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Whether you’re a full-time or a part-time writer, finding time to write with all the distractions of life can be difficult. But developing a writing habit can help you carve out time for writing, as well as aid you in making full use of the time you do have available.
Here are some tips to help you start and maintain a writing habit.
1. Make Writing a Priority
Put writing above social media, house work, errands, and watching Netflix. If writing is your full-time job, treat it like a job and log 8 hours a day. If writing is your part-time job, instead of relaxing in front of the TV after a day at work, sit down to write instead.
2. Schedule a Time to Write
Scheduling time to write can also help you make writing a priority. Writing at the same time and place every day will help you form a habit of writing. Once that habit is formed, getting into the writing mindset becomes much easier.
3. Set Reachable Writing Goals
Set a goal to write, but be sure it is achievable and maintainable. This often means setting a goal that is just a little bit harder than what you’re currently doing each week—until you reach the desired amount of regular writing. The goal should be specific and measurable. Daily words goals are a good way to start, especially for new writers or writers with writer’s block, as it’s all too easy to waste time at the computer (checking email, cleaning up, visiting Facebook, etc.). Leave your computer on and stay by it until you make that goal! For other writers, scheduling a certain amount of time each day for a certain number of days a week may be better. Whatever you choose, write your goal down and put it up where you and your family can see it every day. Your family can help you stick to your goal. You can even set rewards for when you reach your goal each week to help motivate yourself. For example, if you have a goal to write 10,000 words a week, and you finish by Thursday, it’s okay to take Friday off to do something else you love or to catch up on errands you’ve let slide during the week. (See #6 below for why it’s important to let reward yourself.)
4. Think about Your Writing During the Day
While you’re running errands, taking a lunch break at your other job, or trying to fall asleep at night, be thinking about your writing. What comes next? What are some situations your main character may face? What topic should you choose? Jot down any ideas in a writer’s notebook. This stress-free brainstorming can help you later when you sit down at your computer to actually write. Not only will it provide you with ideas and inspiration, it preps your mind for writing.
5. Just Write
Don’t think about editing; don’t think about whether others will like what you’re writing. Just write. Editing should be done in subsequent read-throughs of your first draft.
6. Don’t Burn Yourself Out
Burnout is especially easy if you have a full-time job on top of writing. But even if writing is your full-time job, burnout can happen. There is a difference between feeling tired from a long day and being burned out. Learn to recognize when you’re starting to feel burned out, and then take a break! Go do something fun or relaxing so you can come back to writing feeling refreshed.
What have you found helpful for starting a writing habit?