As with all things in life that are good for you, it can be tough at the start. I know from experience that talking about building a daily writing habit is much easier than actually establishing one. You can have the best intentions in the world but inevitably life gets in the way and the habit falls by the wayside. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve told myself, ‘Starting today, I’m going to write every day’, only for things to go wrong when I get a few days or weeks (if I’m lucky) into it. Sound familiar?
Here are 3 tips that have helped me in the past, but we also want to go deeper on this topic and produce more resources to help you. Let us know in the comments what your biggest struggles are when it comes to writing every day.
1. Start small
When motivation is high, it’s easy to jump in feet first and commit to more than you can realistically achieve. It’s a vicious cycle because when you fail, you lose the motivation and beat yourself up. I would recommend starting with a manageable target like 7 days of daily writing.
7 days may not seem like a long time, but when building a new habit it’s important to start small. Writing every day for 7 days is a much less daunting task than writing every day forever and ever until death does part you from your pen (or keyboard). Once 7 days becomes achievable then the next 7 will be easier. It’s all about small steps and manageable chunks.
2. Set a time
Our lives are busier than ever and if you don’t set time aside deliberately for writing, it will inevitably get pushed aside for more pressing tasks. If you’re serious about building a writing habit, it’s important to choose a time and be strict about showing up and getting the words down. It’s helpful if the time is the same every day because then it becomes a routine. Routines are easier to follow because they’re predictable and they eventually become ingrained. Instead of thinking ‘when can I fit in some writing today?’, you’ll know that, at 7am (or whenever works for you), it’s your time to write.
3. Don’t worry what you write
Once your writing habit is firmly established, you’ll be churning out masterpieces like never before. The amount of work you produce and the quality of your writing will increase exponentially. However, it takes time to get that habit to the stage where it’s as automatic as brushing your teeth every day.
In the early days of your daily writing, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to write something amazing. At first, you’re just working on habit building and all that’s important is showing up. Writing pieces of real quality can come later. So don’t worry about what you write, just make sure you write something.
If you’re struggling for inspiration or you’re not quite up to tackling that work-in-progress novel you’ve had on the back burner forever, just start by writing a diary of what you did the day before. Prompts can be helpful if you want a push to get the first words down, or why not just start writing and see what comes out? You’re allowed to write something you’ll never edit or use for anything useful.