How to make writing a habit

habit

Writing flourishes best when it is done in a routine, so make it a habit! The only way to make it a habit is by writing every day. If that’s not possible, be sure to write at least once every two-three days.

Setting yourself up for a writing session

Step 1:Make the time

Pick a time, preferably every day, where you can have one or two hours to yourself. Yes, others might not like it at first but don’t stress too much about that. Soon enough, the rest of the household will adjust their schedules around yours and before you know it, your face isn’t even welcome if you come out of your writing corner ahead of time.

Use ‘dead’ time to your advantage. Stuck in the waiting room at the dentist? Have your writer notebook with you and use the time to brainstorm about ideas and solutions. Maybe you could even get ahead of your list of research topics (assuming you have a smart phone on you).

Step 2: Before you sit yourself down, make sure your work space is ready for you.

To do list:

  • Put the right music on, preferably music without vocals in any language you understand (as this may distract your thoughts). Check out atmospheric sound effects like rain and roaring fires if that helps. Faux coffee shop audio is also available online for free (the speech is too mixed up to understand so it won’t distract you).  Listening to video game and movie scores can help establish the right emotions within yourself.
  • Clear the desk. No don’t just clear enough space for your arms, really clear it. Get rid of everything that won’t be used for your writing session. Put it all out of sight.
  • Prep your software and reference books. Have them handy.

Now choose

Option 1: Warm up by rewriting yesterday’s fresh work. Familiarize yourself with the chapter by reading back a little if needed.

Option 2: Start with ‘controlled daydreaming’. You let your mind wander in a particular direction, image how a scene can play out or what your hero might be feeling. For proper controlled daydreaming, you need to be moving, any activity that can be done on auto pilot. You can’t do this while sitting still, staring at your blank page! Now go for that walk. While you walk, think about the next scene you want to write. Flesh it out in your mind. Ask yourself the hows and whys. Doing household chores will work just fine as well.

Step 3: Write

It doesn’t matter if it’s pure shit or gold coming out of those fingertips. Just write.

Step 4: Reward

Pick whatever works for you. If you want to stick to productive reward, then try tracking your word count and progress. End every writing session by seeing how much progress you’ve made, as this give you a sense of accomplishment. It also helps you judge how realistic your deadline is to your working speed and whether your current writing time will be enough.