Your Daily Secret

“How about just one minute?” I’m trying to convince a very busy writer who never writes to commit to writing every day.

“It takes more than a minute just to boot up my laptop,” she complains.

“Two then. How fast can you find a pen and a scrap of paper?”

She laughs. “Okay, yes, I can commit to writing for two minutes in my journal every day.”

We smile at each other. She’s going to do it. Just like every writer I meet, she wants to do this, to be a writer, to write every day, to commit to it. We move on to negotiating time of day and location of her new daily habit.

This is my cheap and easy version of Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages: The Sexy Grammarian’s Daily Secret. Cameron wisely insists one should write daily, 3 pages, handwritten, and I like this prescription and use it myself. But I see value in guiding writers with baby steps sometimes. Flexibility and habit drive the Daily Secret.

You don’t like handwriting? Can’t read your own writing? Feel more comfortable on a keyboard? Fine. Do it on your laptop. Do it on your phone. I don’t care. Just do it.

You don’t have thirty minutes? How about twenty? How about ten? One? After two weeks or so, you’ll be scheming ways to extend it anyway.

Hate mornings? Got chaos? No writing desk? No privacy? Do it at bedtime, on your lunch hour, on the bus, in your car in the parking garage at the end of your workday. Anywhere, anytime, whatever it takes to get your daily dose of writing time. Let’s find what works for you.

The Two Rules:

  1. It must be daily. Write every day, at roughly the same time, in the same place, and with the same tools, for some specific length of time or number of pages or number of words. The specific number fools us on the lazy days. We can say to ourselves, “C’mon, just fill your two pages and you can go back to sleep.” It works.
  2. It must be secret. What you write must enjoy total privacy, so put a journal by your bedside or set up a locked document on your computer, whatever makes you feel safe writing anything that crosses your mind. The words you dare not utter, the feelings you fear expressing, the stuff you think nobody wants to hear will find its way to the page. Give voice to those secrets, and all the other writing—your business plan, your blog posts, your dissertation, your novel–will flow much more easily.

Note: The Sexy Grammarian’s Daily Secret offers a useful writing habit and has no relation to this cool Daily Secret site where people share the secrets of their cities.

Did you find this writing tip useful? Share it on Facebook or Twitter. How does your daily writing habit serve you as a writer? Leave a comment. Want to get this kind of help one-on-one? Contact The Sexy Grammarian for a free private lesson today!

    • davexrobb
    • February 22nd, 2012

    it’s true! and now, on those rare days when I skip it, I miss it.

  1. Dave, I’m so glad this little secret serves you as a writer. And your blog rocks!

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