6 Tips For Starting a Writing Habit

How do you get a writing habit going?

How do you generate a writing habit from nothing?

That’s a different concept than the habit itself, and from the writing it creates. And not all writing habits are the same, or have the same value.

In a previous post, I made a few suggestions about what your writing habits could be.

But in this post, let’s talk about how to frame your writing habit and where to start, and how to stick with your writing habit.

Warning: You will need to be ruthless in your decision-making.

Step 1: Decide which writing habits are worth it.

Make time in your schedule in the morning or evening?

Writing every day?

Coming up with ideas?

We’re going to have different perspectives on these, but it’s important to share new ideas so you can try them out and decide what works for you.

For instance, I don’t write every day, but I do try to come up with ideas most days especially when I haven’t yet chosen my next idea to pursue. This is more motivating to me and helps me power through.

You will need to go through a discovery process to understand what writing habits are best for you.

Find a few foundational writing habits before adding on more.

2. Create a low bar for your new writing habit

Start with ten words.

Or one page. (You can’t write a novel until you write a page).

Or start with 10 minutes.

Or get up early for 3 days and see how it goes.

Stay up late for 3 days and see how it goes.

Set proper expectations for your writing habit before you declare yourself a failure. Give it a shot. Experiment. If it doesn’t work, go back to number one and try another option.

But create a low expectation for what you’re doing until you have done it consistently for a while. And then change it.

3. Keep Track of Your Writing Habit

At the beginning of 2021, I downloaded a habit tracker called Streaks. I have a few habits I try to keep up with, one of them is writing for at least 10 minutes per day. I accomplish this fairly easily because of my day job, but that notification is a good reminder.

4. Read part of a book each day

Another habit on Streaks? Reading a book each day. No, I do not read a full book each day, but I try to read a chapter or 2, sometimes more. This exposes me to different writers while also staying off of the immediacy of social media.

5. Keep a Notebook or a Digital App for Notes

As part of my writing workflow, I use Google Keep to take quick notes or sometimes a piece of paper. This is especially helpful if I have an idea during my focused work, and don’t want to jump on Google to explore it further. I can write it down, keep working on what I was doing and return to it later.

It also may be easier for you to take voice memos or quickly film yourself to remember ideas. This works, also.

6. Keep Going…For Awhile.

When developing your new writing habit, the most important day isn’t necessarily the first, but probably Day 5. Then Day 10. Then Day 30. But honestly, by Day 5 you should know if a particular writing habit/schedule will be beneficial to you or not.

I’m not a huge fan of continuing at all costs, and everyone should know when to pull the plug. But there’s also a matter of fighting through the resistance, too. Give yourself a fighting chance — a chance to break through that resistance to see if your habit is worth keeping.