If you wish to become a professional writer one day, it’s important to develop a writing habit.
Just like any vocation where talent and creativity are your main capital, discipline and consistent practice are a must.
Musicians and pro athletes practice for several hours almost daily to improve their performances.
As a writer, you can apply the same principle by aiming to write at least 500 words every day. Sounds daunting? Trust me, it’s easy.
In this article, I will share with you a few tips on how you can develop a writing habit. Read on.
10 Great Tips on How to Develop a Writing Habit
1. Find a Suitable Space to Write
I refer to this as the “writer’s corner”.
Writing requires you to put in a lot of attention and thinking. You should dedicate a specific corner of your house or office where you can avoid any distractions while writing.
Get a comfortable chair, preferably an ergonomic one, and a spacious table to place your computer and other stuff, and you’re set. You could place inspirational books, a pen stand, and other materials on this desk as well.
Keep this corner clean and clutter-free and make it a point that you will do your writing chores for the day whenever you sit in this corner. Soon, writing can transform into a daily ritual for you.
2. Start Journaling (Just 1 Page a Day is Enough)
Journaling can help you enhance your creative capabilities and build self-confidence as a writer.
Many writers resort to journaling every morning – three pages minimum and by hand. It helps them develop a powerful writing habit. It allows them to express their thoughts and opinions without being judged by others.
You don’t have to make anyone read it. It’s only for you, and it doesn’t have to speak about rosy things. That’s the beauty of journaling.
Writing every morning is flexing your creative muscles early in the day. This helps your mind to stay free for the rest of the day.
3. Set a Goal to Meet the Minimum Word Count
Planning backed by a time-based goal will never fail. Set a word count for yourself. I’d recommend writing a minimum of 500 words every day.
If you’re writing a book, you may not meet this count regularly. On such days, don’t be too hard on yourself. It is completely okay. However, ensure you are consistent as you form this writing habit.
Try not to skip writing even for a day. And if you do, make up for it by spending more time writing the next day. Penning down a narrative of how your day went is a great storytelling exercise.
4. Set Aside a Particular Time to Write
With no exception, plan your week in a way where you set aside a few hours for writing at least once a day.
For example, during the weekdays, you can choose evenings to write. On weekends, you can choose mornings or vice versa.
Even if you’re on a vacation, this is one habit you shouldn’t give up. When you’re traveling, your mind is calmer and free. This enables you to write fluently. Besides, all the new sights and sounds you will encounter during the trip may be worth writing about.
Make sure you’re clear of any distractions during this dedicated “writing hour”. No phones, no emails, nothing. Only focus on writing and don’t let external things tempt you. It’ll be hard, but trust me, it’s going to be worth it.
If you need more help in this area, try downloading or purchasing a writing tracker app that can boost your productivity.
5. Include a “Thinking Time”
As you set aside some time to write every day, including time for “brainstorming sessions” is also a great idea.
You may come up with bad ideas or those that you can regret later, but that’s okay.
Once in a while, you will turn up with great results too. The writing process can be complex and ideation and creative thinking sessions can help you improve your craft.
Set a timer for yourself when you indulge in these “thinking sessions”, so you don’t lose track of time. We all know how easy it is to get swayed away.
6. Set Rewards for Yourself
When we expect rewards for completing a work/activity, our brain releases the feel-good hormone, dopamine.
Simple rewards such as having a social media browsing time or treating yourself to your favorite drink concoction can help you stay motivated to finish your writing tasks.
Link your writing habit to a reward-based goal. You can even bundle two goals together. For example, you want to walk your dog in the morning and then come back to write 500 words. If you accomplish this, treat yourself to a 30mins social media spree!
Instagram may have kept you away from writing on most days. So, inhibit yourself from checking the platform until you’ve reached your 500-word count. Then, gift yourself 30 mins of browsing time once you met your goal. This will help you stay motivated.
7. Spot Writing Obstacles and Overcome Them
Procrastination is not only a serious obstacle in writing, but it could escalate into writer’s block too.
Putting things off can be caused by various reasons. It could be because of a lack of confidence, a distaste for writing, a scarcity of time, or just plain laziness.
You need to identify what’s the biggest obstacle and look for alternatives to overcome it. Apart from procrastination, there can be other regular hindrances. This could include checking what’s new on Netflix, sorting your laundry, getting engrossed with playing video games, etc.
Ensure you steer clear of these obstacles to ensure you can write smoothly.
8. Make the Practice of Writing Easier
While setting a specific time and meeting a word count is important every day, it doesn’t have to be tedious. There are ways to make the process easier.
See, wasting time doesn’t require any effort. There are tons of distractions to keep us off writing, but there are changes you can make to support your writing habit.
If you want to write before going to bed, keep your notepad or laptop next to your bed. Or keep a small notebook in your purse, or your car, so you can write while you travel. This will all push you to write and meet your daily word count goal, one way or another.
9. Search for Accountability
Writing can be a lonely job, to be honest, but you are not alone.
You can connect with millions of writers on social media platforms and join online communities. Form connections and make someone your writing buddy.
Set goals for each other, be accountable and share regular updates on the progress. Your buddy can keep you on track and help you accomplish everyday tasks.
Search for someone who understands your goals and wants to see you succeed. They should also be able to provide constructive criticism as and when required.
10. Learn from People Who’ve Already Done It
It’s always a great idea to learn from people who have “been there, done that”. Isn’t it?
Read a self-help book where famous authors write their personal stories on how to develop effective writing habits.
Books like “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” by Stephen King or William Zinsser’s “On Writing Well” is amazing.
You shouldn’t trade your writing time, however, with reading. Set aside a different time for devouring those books, like before going to bed.
Inculcate in your mind the best practices shared by bestselling authors. They know what they are talking about, as their numbers don’t lie.
Isabel Allende once said, “Write what should not be forgotten”. How true, isn’t it? If you are looking to develop a writing habit that works, don’t think. Just get started.
I hope these tips have been helpful. Let me know in the comments section below if I missed anything.