How to Build a Daily Writing Habit
Writing daily can seem impossible, especially in the current age.
But if we are to grow as writers, this is a skill we must all develop.
Here are a few tips I can share after 21 days of daily writing on Medium.
Set a fixed time to write everyday
Showing up to write is more important than how perfectly a piece turns out. Remember that a writing habit is designed to hone your higher order thinking skills, break free of your constraints and just get into the deep flow state.
When I show up at 6.30 AM every morning on Medium, I start writing reflexively. I don’t think about anything other than writing.
Write even when you don’t feel like it
This is crucial. If we only write when inspiration strikes, that’s going to be a very short writing life.
Show up everyday and write, even if the words don’t make sense on paper or the screen.
Do it the way you would do a workout: Work out every single day for 10 minutes, even if you feel horrid.
Tell me how you feel soon afterwards.
Routine trumps motivation every single time.
Write when the world is quiet
Of course I am referring to your private world or your home.
Write when the rest of the household is not stirring and you can give undivided attention to the task at hand.
Read books on the craft of writing
The way to truly dive into writing for its own sake is to read and read a lot.
For every writer, the book I recommend is ‘Writing Down the Bones’ by Natalie Goldberg. It’s the ideal Zen approach to writing while giving you practical tips on how to build a daily writing habit.
Don’t edit while you write
This is very crucial. You want to write a lot? Stop editing while you write. Don’t let anything come in the way of your writing flow.
After you’ve written (and sometimes even after you’ve published) the piece, go back and review it to see if you can edit it for clarity, flow and grammar.
Jot down ideas when they strike you
While writing itself is a creature of habit, ideas are not. The minute a good idea strikes you, jot it down on a notepad or a phone’s note taking app and sometimes, directly in a draft on Medium.
Start writing and then stop midway through a sentence
If you want to continue writing everyday, write part of a sentence of your next article and then leave it unfinished.
When you return to it the next day, your brain will pick up the thread and unravel the thought effectively. This is one tip among several that the great writer Ernest Hemingway recommended to upcoming writers.
Get comfortable writing into the void
Always assume that nobody is reading your writing. The possibility of an audience can work two ways and both can limit your writing.
You can have an adoring group of fans who wait for you to write daily; this can put a lot of pressure on you.
Or you could have stern critics who are ready to rip your piece to shreds; this can severely impede your writing process.
Write as if nobody is reading. Trust me; you’d be happier.