Posted in On Writing

Writing Habits

How do we get our writing done? There’s so much advice out there:

Write every day.
Write at least 20 minutes.
Write at least 8 minutes.
Write remotely on an app.
Always carry a pen and paper.
Write behind closed doors.
Write anywhere.
Set aside a time to write.
Write anytime – even your lunch break.

I feel like I’ve tried it all. I have reasons and excuses for why so many wonderful pieces of advice don’t work for me. I don’t get a lunch break, and I don’t have a long quiet commute. Sometimes I even ride my bike, so writing is not getting done within my working hours. We all have our reasons why great advice can’t work for us. I, for one, get frustrated and sometimes hopeless.
I used to compare myself to other situations thinking, “at least I’m not trying to raise children” or “at least I have no major health issues.” I believed these thoughts would drive me to try harder.


I also try to find what does work for me. What do I manage to do daily or weekly that may not be fun? Laundry, dishes, bills- essential things. I hoped I’d be more productive if I could just prioritize my writing like I do these other things.
I struggled to put my writing into two categories: work or pleasure. But it depends on my mood and which part of the writing process I am in that day.


Then I heard a podcast about accountability partners. Not writing partners, but accountability partners. Meredith Bond of The Writers Block Party podcast can actually be hired to hold you accountable. I realized immediately she was correct in saying this is a powerful tool. I know this because I have someone who keeps me accountable for something else.


I have a personal trainer. Yikes. I can’t believe I just admitted that. I do, though. I absolutely hate exercising, but I committed to it because I do not want to become an immobile old lady and because I was tired of feeling like crap. I’m not inclined to work out in public, but someone who owns her own gym offered private lessons as an option, so there you have it. She makes me feel like I’m breaking a promise if I skip a workout. And you know what? I am. So I rarely break that promise and have not missed many workouts other than feeling ill or family things that came up.


How has this helped my writing? It didn’t at first. However, I know I’m going to do these workouts, so I’ve been trying to tack on a few minutes of writing before or after. I already have my phone on do not disturb, and I can start using that workout time to clear my brain and focus. Or I can use the pre-workout time to rest a bit from the day before diving into a workout.


All of the above are great pieces of advice.
But for me, the most challenging parts are carving out time and accountability. So, I’m tacking on my writing to an already established routine that must happen because I am being held accountable to complete it.


If you already have a good routine with something, can you tack on time to write? It’s been working fairly well for me so far, but I can always hire Meredith if it fails.

Author:

dog groomer, dog trainer, and storyteller for children and the young at heart.

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