The Writing Habit that Sticks

Step 1 – Make S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Example:

Specific – finish writing the opening scene
Measurable – around 600 words
Attainable – Reserve three hours a week to write
Relevant – this completes act 1
Time-bound – finish before the end of the month

Step 2 – Make the time

Preferably on a fixed day/time schedule for consistency but squeeze a few hours in at least once every three days. Use ‘dead’ time, such as sitting in the waiting room at the dentist to keep the project alive by looking up research questions on your phone.

Step 3 – Prep your space

Empty the desk of all distractions. Make your coffee. Put on whatever tunes inspire you or keep you focused. Make sure your dog is walked and your family knows not to disturb you for the next few hours.

Step 4 – Set a Reminder

This cue or trigger kicks off the writing session. By conditioning yourself to write upon perceiving the cue, you’ll automatically get to work every time. A specific phone alarm is sufficient.

Step 5 – Execute the Routine

Warm up by editing a page or two from the last session. Write gibberish for a page or two. It doesn’t matter.

Now write. Keep the keyboard banging. Keep the pen moving. Don’t analyze, just keep going. No filters. No holding back. Be brutally honest. Ignore grammar, spelling and punctuation. Focus only on practicing strong verbs and telling details. Never apologize for what comes out. This is writing time, even if your writing sucks. You can edit a bad page, not a blank one.

Tips:
Early mornings are the best.
The colours blue and green enhance creativity. The colour red enhances performance on detail orientated tasks.

Step 6 – Reward yourself

Take a moment to appreciate the benefit you gained from having written. Check out the progress in word count. Give yourself a sense of accomplishment by ticking it off your to-do list.