Let’s talk about writing habits.
Yes, some people have literary genius. They can catch a wave of inspiration, spit out a generational masterpiece in a few months, and then wait for the next ride.
It’s the ideal, isn’t it?
But that’s not how it works for most people.
How many times have you been struck with inspiration and then spent days, or weeks immersed and consumed by the thing? Then one day, you realise you ran out of steam, you have no idea where the story is heading, it reads like crap and you want to burn the whole thing.
Alternatively, you turn around one day and realise you haven’t touched it in months and you don’t even remember where you were going with the story anyway.
Writing is the same as any aspiration and it rarely ever relies on genius alone. You could be a mathematical genius but if you don’t take the time to learn the different formulas, then you aren’t going to pass the tests, right?
Being a writer is about passion first and then habit next. Genius is unimportant.
You go to work, you work forty hours a week, and you get paid. There is a system, you follow a schedule, do your time, and you get a financial reward at the end.
You have to commit the same to your writing. You need a schedule, a timeline, targets, and goals. Set yourself milestones, don’t overwhelm yourself with looking at the whole thing at once because you will instantly find something else that needs your attention to avoid the overwhelm.
Milestones. Schedules. Habits.
Even if you are the busiest person in the world you can find time to set a writing habit. It has to be regular, the same time each week or each day. Start with baby steps, you don’t have to start with a whole novel.
On my normal schedule I get up at 6 am, and the first thing I do is take my contraceptive pill because – screw that, right? Three kids is enough. The second thing I do is open my most recent notebook. I google the word of the day and do a five to ten-minute free write. Freewriting simply means writing whatever the hell comes into your head, no thought, no editing, just put pen to paper and write. Of course, what comes out is always trash, but it gets the creative juices flowing. I can’t tell you how many times an idea has squirted out of a morning free write, completely out of the blue, and grown into a short story or a poem.
You don’t have to follow my writing habits, but you have to do something consistently. Train yourself to write at request, otherwise, you will always lapse into procrastination and that darned writer’s block they always talk about.
You could write in a journal at the end of the day, you could write a haiku every lunch-time. You could plan in an hour of writing time every evening before bed, or every morning before work. What you write might very well be rubbish and unusable. Good. This post isn’t about writing well, it’s about writing consistently. Writing well comes later, or not at all and you get an Editor to sort it out.
There is no such thing as a bad idea. Write your story. Shape it up later.
Once you have a constant writing habit you can move on to working on your big idea. Don’t forget – Milestones, schedules, and habits. We’ll talk about planning in a future blog post.
If you keep getting stuck but desperately want to be a successful writer, start working on your writing habit first. That big idea can sit aside for a couple of weeks, it isn’t going anywhere. Get your habits in line first and I promise the rest of the journey will be smoother.
I hope this has been helpful, I’m trying to post tips every now and then. I want to see every writer bringing their best self forward. Let’s create a world where we empower each other.
If you’re interested in connecting with me professionally my website is available here…
You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I am currently accepting submissions for Editing and Ghostwriting services, but there are limited slots. I have more availability coming up in the autumn. I look forward to getting to know you, talking about your work, and showing you how I can help ☺️
P.S I also offer a Book Coaching service. If you just need someone to talk to, throw ideas around with, or to kick you up the bum to get you moving, please reach out ❤️