Writing to me is like trying to catch water with a butterfly net.
Motivation may flow in, but so do distractions, daydreaming and other disturbances that dam my river of focus. Before too long, my brain turns into a squirrel on crack, jumping from one shiny object to another and I never get any writing done. But fear not, I’ve been to writing rehab. I discovered pivots over the years that have allowed me to do more of what I love – writing.
And it all began with a change in my mind.
Step 1: Figure Out What You Really Want
It all starts with intention. It always does. Ask yourself: do you genuinely want a writing habit? Of course, you do; you’re reading this, after all! Embrace your desire to write and let it sink deep into your brain. Because when you truly want something, you usually get it. In a weird way, it’s kind of like seeing a fast food commercial in TV that makes you hungry. One look at the burger and within days, you magically appear in a drive-thru cursing the minivan in front of you who’s clogging up the line.
Step 2: Make Tiny Commitments
Start small. So now that you decided that you want a writing habit, don’t go all-in like a New Years gym goer who goes hard for approximately one week and fizzles out faster than a 2 liter bottle of coke. Let’s lower our expectations a bit, shall we?
Start small, with bite-sized pieces like 20–30 minute sprints. It’s more manageable that way. When I started writing, I used to tell myself, “I’ll write for the next hour or two,” but that felt like a chore, and I constantly found myself watching the clock like an office worker at 4 PM. By making the commitment more manageable, I found you can stack those small wins. Even better, if you do smaller writing sessions by getting just one done a day you get the mental reward of completing something which helps you build the habit. And often, you’ll want to keep going and get your hour in anyways. It’s a fun trick.
Step 3: Speaking of Fun
Writing is fun, remember? That’s why you write. Don’t forget that. Sometimes, I forget that writing should be fun and I let those sneaky thoughts creep in. “Will anyone like this? Is it good enough? Should I digitally erase myself like a teenage girl swearing off social media? What will my audience want?”
You need to shut those negative thoughts down and remind yourself the truth: Writing should be fun. That’s why you started remember. So write what makes you happy. When you think like this, you’ll wire in your writing habit even more. Because your brain loves having fun… it’s basically a fun addict.
Step 4: Limit Distractions
Ah, the smartphone — a not-so-smart thing to keep around you if your goal is writing. Have you ever said you wanted to write but then found yourself scrolling through your phone for 35 minutes, mesmerized by cat videos? Or maybe you decide it’s the perfect time to water your garden or give your dog a treat at the exact same time you should be writing. Identify those distractions and cut them out like a 3rd grader on a arts and crafts rampage. To form a writing habit, you need to commit to your habit and decommit to everything else.
Step 5: Get Those Fingers Typing
Here’s the raw truth — there’s no magic formula for writing. No secret incantation or special potion. The only way to write is to write. Reading about writing or talking about it won’t cut it; you’ve got to put those words on paper. Be like nacho cheese at a rundown gas station — just let it flow.
Step 6: Thank Yourself
Now, it’s time to have your cake and eat it too — metaphorically, of course. Give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back for sticking to your commitment. You set out and did what you intended… that’s commendable. Most people don’t follow through…slimy bastards.
So celebrate your win and further ingrain your writing habit. I’ll see you on the internet.
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