Forming a Writing Habit

To be a writer you must write. It’s common sense and one of the most quoted pieces of writing advice. Saying you’re going to write and then actually writing, on the other hand, is easier said than done.

I like to write. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer. I once even worked as a beauty editor, being paid to write articles about hair and makeup. This didn’t mean I was a writer. At least not the kind I wanted to be.

For me, being a writer meant writing books. Doing this, however, takes time and commitment.

Despite regularly churning out beauty articles, I hardly ever worked on my own writing. Then, one day, I had the opportunity to get back to the story that had been percolating in my brain–and the time to get it done. Trouble was, I didn’t know how.

I spent a lot of time planning to write, but then not actually writing.

I needed to form a writing habit, one that would see me through to putting words on paper, day after day.

To get there, these are the tips that helped me…

Write for Ten Minutes a Day

Sometimes that ten minutes resulted in a page of work, other days it was barely a sentence, but I kept it up. Getting something written every day grew my work and kept me inspired. It’s also addictive. Once you’ve been writing for two weeks straight, you don’t want to break the streak.

Keep a Visual Track Record

Mark it in a calendar or create a spreadsheet, whatever is going to give you a visual that will keep you going. I have a word doc that lists every month of the year, and I make a note each day about what I’ve worked on. At the end of the month/year, I can see how many days I was able to achieve some writing. It’s easy to do, and a great way to stay motivated.

Pick the Right Time

Finding the time to write–even only ten minutes–can be difficult. In order to establish your writing habit, make it the first thing or the last thing that you do for the day. First thing allows you to get some words down before the rest of the day steals your time, last thing should mean that everything else is done, and there are no excuses not to add to your word count.

Once your writing habit has been formed, you’ll find it hard not to write every day. It will become just as natural as brushing your teeth. The next step is to then extend that ten minute limit, and when you’re ready for more, to set up some writing goals!

– K.M. Allan

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