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blog Creating a Writing Habit — 6 Simple Tips

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Svrtnsse, Dec 3, 2017.

  1. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

    Svrtnsse submitted a new blog post:

    Creating a Writing Habit — 6 Simple Tips
    by Nils Ödlund


    One of the big secrets (hint: it's not actually a secret) of finishing that novel you're writing is to get into the habit of writing regularly. There's an adage of sorts about how if you write 100 words every day you'll finish a novel in a year.

    Once you sit down to write, adding 100 words to your story doesn't take very long. The tricky part is to sit down and actually do it, and to do it every day.

    I'm in the fortunate position where I have plenty of time to write, and once I sit down to do it I usually end up writing quite a bit more than 100 words. Even then, it's been difficult for me to get into the habit of writing daily. At any given time there are just so many other things that seem more interesting/important/entertaining/whatever.

    Don't get me wrong. I love writing, I just have a hard time getting started.

    There are a few tricks that help me get going though, and once I've begun, it's usually quite easy to just keep at it.

    1. Set a starting time in advance.

    When I have the opportunity to plan ahead I try to do so. Before I go to bed in the evening I decide on what time to start writing. It's a trick to give the task of writing more importance than whatever other distraction I have going on at the moment.

    If I've decided that I'm going to start writing at 1 pm I have a better idea of how much time I have for other tasks, and I can get them done ahead...
    Continue reading the Original Blog Post.
    Peat, LWFlouisa, Chessie2 and 2 others like this.
  2. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

    That's awesome. :)
    Really happy to hear it's working out for you. Best of luck with your novel
  3. rhd

    rhd Troubadour

    This actually worked for my art so why shouldn't it work for my writing...
    Svrtnsse likes this.
  4. StepIntoTheRoad

    StepIntoTheRoad Dreamer

    The ear-buds even when alone is a big one for me. Instead of music, I have an hour-long thunderstorm track that I play whenever I'm trying to focus. It's a fabulous Pavlovian technique - if I hear rain I do work.

    My favorite way to measure progress is a habit tracker. I have a streak on the app, and I know if I miss a day then that streak will go to zero and it will take me a long time to get back to it.
    I like to pair streaking (pun intended) with making the barrier to entry as low as possible. 100 words is a great goal because you can even knock it out on days when you're feeling really out of it and have no motivation to write. This low barrier to entry helps keep the streak alive, and I learn to make room for myself every day.

    The thing you mentioned that I wish I were better at was #3 "Go Back There." I don't write at the same time every day because my days are so open-ended. I have noticed the writing in the morning is superior and more creative than the writing I do after 3 pm.
  5. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

    I think the low entry thing you mention is really good. It may seem counterintuitive, but I believe that in a case like this it's better to set your goal too low than too high.
    It's not about aiming for the stars and at least hitting the treetops, but about getting a ball rolling and keeping it in motion. The daily word count goal is secondary to the goal of writing every day.
  6. Cu Mara

    Cu Mara Dreamer

    I definitely agree about the trappings. I prefer to have a yellow legal pad with me to write, even when I am working on the computer. Something about the color of the paper just seems a little less ominous than the daunting blank white page.

    And I love the 100 word starting point per day. I feel I can accomplish this goal even when life gets chaotic.

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