Writing is a talent that can be both gratifying and difficult to master. It is critical to create a consistent writing habit in order to become a skilled writer. This will assist you in writing more frequently, producing higher-quality work, and developing discipline. Here are some pointers and tricks to get you started.
1. Set Goals to Establish a Writing Habit
Setting writing goals is an important first step towards developing a consistent writing habit. This can assist you in remaining motivated, focused, and on track. Make sure your writing objectives are practical, attainable, and measurable. For example, you could set a goal of writing for 30 minutes per day or 500 words per day.
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is an excellent example of seeing writing goals in action. Each year, thousands of writers commit to writing 50,000 words between November 1st and November 30th. Although this sounds like a daunting task, it’s the word count that matters most. The trick is to not fret over quality or whether you’re a fake or a hack. Setting a specific goal like this can trigger our motivation and turn off our internal editor and critic. Trust me, the goal is achievable. In my own case, it took me two attempts, but the second year I tried it, I managed to hit the word count goal!
2. Create a Writing Schedule
Making a writing schedule is essential for developing a consistent habit. Determine your most productive time of day and organize your writing time appropriately. Set aside time to write in the morning, for example, if you are a morning person. Also, keep to your schedule and treat your writing time like you would any other essential appointment.
And don’t be afraid to make adjustments. Writing in the morning sounds like a great idea. However, if you (like me) aren’t a morning person, it simply might not work. I’m most productive from the mid afternoon to early evening, so that’s the best window for me to build my own habit. Find what works best for you based on your preferences, your availability, and any other demands on your time.
3. Start Small When Building a Writing Habit
It is critical to begin small while developing a persistent writing habit. Begin with minor goals, such as writing for 15 minutes every day, and gradually increase your writing time as you gain confidence. Starting small can help you gain traction.
The key here is valuing consistency over quantity. Writing for 15 minutes might seem disappointing if you manage to write only half a page. At this stage, it’s not the word count that matters; it’s the time you dedicated to your craft.
Staring small means hitting an achievable goal one day so you can hit it again the next day. After a week of such writing sessions, you’ll log more than 100 minutes of writing time. That’s impressive! That’s certainly better than not writing at all because you fretted over writing only half a page at a time. Even if you did manage only half a page each session, over the course of a week, that would mean more than three pages of writing, or more than 750 words. That’s 750 more words than you had at the beginning of the week. That’s a good start, and you can certainly build on that.
4. Eliminate Distractions That Could Derail Your Writing Habit
It helps to avoid distractions when establishing and maintaining a writing habit. Find a peaceful place to write, turn off your phone, and close any unwanted browser tabs. To eliminate distractions, technologies such as internet blockers or noise-cancelling headphones can be useful.
Distractions big and small are the killers of meaningful productivity, especially writing. Our brains have become accustomed to expecting distractions throughout the day. The distractions we take for granted include friends and family, social media, email, TV, video games, or any other distraction that interrupts our focus and concentration on writing.
Learn to value your time. If you have set a schedule for writing, protect it by turning off these distractions or moving away from them. If you have a quiet place to write, that’s great. If you don’t have such a luxury, consider being more open about your writing and let people know that you need some time to yourself to work on it. Communicate your wants and needs.
5. Find a Writing Community
Finding a writing community might assist you in remaining inspired and accountable. Join writing organizations or online writing communities to meet other authors, share your work, and get comments. Furthermore, these networks can offer inspiration and encouragement when you need it the most.
Depending on where you live, this might include finding a group at a branch of your local library or a local community centre. Online groups, however, are more convenient. You can find many of them on Facebook and Reddit. There is also a strong community on Twitter under the #WritingCommunity hashtag. You may also find groups well-suited to your needs by simply googling them and finding their dedicated websites.
Keep in mind, however, that attending a writing group in person will have its own pros and cons versus participating in a writing group online. Consider trying both types of groups to see what works best for you.
6. Use Writing Prompts
Writing prompts might assist you in overcoming writer’s block and generating fresh ideas. Prompts might range from a single word to a full sentence in length. Experiment with several prompts to see what works best for you. Prompt generators can be found online. There are also books full of suggestions for this reason.
The aforementioned writing communities are also great sources for writing prompts. A community prompt is a fun way to both build a writing habit and engage with other writers. This will motivate your own writing while also allowing you to give and receive feedback.
7. Write Every Day for Consistency
The most effective strategy to develop a consistent writing practice is to write every day. Even if it is only for a few minutes, strive to write every day. The more you write, the easier it becomes, and your writing skills will grow.
This hearkens back to setting a schedule and starting small. Combing these two will help you make daily writing a reality. Remember, consistency is key. If you focus on that first, everything else will follow. This is like a lot of other skills, such as learning a language or playing an instrument. Practicing daily for 15 minutes is better than practicing for 30 minutes at a time on random days when you happen to feel like it. Good habits need stability and regularity.
8. Take Breaks from Your Writing
Taking breaks is critical to developing a steady writing habit. Writing may be intellectually and physically draining, so taking breaks to recover is essential. Take a stroll, stretch, or do something you enjoy to relieve stress and prevent burnout.
If you get to a point where you want to write for 30 minutes or 60 minutes at a time, consider breaking this into smaller timeframes. For example, consider writing for 15 minutes before taking a 5-minute “microbreak” and getting back at it for another 15 minutes. If you’d like to log an hour of writing, consider writing in two 30-minute chunks. This will help you keep focused and your writing energy flowing.
9. Celebrate Your Writing Successes
Celebrating your successes is an important part of building a consistent writing habit. When you reach a writing goal, take time to acknowledge your accomplishment and celebrate. This can help you stay motivated and keep you on track.
Achieving a goal, no matter how small, is an important accomplishment. Although this in itself can be rewarding, giving yourself a little something extra will help reinforce your writing habit. For example, if you hit your goal to write daily for 30 days, consider rewarding yourself with a new book or a nice pen. The immediate satisfaction of rewarding yourself with something tangible will feel great. However, also consider the feeling you’ll get every time you see the book on your shelf or use the pen, knowing that you earned it through your hard work and dedication.
10. Be Kind to Yourself
Building a consistent writing habit takes time and patience. Be kind to yourself and don’t beat yourself up if you miss a writing session or fall behind on your goals. Remember, the most important thing is to keep writing and stay consistent.
One of my favourite pieces of wisdom comes from Buddhist author and teacher Sharon Salzberg: “We can always begin again.” This is true both in spiritual practice and with a writing practice. If you feel like you’ve failed at doing something in your writing practice or in your attempts to build a consistent habit, don’t dwell on it. Tomorrow is a new day, and we can always start anew. Always remember: A day where you write something, anything, is better than a day where you choose not to write at all. Good luck!
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