Creating the habit of writing will help you at all stages of your writing career. My habit of writing is why trust my ability to get the writing started and done. Even when I don’t write for a day or two, I know in my bones my habit of writing will make it easy to start writing again.
I’m not really sure how I learned to make a habit of my writing. I suspect it wasn’t deliberate but something that developed over time. Eventually I began to notice what was working and simply did more of that. Forming a habit of writing is something that worked, so I’ve done more and more of that, even before I noticed it.
Making writing a habit is certainly part of the discipline it takes to become a good writer and to successfully market yourself. The sooner you do, the quicker you’ll be on your way.
Make your writing number 1
Writing has to be your number one priority, at least while you’re forming the habit of writing. Oh sure, go to your job, take your family seriously, and do what you have to do, all the while making time for the writing as well. Certainly not easy and many before you have found ways – you can too.
Every day or weekday at a certain time
Every day at 6 am, or 9 pm or whatever works for you can be an excellent approach.
A specified amount of writing on schedule
If daily or almost daily writing isn’t your method, set up some sort of predictable schedule. Whole books have been written on lunch hours or in 10 minute increments. If you can’t write on a full-time schedule, repeated, scheduled snippets can work.
The number of words you’ll write per session
Some people thrive on setting a specific number of word they’ll produce on whatever schedule they create. Others find that the schedule alone is enough.
Pick or notice the trigger
Habits are more easily formed if you can tie them to something you already do regularly. It might be the day’s first cup of coffee, the ending of a late night show, or… well you choose. You can create a trigger by setting an alarm with its very own now-I’m-writing sound.
Get accountable with someone else
Make yourself accountable. Let folks know what your doing. Enroll your family and friends into supporting you. Set up a book ending call with a friend.
Keep a log
Log in your writing time so you have visual confirmation that your plan is working, or it’s not. Yes, a log is a kind of accountability to yourself, but at this point it’s more to find out if you’re following your plan or not.
Try it for creating a writing habit for a month
Try your plan for a month and see what happens. If it works, great, continue. But if you find you haven’t kept your agreement with yourself, take some time to reflect why it didn’t work. You may discover you simply over promised, or that some other part of your life was taking more time than you’d realized. If that’s the case and you still want to continue writing, adjust your schedule in a way that will help you form your habit of writing.
On the other hand, you may discover you don’t want to write as much as you thought you did. That’s okay too. Working to set habits is meant to support you and your goals, even if that means your vision changes.
By the way, hiring a writing coach is another way to begin to establish habits of writing that will work for you.
Have you established the habit of writing? Do you see that as a possibility, or not. Let us know what you think in comments.
Write well and often,
Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mario-mancuso/