How to Build a Writing Habit

How to Build a Writing Habit: A practical guide based on habit science.

 

 

In my last post, I wrote about why writing is so good for you and how you should approach writing. Now, I wanted to give you some more practical tips for how to write; more specifically, how to build a writing habit.

Sidenote: I say build specifically here because you do not really start a new habit. You can't go from not doing something every day to suddenly doing it every day. If you do, you might have a super power, because you're not like the rest of us. That is why New Year's Resolutions are infamously not kept throughout the year. 

I learned about habits when I purchased a 30-day Habit Journal from Worthy Tweaks, which lead me through exercises and provided some information that helped me understand the way habits work. This blog article will give you a few helpful tips for building a new habit, but if you want to learn more or apply it to another area of your life, I really recommend that you purchase one of WorthyTweak's journals. Not only does it give you an in-depth look at what I'm going to show you here, it gives you space to work through it. Each day, you have half a page to write down a few sentences about your experience with the new habit. It provides a framework to make it easier to accomplish the feat of successfully changing your life by changing your habits. And it really does make a difference.

But let's get down to business.

How Do You Build a New Habit?

The Run-Down

  • Build up to it slowly. If you want to do something everyday, start with twice a week and once you have that down, work your way up.
  • Be realistic.
  • Plan for failure / deviation from your goal. Decide what you'll do to gently get yourself back on track.
  • Match it up with another habit. If it's something you want to do every day, pick another daily task or habit that will be the trigger for your new habit.
  • Set up the right conditions for success. Make it as easy and convenient as possible (ahead of time) to go through with your plans to do the new thing when it's time.

 

Now I will give you an example of each thing on this list by illustrating how you would build a writing habit in particular. Remember that for you, it will probably be different from the example below. Cater it to your needs, your lifestyle, and your goal.

How Do You Build a Writing Habit?

It's a good idea to make a habit plan, where you focus on your goal and how to start, why you want to undertake this, and what you need before you get going. (Again, you have the space and opportunity for this in the Worthy Tweaks planner.) Use the Run-Down above to get you started.

My example habit plan:

Build up to it slowly.

I want to write more often in general. It doesn't have to be every day, but every other day or three times a week would be ideal. I am going to start by writing in my journal or writing to my pen pal every Sunday. After three weeks of that, I will start writing on Sunday and on Tuesday evenings, after yoga class and before bed. 

Be realistic.

If I do not need to reply to my pen pal, I will just write in my journal that evening.  I'll write for at least 5 minutes, but after that, I'll stop whenever I feel done with it. If I am working on a letter to my pen pal, I will write as much as I can and if I don't finish, I'll make sure to come back to it next time.

Plan for deviation from your goal.

If I don't write on Sunday, I will write the following Tuesday evening, after yoga class and before bed.

Match it up with another daily / weekly habit that will act as the trigger for your new habit.

If I am writing on Sunday, I will do it when I'm having my morning coffee, before I'm busy with whatever else I'm doing for the day. If I am writing on Tuesday, I will do it after yoga class and before bed.

Make it as easy on yourself as possible.

Buy now / this week:
|_| Journal
|_| Unlined paper for writing letters or stationery
|_| nice pen
|_| new coffee / tea mug

When I have a journal and pen, I will make sure it is in the kitchen, easy to reach when I am making coffee or tea. To make sure I will do it on Tuesday, I will make myself a cup of tea after yoga and journal downstairs so my stuff is always in the same place. If I am really tired, I can take them upstairs and journal in bed, but I will make sure that if I bring them upstairs, I will take them back the next morning when I go down for work and place them back in their spot for next time. To remind me to put them back, I will set the journal and pen somewhere visible and close to the bedroom door. I will also keep a throw pillow on one of the dining chairs so it is a bit comfier while I am writing.

What to Remember

It takes a while to build a habit. If you are struggling, change things up. Try a different structure. Make it as easy as you can to do that task when it comes time to. And like one of my favorite quotes goes: Stay dedicated to your decisions, but flexible in your approach. (Tony Robbins)

Hopefully this quick guide helped you understand more about how to build a new habit, and more specifically a new writing habit! Do you have any questions? Just leave a comment below and I'll do my best to answer it!

Check out worthytweaks.com to get the perfect habit journal for you.

Need something to write in? Check out these AM Stationery notebooks that are 100% recycled and 100% adorable.

Missed the first post? Read it here. How (and Why) to Journal

 

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