Thursday, October 4, 2012

Habits for Writers

From Cheryl's Writing Crate

There are dozens of habits that most of us practice daily. We brush our teeth, (hopefully floss!), shower, pay our monthly bills, and in a perfect world, call our mothers at least once a week.
As writers, however, we might not be able to say the same for our writing routines. Writers are infamous procrastinators. But we don’t have to be, if we cultivate the writing habit.

Here are the steps that I have implemented to reach my writing goals despite having the busy life as a mother of eight!
      Set and write down specific goals for habit. If you don’t commit to creating this habit on paper, you aren’t really committed to forming the habit. If you want to form the habit, you have to be fully committed. What is your habit going to be, specifically? When and where and for how long and what will you do? Write it down. I have committed to writing at least 3 pages every day for my current novel, or my family humor column, or even my “to do” lists.

      Write at the same time daily starting with a trigger. It’s best if you have a certain time of the day to start writing. I prefer early mornings before the rest of my family awakens. Pick a time that you won’t be distracted by other activities. Just as important as having a scheduled time for writing is having a trigger. What’s a trigger? It’s the event that sets off your habit. For example, let’s say you want to write in the morning — you might awake, clear your head and think of positive thoughts, make some tea, and then start writing. So making tea is the trigger for writing. Choose a trigger that you know you’ll do every day, and then do your writing right after it without exception.
As a result of creating a solid writing habit, I published my first book, Pregnant Women Don't Eat Cabbage, in 2010.
Commit yourself to others. One of the best things I’ve ever done as a writer is to find myself a partner—that would be my blogging partner, Kate, to help keep me accountable for my writing goals.  Because we both share a passion for writing, we touch base with one another on a regular basis to keep ourselves on track.  

      Put complete focus on it for one month. One of the keys to forming a new habit is focus. If you place your full focus on forming that habit, you’re likely to succeed. Once I committed to taking writing seriously, I made it a priority to write every day for at least one month. Because I was focused on this goal, it helped me formulate a regular writing routine nearly every day from then on.

      Find ways to stay motivated.  Motivation is key when it comes to successfully staying on course.  Think about what motivates you to do anything that you love and then make it a part of your routine.  I am highly motivated by visiting writing sites that help “move me along”. One of my favorites is Here you are prompted to take 60 seconds to write about the word at the top of the screen. The goal is not to think—just write!

What habits have you found help you stay on track and write?

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