly impossible, then breaking them down into steps until they feel possible.
Stuff Your Life With Stories
In order to be a good storyteller with the ideal storytelling life, you’ll need to read, watch, and play a lot of stories.
Now, you may be thinking, “I just want to write novels. I don’t need to play video games.”
But the truth is that engaging with stories in new mediums is actually super beneficial to your storytelling life because it helps you perceive new ways to write – no matter whether you’re a novelist or a video game writer.
Additionally, this will make you feel less guilty as a storyteller for binging on the latest Netflix story, because for you – unlike many other people – binging on Netflix is a way for you to study stories and the sooner you can perceive that benefit, the sooner you’ll be able to reap the benefits of engaging with stories in different forms.
So, to create a super impactful writing life, you’ll want to stuff your life with stories. Maybe that’s by reading a book a week or by seeing a local play. However it is, take note of the story everywhere in your life and you’ll quickly understand how doing these activities is not a waste of time, but a deep enhancement of your writing life!
To help you keep better track of your storytelling consumption, I created the Storytelling Syllabus, which helps storytellers like yourself become more conscientious about regularly engaging with stories outside of their own.
Create a Writing Goals
Now that you know the steps to both achieving your storytelling dreams and your ideal writing life dreams, it’s time to create actionable goals you can achieve.
These are goals with deadlines, specific actions, and other features that are more achievable than the big picture goals and dreams you started with. To create them, you’ll take the steps you listed in the previous sections and turn them into goals.
RELATED: How to Create S.M.A.R.T. Goals
Depending on how you write will depend on how you space your goals out, but ideally you’ll want to have weekly goals, monthly goals, and yearly goals.
The reason for this is if you just had yearly goals, you wouldn’t have a tangible action plan to achieve said goals. They’d just exist as a ticking clock, but otherwise wouldn’t offer any steps or ways to actually complete the goal.
That’s why you want to add in weekly and monthly goals as well. These become little milestones that not only keep you on track, but also give you the feeling that you are achieving things and making progress, an important sensation for anyone trying to write enormous stories.
Use a Ritual to Stay Devoted
Finally, you’ll want to create a writing ritual to keep yourself devoted.
The writer’s ritual works as the glue for your ideal writing life. It works by triggering yourself to be in the “writing mode” by using sensory cues that you repeat in a certain order every single time you are getting ready to write.
For some, this may mean writing at the same exact time every day, but for others it may mean lighting a candle and playing the same music every time to get them focused.
Whatever it is, be sure to implement this writer’s ritual into your ideal writing life so that even on the days you are feeling uninspired, you can overcome this lack of inspiration with the jolt of a ritual.
Bringing it All Together
Now that you’ve assessed your goals and dreams, your dream writing life, and other features like the other stories you wish to consume, take some time to write out a dream schedule – be it daily or weekly – that focuses on achieving this dream writing life.
Incorporate things like the ritual and the stories you plan to consume, ignoring any obligations like work, friends, or family. This might seem harsh, but you want to envision how to make your ideal writing life possible first and foremost, then adapt it to reality.
The steps you established for your ideal writing life and dreams will serve as the schedule for said writing life, but remember, this doesn’t have to be a daily occurrence. It can be a weekly schedule you stick to or monthly goals you strive for when time permits.
The key here is that you stay devoted to crafting your ideal storytelling life, filling it with your dreams and goals and anything else that enhances your storytelling skills.