Writers write because we love it. That may be a slight generalisation, but it applies to most of the writers I know. We love our characters, we love our worlds, we love our stories*. But sometimes writing can start to feel like a chore. I'm not sure how this happens, and I know that every day that I don't write, I think about the fact that I haven't written a lot.
So, I've decided to give myself a writing habit.
habit (from Dictionary.com)
1. an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary: the habit of looking both ways before crossing the street.
I want writing to be so ingrained in my daily routine that I start getting jumpy if I don't get my fix. Ok, that could be taking it a bit far, but you know what I mean.
I've designed myself a writing habit building schedule, to help me become a daily writer for life:
1. Commit to thirty days of writing at least 500 words in a row on fiction. No skipping days. No complicated goals. Just get the words. Habits take repetition over time to build. Thirty days is generally accepted as the point when you can stop thinking too hard about the action, but it isn't the end. It's a good start.
Instead of focusing on cultivating self-discipline, introduce rituals similar to brushing your teeth. Incremental change is better than ambitious failure. Success feeds off of itself.2. Make it a ritual. Do the writing first thing in the day. Don't do anything else until I've reached the 500 words. No blogging, no checking emails, no reading other blogs, no Twitter. Nothing else till I've got my words (other than making coffee - this is essential). This step doubles as a reward, because then I've got the other things to look forward to once I've finished.
-Tal Ben-Shahar, Happier
3. If my self discipline really isn't doing it for me (it hasn't got the best track record), remove temptation. Since for me, the biggest blocker for writing is the interwebs, that means switching off the modem at the wall (which means no more Thesausus.com while I write - hope it doesn't come to that).
5. Have a buddy. I think, at least for those of us writers who also blog and tweet, we writers like to share experiences. Writing itself is such a solitary thing that we reach out to other writers to see how they're doing. If anyone would like to join me on my attempt to create a writing habit, please do!
There you have it, five steps that are hopefully going to ensure I never have a problem with writing motivation again.
Do you think you could benefit from creating a writing habit? Do you have problems motivating yourself to write? Why don't you join in?
* Although love can surprisingly easily turn to hate sometimes
** Unless they're suffering from writer's block