Writing regularly is the best way for a writer to make progress with both their books and their writing skills. Last week I wrote about the reasons why writers should form a habit of regular writing. But forming that habit isn’t easy. Today I want to share ten tips for building a regular writing routine. Hopefully some of them will help you.
1) Have a positive attitude: Don’t say that you’re going to try to write every day. Say that you are going to write every day. Be positive. You can do it. The first step is to believe in yourself.
2) Dedicate a certain time of day for writing: Find a time that you regularly have spare and dedicate it to your writing. For me, this is straight after dinner. For you it might be last thing before bed, or first thing before breakfast. Find the best time for writing and use it.
3) Make a goal: Before I start writing every night, I decide how much I’m aiming to do. The key here is to pick a goal that I know I can achieve. Some nights I know I’m going to be productive and I pick I higher goal. Some nights I’m tired and I adjust. Set a realistic goal at the start of your writing session.
4) Use prompts: Sometimes it can be hard to get into the writing mood. Try starting with a writing prompt and write something totally unrelated for five minutes to get yourself going. But don’t let this warm-up take over the whole writing session. It’s important to work on your book too.
5) Start small: Aim to work for ten or fifteen minutes, or some other small amount of time when you start. Set a timer if you like. Even if you don’t feel like writing, write for ten minutes. If you still don’t feel like writing, at least you’ve got something done. Otherwise, keep going.
6) Track your progress: I’m taking part in the Go Teen Writer’s 100 for 100 challenge at the moment, which requires me to track my word count every day. I get a lot of satisfaction at seeing all the days I’ve written in a row laid out in a spreadsheet. Track your words, or mark your calendar every day you write. Once you have a streak going, you’re less likely to want to break it.
7) Use rewards: On difficult days, I often promise myself a reward for getting writing done. If I edit this scene I can have a piece of chocolate. If I draft this blog post, I can watch one video on Youtube. Find a reward and bribe yourself.
8) Plan ahead: Sometimes you’re not going to be able to write in your usual time. When I went on holiday last week, I knew I had to find some other time to fit writing in. Figure out if there is another time that you could write in. If there is no way around it, accept that, but make sure you don’t miss more days than you must.
9) Don’t make excuses: Don’t let yourself make excuses as to why you can’t write today. You’ll get into the habit of letting yourself have days off when you don’t need to. Even if you can’t do much, try and write for ten minutes.
10) Make it fun: There’s no point in writing if you’re not enjoying it. Play some fun music while you work. Have a drink with you. Sit in a nice environment. Find what makes writing fun for you and do it. Just have fun with it.
These are my top ten tips building a writing habit. These things have been helping me get into a regular writing routine. Hopefully some of these will help you out too. Some days writing might feel like too much trouble. Write anyway. Those days are the most valuable days to you when building up that habit. And keep at it. You can do it. I have faith in you. You should too.
What tips do you have for people trying to write regularly? Are any of these tips helpful for you?
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