Bringing Back the Dead

How to Revive a Dead Writing Routine

Two days.

Two days is how long it takes for a really good writing routine to go to pot. Two days is the length of time I can go before feelings of regret, self-loathing, and failure start to creep in.

After two days, it’s easier to make excuses about why I can skip my routine. I’m already starting to forget about my goals and how good it feels to write productively.

After two days the feelings of lethargy and inertia begin to grow exponentially, and a consistent habit starts to turn into an inconsistent one.

After two days I look back on the calendar where I track my writing days, and things start to look pretty spotty. It looks like I’m getting nowhere.

Any longer than two days and I lose my stamina. Writing gets harder. It gives me a disparaging feeling of, “Ugh, this is hard.”

As you bust your ass to reach your goals, you’re bound to miss a day here and there. You sleep in, have a busy day, take a day off, or lose a whole weekend to a Game of Thrones binge. It happens. You can’t be in the game all the time.

But before long it’s time to come back, otherwise it’s feels like you’re starting all over from the beginning.

When it does happen, first go easy on yourself. Don’t beat yourself up over it. In the past when this has happened to me, I would get discouraged and feel like there was something wrong with me. If you’re more forgiving with yourself, then it will be easier to get back in the saddle.

Make a choice. This is the most powerful thing you can do. Make a choice to do something today, anything, even if it’s only writing for 15 minutes or a few hundred words. When you set a simple and measurable goal, it makes it so much easier to start.

Re-commit to your goal. Remind yourself what you want to create and why you want to create it.

Forge ahead. All is not lost. The worst thing to do would be to give up completely.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. I believe this experience is one I have nearly every week. It’s interesting though, if you start paying attention to your own work rhythms and can start using them to your advantage. I find the “write every day” advice was just wearing on me, when I need time to recoup creative energy by taking in more and putting out less. I’m still trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t, but giving up has never been an option.

  2. Jools says:

    How to revive a dead writing…dieting…exercise…meditation…reading…[insert any good habit that’s fallen by the wayside here]… Routine. This is good advice and a great reminder on reinstating routines we know we want to maintain, when life gets in the way. Thank you for the simple – and effective – reminder.

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