4 ways to start a writing habit

Does the empty page give you anxiety? Here are some ways to develop a writing routine and avoid writers’ block.

4 ways to cultivate a writing habit

“Forget about inspiration and get into the habit of writing every day. Habit has written far more books than inspiration has. If you want the Muse to visit you, she needs to know where you are: so stay at your desk.”

— Sir Philip Pullman, author of “His Dark Materials

For Ragan/PR Daily readers—who spend their working lives crafting messages for companies, clients, leaders, co-workers or employees—this advice is tough to take on. The last thing you want to do at the end of the day is work on your memoirs.

Yet, you can motivate yourself by creating writing habits. Whether you want to write every day, write to a word count or finish that screenplay, here are a few ways to get yourself in the habit of writing.

1. Enlist a friend.

Do you have a friend or colleague who can’t find time to write, either? Challenge each other with word count goals or first draft deadlines. Be accountable to each other. You could also agree to call each other if you get stuck or are feeling unmotivated.

2. Try a writing prompt or system.

Writing prompts can help you to think creatively and inspire you to write. There are writing prompt games, books, journals, calendars, flashcards and more.

Joining a local writer’s group and attending meetings can also help you start a writing habit. This is especially true if group members are expecting to see your draft at the next meeting.

3. Reward yourself.

Perhaps there’s something you’ve had your eye on, but you can’t bring yourself to spend the money on it. Maybe you have a shoe obsession and have promised to cut back in 2019. Why not reward yourself for sticking to your writing habits? I’ve been coveting a gadget for months. As soon as I write my first chapter, I’m buying it.

Your reward could also be a dessert, french fries, a massage or a trip you’ve been wanting to take. Pick out something that you hesitate to splurge on and tie it to your writing goals.

4. Create a “hammer.”

You may only want to use this in extreme circumstances. With “the hammer” you add a cost to not developing a writing habit. For example, what would you do if the choice was “write for 30 minutes every day” or not write and donate $500 to the American Nazi Party? You would choose to write, right?

For this to work, you would need to enlist a trusted friend who will hold on to your check and will agree to send it if you don’t meet your goal.

How about it Ragan/PR Daily readers? Have any other ideas about how to form writing habits?

Laura Hale Brockway is a writer and editor from Austin, Texas. Read more of her posts on writing at PR Daily and at impertinentremarks.com.


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