Do you struggle with making good habits?
Developing a habit of any kind is not easy. It takes time, focus, and discipline. I’ve heard people say it can take anywhere from 21-55 days. 😳
Developing a writing habit is no different. You have to make time, be focused, and have discipline. It’s something that I still often struggle with but I’ve come up with a few foolproof ways to develop a writing habit.
All of these tips are things I have done myself and they have helped me develop my writing habit. It's still a work in progress but then again, what isn't?
Schedule it into your day.
Make writing a part of your daily routine. Wake up, write, eat breakfast. Write on your lunch break. Set aside time after dinner to write. (Why do all my suggestions have to do with food? I must be hungry.)
Anyway, by scheduling writing time into your day, it becomes easier to make it a priority.
I don’t want to hear the excuse that you “don’t have time.” It can be pretty easy to find an extra 20 minutes a day to do nothing but write. Besides, you have the same 24 hours as Beyonce. (Who run the world? #girls)
Do it daily.
This goes hand in hand with scheduling writing into your routine.
By writing daily it becomes second-nature and soon you won’t be able to not write.
I recently discovered this rad website called 750words. It’s set up to help you reach your writing goals by showing you how many days you’ve written in a row. There are fun milestones and badges you can earn depending on how quickly you write in a certain amount of time (or how slowly depending on if you get distracted easily), how many days you write in a row, or for writing a lot in one session. Check it out for yourself!
Set a tangible goal.
When setting a goal it’s best to make it something real that you can actually measure. Instead of “I want to write more” how about some of these attainable goals:
- 2 pages a day for a month
- A blog post a day
- 3 poems every day
- 50,000 words in one month (which is totally doable but more on that later.)
Goals work best if you set a few small ones and a couple big ones. If you only set big goals then it can seem a little intimidating and you might feel like you’re not making any progress and you’re more likely to give up.
By setting those smaller goals on your way to your big goals, you have actionable steps that are easier to digest and achieve.
Get an accountability buddy.
What better way to get stuff done than to have someone along for the ride?
Having a friend or accountability buddy by your side can help motivate you and keep you on track for your goals.
Not sure where to find accountability buddies? Try these fun (and free) resources:
NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writing Month, happens during the month of November. It’s a free worldwide event where participants try to write 50,000 words in 30 days. (I told you we’d come back to this.)
You can join the community and participate in online forums where you can join your region. Joining a region is great because it connects you to local writers. I’ve participated several years now and I love going to write-ins that my region holds. It’s basically a bunch of writers in one room, writing for a few hours. I have won* NaNoWriMo several times because of the motivation and focus I get by connecting with other NaNo writers.
*You “win” NaNo by writing 50,000 words before the end of November. You can learn more by visiting the website.
Join Facebook groups!
A quick google search of the terms “facebook groups for writers” will turn up a long list of different groups you can join. Some of them have thousands of members, some are smaller, but all can be great opportunities to meet like-minded people. Leave a comment on someone’s post and start up a conversation! I have actually made several connections and collaborations from Facebook groups. In fact, every Friday Art Crawl feature I’ve done was from an artist I met in a Facebook group!
Reward yourself for reaching milestones.
Remember those tangible goals I told you to set? Once you reach them, make sure you reward yourself for doing so!
What good is setting a goal if you don’t celebrate achieving that goal?
Check-in with your accountability buddy once a week, or once a month, however often you feel necessary, and share with each other how you’re doing. Celebrate goals you both have achieved.
Don’t worry if you got behind haven’t reached any goals yet or if it’s taking you longer than you anticipated. Life happens, so celebrate the fact you haven’t given up!
Carry a notebook with you.
If keeping a strict schedule or routine is not your style then keep it loose by writing on the go. (Even if a strict schedule is your style you should still carry a notebook with you.)
If you carry a notebook and a pen around with you then you can whip it out whenever you have downtime. You can write on your lunch break, while you’re waiting for the bus or while you’re on a long commute, or while you’re waiting in the doctor’s office. There are plenty of opportunities to write. (I spent 6 hours at a car dealership the other day and I was kicking myself forgetting my notebook! Seriously, why does buying a car have to suck so much?)
Anyway, remember how I didn’t want to hear the excuse about how you don’t have time to write? Now you do. There is so much time during the day that we spend unfocused or procrastinating that if we just put that time to good use, so much more could get done!
Your notebook could be used as a journal, a place to dump ideas from brainstorming sessions, do some free-writing to help you bust creative block, or you could outline your next project. Find whatever works for you; which brings us to our next tip:
Find your thing and go for it.
What may work for one person may not work for you and what works for you may not work for someone else.
You just have to experiment and find whatever works for you. It might take some trial and error but once you find your thing, run with it.
One last tip for today: Give yourself a break.
Developing a writing habit is work. You have to work at it every day and while it can be good to go all in and run at it full-force, it is also good to take a step back and practice some self-care. You don’t want to get burned out on something you are trying to make last a lifetime.
Alright, now that you’ve got some tips on developing a writing habit I have a challenge for you.
I have put together over 60 writing prompts along with a playlist of music for writing that is over SIX hours. You can get them fo’ free by signing up below.
Over 60 writing prompts is over two months worth of writing and starting October 1st, I am going to be using one prompt a day to practice some of my writing and I want you to join me! I’ll be using the hashtag #itcWritingCrew on Instagram to share my progress and follow along with you!
What are you waiting for? Sign-up now!
Enjoy your new writing habit! I'd love to hear how it goes!