How to Develop and Maintain a Writing Habit
The only way to succeed as a writer is to develop and maintain a writing habit. You have to become a persistent writer and keep working on that book, novel, script, or whatever it is you’ve set your mind to.
However, that’s not as easy as it sounds. You may promise yourself to write daily only for your busy schedule to get in the way.
So, use the following tips to develop a writing habit, maintain it, and achieve your goals.
1. Be intentional
Being intentional in everything you do trains your mind to carry out assigned tasks as it should and helps you reach your goals.
If you are deliberate in your actions and choices, you’ll easily form a habit, get a step closer to your goal, and ensure success. So, if you want to become a persistent writer, be intentional. Do one thing daily that takes you a step closer to becoming a persistent writer. For example, write daily or at least 5 times a day. Set aside at least 30 minutes a day to write something down.
2. Start journaling
Journaling is one of the best ways to develop a writing habit. You can write your thoughts, emotions, experiences, and anything you want without fearing judgment or criticism.
If you want to write about quitting your job, you can do so. If you want to write about that fight you had with your supervisor you can do so. If you want to process that disagreement you had with a client, you can write about it.
Journaling helps you understand your thoughts, master your emotions, build your self-confidence, and improve your creativity. Not only that. It is also key to forming a daily writing habit because once you start, it’s difficult to stop.
So, buy a journal and write something daily or at least 5 days a week.
Start your mornings by writing anything that comes to mind or what you’re feeling. You can also write in the evenings right before bed if you prefer.
Start with 3 to 4 pages to avoid getting stuck weeks down the line. If you don’t find the inspiration you need or feel too exhausted to write, write one page only.
The most important thing is to get something down as often as you can.
3. Set achievable writing goals
Set achievable writing goals to keep yourself working and motivated to do so.
Commit to writing at least 600 words per day and stick to your goal.
600 words daily is a reasonable and attainable goal.
Don’t worry too much about what to write about. If you don’t know what to write, just write anything that comes to mind. The goal is to create a routine and turn writing into a habit.
If you are working on your first or next book, set deadlines. Decide how long it’s going to take you to finish that book, set a completion date, and break it into smaller goals. For example, if it’s going to take you 3 months to write the book, divide those three months into weekly goals and daily goals.
Set a daily word count and a weekly word count to ensure you reach the deadline. If you do that, it will be easy for you to become consistent and turn writing into a daily habit.
4. Use a timer
Use a timer when working to avoid exhaustion and ensure you write something the following day. Consider your targeted word count, the ultimate goal, and other daily tasks you engage in when setting your timer. This will help you achieve your daily writing goal while ensuring your other work doesn’t suffer.
If you assign an hour a day to writing, set your timer to 60 minutes. Add breaks in between to reboot your mind. For example, instead of setting the timer to 60 minutes, set it to 30 minutes, take a 5-minute break, and continue writing for another 30 minutes.
Stop writing when the timer goes off to avoid burnout.
5. Quiet your mind
One thing that makes it difficult to write consistently is overthinking or having too many thoughts racing through your mind.
Your thoughts can be a distraction. They have the power to distract you from what you should be doing and force you to entertain things that have nothing to do with the task at hand.
So, every time you sit down to write, quiet your mind. Block whatever thoughts that come to your mind and focus only on writing.
That means you don’t think about that fight you had, that promising business opportunity, or that deadline you missed.
Concentrate on the task at hand and give it your best efforts.
6. Have a writing space
Have a writing space to refocus your mind and stay committed to the task at hand.
Your writing space should be clutter-free and professional. That means the only thing that should be on your desk is your laptop, mouse, and notepad. Everything else is a distraction.
You can also place your favorite quote on writing on your desk to boost your confidence and stay inspired. Choose a quote by your favorite author, a famous writer, or any quote that keeps you motivated and inspired to act.
7. Use rewards
When you reach your weekly target, monthly goals, or your ultimate goal, reward yourself.
Use rewards to keep your spirits up, stay inspired to write, and look forward to the next task.
If you managed to reach your weekly or monthly goals, for example, you can set aside 2 hours to watch that movie you’ve always wanted to see. If you finished your book on time or met client deadlines, go for a spa treatment or buy yourself that expensive shoe you’ve always wanted.
Don’t just focus on working and fail to enjoy your successes. Celebrate your wins to stay motivated to write.
8. Join writing groups and contests
Writing groups and writing contests ensure accountability and help you commit. So, identify at least 4 writing groups and join them.
The best thing about these groups is that you get to network with people who want to achieve the same goals. People who will keep you encouraged and focused. So, join the groups for encouragement and to find new opportunities.
Join writing contests to ensure you write daily, improve your skills, and maintain your writing habit.
Some of the best places to search for contests are: