Whether you have been interested in adopting the habit of journaling or craving to write that book you've always wanted to write, having a frequent writing habit will help you achieve your goals quicker. Going from writing a few times a year to writing nearly every day can be a major feat for some, but it doesn’t have to be a daunting task. We will discuss a few tips to help you build a successful writing habit that makes writing every day enjoyable.
Start slow and often
Organize your environment
All about anchor habits
Set different goals
Read on as we discuss these tips in more detail!
Starting slow and often
If you are wanting to start a habit of writing each day, consider starting slow as if you are just dipping a toe in the water. If writing is new to you, you have a busy schedule, or it is difficult to focus for long periods of time, slowly incorporating this new habit of writing into your schedule may help reduce the risk of burnout. Starting with just a few minutes at a time will help you leave each writing session wanting to write more, and excited for the next session tomorrow. Try this: on the first day of starting to write, set a goal to write for just five minutes. Set a timer on your phone or device and stop writing as soon as the timer expires. Do this for a week. After the first week, you may feel that five minutes is too short to write, so next week, you add five more minutes to your timer! The goal of this is to create a habit that sticks, is achievable, and is enjoyable to add to your routine. For some, jumping into an hour of writing each day may cause burnout, unenjoyment, and a lack of writing in the long run. Maybe you will benefit from jumping into an hour of writing; it’s all about exploring and doing what makes the habit stick best for you!
Organize your environment
Before starting to write, it may be beneficial to have a designated writing space. If you are adopting a writing habit as an outlet for expressing your thoughts via journaling, writing a book, or a blog, having a clutter-free physical environment will help to have a clear mind. Starting to write in a space where your work, daily chores, or distractions are around, may be difficult to express your most authentic thoughts. These distractions could also cause you to spend more time writing than you desired, leaving you feeling like writing takes up too much of your time. If work emails are infiltrating your writing space, mail on the counter catches your attention, or social media notifications ping you every few minutes, you may end up spending more time on those than actually writing. A scheduled hour of writing turned into two hours of writing, emails, social media scrolling, more writing, more scrolling, etc. Eliminating distractions from the beginning will help you focus your time on the habit you are wanting to stick to.
Anchor habits are a short list of habits that are important to you, anchor with you when life is chaotic, and the habits that you want to do no matter the conditions. After solidifying your anchor habits, evaluate if you have room to add in a writing habit. There is a certain threshold of habits we are able to hold ourselves to. Depending on your current life situations, and different things requiring your attention, there may be minimal room to add a writing habit on top of your anchor habits. When trying to add in a writing habit during an unviable time, it may feel defeating and feel like writing is too hard. We want this writing habit to stick rather than feel like a chore on top of your other habits. Adding in this habit at the right time may make a world of difference!
Play with habit stacking
Habit stacking is pairing a new, desired behavior with an already-developed habit you don’t have to think about. There are thousands of habits you do each day that are on autopilot. Brushing your teeth, showering, eating breakfast, driving home from work, brewing a cup of coffee, or closing the blinds before bed, are examples of habits you may have already adopted. James Clear gives the template to help you habit stack your own habits: After/before [current habit], I will [new habit]. An example of this could be: After brewing a cup of coffee, I will sit at my writing desk and write for at least five minutes. Brewing the coffee (your already-defined habit) will remind you to pick up your journal and write (your new habit). This format can be used in a variety of ways, at any time of day. The key is to trial and error on what works best for you! Whatever makes doing the habit more enjoyable, and easily memorable, will help make it stick.
Try setting different goals
The final suggestion for building a writing habit is to play with different variables when setting your goals around writing. Variables in this scenario could be writing for a set word count, number of minutes written, time of day, or number of times writing per week. Setting a goal around writing may assist you in adopting the habit of writing every day and making it stick. It’s all about doing the new habit in a way that feels enjoyable, and not overwhelming. For example, if I were to set a goal for myself to write at 5:00 PM every day, it may make writing feel like a chore.
When a busy schedule makes it hard to know what your availability will be like at 5:00 PM, and you miss a day of writing due to the time, it may feel like writing is an impossible habit to include in your day. However, if you set a goal to write at least three times per week to start, for at least 10 minutes, it gives power and flexibility to write when you have the time. Once you have achieved this, and the habit is starting to stick, increase the number of times per week in order to achieve your long-term habit goal of writing every day.
There is no cookie-cutter way of achieving the goal of writing every day if that is what you desire. Everyone is different, enjoys different things, and builds habits a little bit differently. It’s all about trying different ways to make the habit stick and doing what works best for you. Most importantly, if one way does not work for you, give yourself grace, and do not give up! Maybe the best way to make the habit stick is right around the corner. What habits are you trying to form?