Writing is not easy. Anyone that says it is, is lying. Writing is 99 percent showing up and doing the work and 1 percent inspiration. Occasionally, when you write you may experience that flow. Your muse sings a beautiful song and the words come effortlessly to you. The other 364 days of the year, it’s a challenge to sit down and make something cohesive, interesting, and fluid come out of your brain. This is where the writing habit can make a tremendous difference not only in your productivity but also in the quality of your work.
What is a Writing Habit?
The vast majority of what you do each day is a habit. Many of these habits you don’t even think about, they just happen. You brush your teeth, you drive to work, you make your meals, and so on. The simple tasks that you perform day in and day out are habits. How and what you eat, where and when you exercise, it’s all a habit. So a habit, for most folks, is something that you don’t have to think about, it happens automatically. It’s repeatable.
Generally, habits support you to make your life a little better – though some habits are bad habits and you know what they are in your life. For me, one of my bad habits is to have a drink each night. It’s a habit I’m breaking because who really needs that? For others bad habits might be skipping breakfast, staying up too late, or drinking sugary soda. Who knows? We’re not really here to talk about bad habits. I want to talk about good habits, or more specifically, good writing habits.
A good writing habit is a routine or a ritual that supports you to reach your writing goals. Notice that I said “YOUR” writing goals. Not the goals set for you by some arbitrary writing expert or blogger. Goals that you set for yourself.
Here’s an example of a writing habit:
Joan sits down at her desk every morning with a steaming cup of coffee. She sips her coffee in silence as she writes in her journal. Her mind is still a bit fuzzy from sleep and the house is quiet. It’s 5 am. Kids will be up soon and pets will need to be tended to. After writing a few pages in her journal, she boots up her computer and refills her coffee cup. Upon returning to her computer she pulls up the story she’s been working on. She reads the last three pages she wrote takes another sip from her coffee and starts writing.
Joan’s habit centers on a few key things:
- the time of day,
- the coffee,
- the journaling,
- and reading the previous day’s three pages.
Joan writes for an hour or until the household wakes up and demands her attention. It’s a simple habit but one that works for her.
Other habits might include music, location – for example writing at a coffee shop, or even repeating an affirmation a few times before hitting the manuscript.
Writing habits support you to get into the appropriate writing mindset. You are ready to be productive, to put in the work that’s required to complete your story, and to create an effective writing practice.
Creating Your Own Romance Writing Habit
Consider what type of habit might support you to write every day. Start thinking about when you’re most effective as a romance writer. What do you do before you write? How can you make that a habit, something that’s repeatable every time you write?
Not sure where to start? Next time we’ll take a look at some tips to help you create a writing habit that supports you to succeed. In the meantime…