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How to Build a Regular Writing Habit (or any habit!)

A lot of people I talk to want to build a regular writing habit, but don’t know how. Here’s my process, which works for undertaking anything new:

1. Frequency: Start with a goal you know you can do. Rather than writing daily for 2 hours, for examples, try for two days a week for 45 min. Put the sessions on your calendar so they become a legitimate use of time and that you can honestly tell others, “I can’t make that time because I’ve got something else going.”

2. Motivation: Usually I’ll get at least 5 channels of energy moving me toward the endeavor. I’ll 1) network with friends to see if they want to meet and write, 2) take a class that includes homework that makes me work in between sessions, 3) find a contest with a realistic deadline, 4) look at my schedule to actively find time.

3. Reward: I almost always tie the activity to something pleasant, like something simple as drinking my favorite coffee or following the session by eating my favorite thing for dinner.

4. Obstacles: My calculation is that for every 1 step I think I need to make to progress, there are actually 20 obstacles in the way. If I don’t meet the goal I set that day, I make sure to find the obstacle that kept me from succeeding so I can avoid it next time.

I’ve been writing my whole life, so writing per day is like breathing. But I have taken on a number of other challenges for which I’ve had to follow the above process. But there are certainly plenty more resources to help, like the above book. If you have particular methods or resources that work for you, let me know!

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