The Writerly Habit

This blog is about my struggles to get into the habit of writing regularly.

Setting a Daily Habit


Ok, we're getting back to our roots here. It's time to set a daily writing habit. There are many different kinds of goals that can motivate you, the trick is to find the one that works best. I like to have a set number of pages to complete. I bought a really cute spiral notebook and decided that I would fill it by the end of the month. In fact, every month I will be filling one. Now, we are already part way through the month which means I need to write 8.5 pages a day in order to reach my goal. Last night, I wrote ten without breaking a sweat. I'm going to try 10 pages a day for one month and see how it goes, after that I might change that number up or down.

For me, pages work. For you it could be a word count, or even just writing for a certain amount of time. For years, I convinced myself that I needed large chunks of time in order to get my writing done. That couldn't be further from the truth though. If you really look at how you spend your time, I'm sure you could squeeze some time in. I've written while in the chair at the dentist's office, waiting for my mouth to numb up so they could begin work. I've written on lunch breaks, ten minute breaks, and even between calls. I suggest you set a goal, an attainable one, and this will motivate you to find time to write.

As far as equipment, I prefer writing in a notebook. If you prefer using a laptop, that's find but keep in mind that it may limit you. I know in my old office, you could not use laptops so if I didn't write longhand, I couldn't get any writing done. Don't trap yourself by thinking that you have to have one set method. Try different things. The important part is to write and write consistently. Make appointments with yourself and keep them. I've been using my iPhone and setting an alarm when it's time to write. This helps remind me that I have something I should be doing and keeps me from getting sucked into a t.v. program. You can do this too. You don't have to do it more than a day in advance if you have a hectic schedule like mine. Right now, I'm looking for a job (actually I got hired today), running errands, taking care of the house, and visiting my family. That's too much for me to know more that 24 hours in advance when I will have time. The night before, I look at my schedule and fit it in.

Be sure to hold yourself accountable. If you blow off your appointments, forget about getting that novel finished and published. You've got to make some kind of commitment. I had convinced myself that my work left me with little or no energy to produce creative work. This was partially true, at the end of the day I had no energy. But what about first thing in the morning? Before my day was soured by asinine office politics? I could've easily gotten up an hour earlier and got my writing done. Finito. Really, don't convince yourself that you have to have a low stress job to be creative. Make the time, set goals, and reward yourself for achieving them. You can do this!

On a side note, I got hired by another call center today. At first, I was hesitant to take the job, thinking that my creativity would be zapped again. Then I realized that it was a choice. I could decide to get up and write. I could decide to write on my lunch break. Sometimes, writing is a welcome escape from a demanding job. I had just convinced myself that I could write and work where I was. This time around, I am going to do things differently. I will label myself as writer, and consider that a job that I have to show up for. The call center is simply how I pay my bills and afford the occasional weekend in a cabin at Buena Vista. That will be the wonderful thing about this new job, I will make enough to afford these kind of excursions.

So, if anyone is still reading this blog, please post a comment about your writing habit.

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