I generally have a hard time with posts like these. The strategies are great and the advice solid. Plenty of people know to get up at five in the morning or prepare their space and materials the night before or to put up a great big sign telling your loved ones to leave you the hell alone. All of those things are just peachy.
What those posts don’t talk about is how to get out of your own way. Starting a new habit is hard, y’all.
For example, I’ve been working on a new habit to do some simple yoga stretches while I brew coffee in the morning. All I have to do is spend five minutes on three asanas to stretch out the arms and work out the kinks in my hamstrings. It’s been over a month, and I am still trying to make that a habit. I manage a couple days a week, but that’s about it.
A daily writing habit is no different. There is always resistance. Always. There is always a voice that tell you, Not today, or, Maybe I need a break, or, I don’t have any ideas. I am over the moon when it comes to my work in progress, but damned if I don’t have to fight off resistance every single day I work on it.
If you need help with the resistance part of it, then I’ve written plenty about that. (In fact, if you follow my blog, you’ll get to read something about it every week). But if you’re just here for the nuts and bolts of making the habit, here’s what I have for you.
Make an appointment. It should ideally be the time of day when you have the most energy, whether that means you’re a morning person or a night owl. If you can’t swing that, because of your obligations, then find a time in the day when you know you can be by yourself and left alone.
Show up. This time is sacred. It is one of the most important obligations you’ll have all day. Having a hard time making the appointment? Connecting with your values and intentions may get your butt in the chair.
Find your space. You don’t want to show up to the appointment without a place to work. Figure that out ahead of time. You absolutely do not need a fancy pants writing desk. Simply have a sense of what makes you comfortable. For me it’s a cup of coffee and a window. For you it may be a cozy armchair tucked in the corner of your living room.
Set a daily goal. It can be a word count or a block of time, 500 words or 10 minutes. Whatever you go with should be small, simple, and doable. Your daily goal is the greatest gift you’re going to give yourself. It doesn’t matter whether the writing was good. All that matters is that you did it. It’s going to feel fucking fantastic when you reach that goal and know that you got you’re writing done for the day. Any resistance you might have felt will seem so insignificant once you have accomplished this simple goal.
Track your progress. This is the next greatest gift you can give yourself. Use an app, like Coach.me, or a tracking sheet. You can even use an old-fashioned calendar that hangs on the wall and has an “X” marked off on the days. It will give you the benefit of evaluating your progress. If you’re not on top of making this a habit, then it will show you. And if you’re prolific as fuck, then it will show you that, too, and you will know the breadth of your awesomeness.
If you can get out of your own way, fight the resistance every step of the way, show up, and take these steps to create a daily writing habit, then you will be prolific as fuck.
Photo from Unsplash by NASA