When it comes to building a consistent daily writing practice, it can be all too easy to let procrastination get in the way. One minute, you’re staring at the anxiety-inducing blank Google Doc desperately trying to force your brain to be even a tiny bit creative. Five minutes go by and suddenly you’ve found yourself ten paragraphs deep on the Wikipedia page for the history of the potato. “How did I get here?” you think to yourself, frantically trying to snap out of it and regain a bit of your focus. Another three minutes pass and you’ve gotten out the cleaning supplies and announced to your roommate that now is the perfect time to give your apartment the full Marie Kondo treatment. “I’ll feel more productive after a quick break anyway,” you try to rationalize. Twelve hours later, you’re getting ready for bed and telling yourself that you can always start writing tomorrow.
If this sounds all too familiar, well, you’re not alone. And the good news is that your writing habits are not a lost cause! You just need to build some strong habits, manage your expectations, and practice consistency. Let’s talk about six tips you can utilize right now to help you build a consistent daily writing habit in 2023.
Decide WHERE You Want To Write:
Maybe you work best from home at a heavy oak desk facing out your bedroom window. Or perhaps the last few years have made you desperate to get out of your apartment and the only place you can actually get any writing done is in a crowded coffee shop. The most important thing is that you find the space that works for you, a space that makes you feel like your most creative and productive self. Do you prefer to write in silence or with background noise? In the comfort of your home or under the warm lights of a cafe? Try a few spots out and see how they feel!
Decide WHEN You Want To Write:
Some people will swear that you have to write in the morning, while others will insist they're able to focus much better late at night. The truth is, some of us are night owls while others are early birds up and catching the worm. You know which one of these you naturally are already – don’t force yourself to wake up at the crack of dawn if you’ll just be yawning through your writing session. Pick a time that works with your schedule and stick to it every week. You can start by writing one day a week and slowly build to three or four days.
Decide HOW MUCH You Want To Write:
When you’re choosing your writing goals, don’t be overly lofty right at the start. Be realistic with your time and energy. No matter how talented you are, you probably won’t be churning out three chapters of your novel every single day. Instead, start with a smaller daily word count, like 500 words. The most important thing is that you are consistent and work to meet that goal every time you sit down to write.
Make Use Of A Timer During Your Session:
If you haven't had a chance to read our blog post on The Pomodoro Technique, you can check it out here. It’s all about how to break your work day down into shorter, more focused work sessions that can help promote productivity and prevent burnout. So instead of sitting down for five hours at a time, set a timer for 25 minutes and write until the timer goes off! Limit distractions during those 25-minute chunks... aka put your phone away and log out of Instagram!
Join A Writing Group For Accountability:
It’s easy to put off meeting your writing goals if the only person you are holding yourself accountable to is yourself. But having even just one accountability partner can help inspire you to write each week! Do a little research about writing groups in your area – plenty of them meet now over Zoom, making it even easier to work it into your schedule.
Find Joy In The Brainstorming Process:
The brainstorming process – taking notes, outlining, making visual aids on Pinterest – is half the fun of writing! And don’t forget to take some pressure off of yourself when you’re writing. The only person who will see that first draft is you, so enjoy getting to do a “word vomit” on the page. Get all your ideas into a Google Doc – it doesn’t have to make sense just yet. A friend once told me that when they sit down to write a first draft, they turn the font color white so that they won’t get discouraged by how “bad” the writing is before the editing process. The point is that first draft is just for you, so don’t worry about making it perfect!
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Written by Jessie Cannizzaro