Making Writing a Habit (or, How I Have Failed At It)

I have to give a round of applause to the people who have made writing something that they do everyday, even with full time jobs, kids, dogs, other hobbies, etc.

Every month I create my new planner spread and tell myself I’ll write just 5,000 words this month. Then I write zero.

When a big writing event comes around, and I know have support and people checking in on me, I write, but the last few years, it hasn’t been as much as I would like to. I’m mostly referring to NaNoWriMo. Last November, even with my students cheering me on, I got just 13,000 words in. Now I am so extremely proud of those 13,000 words, and they’re the beginning of a project that I am SOO SO SO passionate about.

I’ve spent the last month really planning out how to make this the best thing I’ve ever written. I feel like I have a huge opportunity with this novel and I want to do it justice.

Step one to doing it justice:

I NEED TO FINISH IT.

I’m on summer break, so I set the measly goal for myself to finish this novel. I’m at about 15,000 words. I can see it going to about 75,000, but I’m not dead set on a certain word count.

I’m one week into summer vacation, and I’ve written ZERO.

I’ve signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo for July, but part of me is recognizing that my lazy self will probably not write anything until July 1st now, and if that happens, I won’t finish this this summer.

Writing is not a habit for me. My habits are watching Food Network and obsessively checking Facebook. I wish my habits could be working out, eating right, and writing, but alas.

I know I can correct this on my own. It’s as easy as just WRITING EVERYDAY.

But since it took me two hours to even write this, I guess that means I’ll start tomorrow. (and hence, my issue ha…)

If you make writing a daily (or almost daily) habit on top of the rest of your life, kudos to you. I aspire to be you. I have 8 weeks left of my vacation to change my habits before real life (teaching 7th graders) comes back around again.

Wish me well! (or tell me your secrets!)

4 thoughts on “Making Writing a Habit (or, How I Have Failed At It)

  1. Good luck! Writing every single day can be really hard. I’ve found that keeping a diary of how many words I write a day (and they don’t have to be necessarily to do with my current novel) really helps kickstart my ass into gear!

    I find that, if you don’t write everyday, it’s so easy to fall into a pit of despair and as the pressure starts to pile on that you’re NOT writing, the less you actually get done. Because you already feel like you’ve failed anyway. It’s a horrible viscious cycle!

    Word of advice: ignore the pressure and just try to feel happy when writing. Any words you get written down is amazing! Focus on the positive and your writing should flow!

  2. Since you say you’ve made planners and set goals, but still aren’t writing, I’ll suggest you forget all that for a while. Create a mostly consistent time and space for yourself to write that doesn’t have distractions (like Facebook). If you don’t already write with music, find a piece that inspires you and see if that helps. Even if it’s not toward your project, it will help you learn to write in that time and space.

    A big part of the battle is learning to put yourself in the mental space to write. Once you learn how to do that on a fairly consistent basis, add back things like word counts and goals. You can also then learn to transfer that mental space to various locations. It’s difficult to build, partly because it can be very different for different people, but necessary if you want to truly write for the long haul. Good luck!

  3. Why not get a cheap notebook, maybe even a kid’s exercise book, a ballpoint pen in a colour you love and sit out in the sunny spot you love and handwrite what you want in your story. It doesn’t need to be perfect as that happens during the editing and rewriting. Have fun and write till done each time you pick up the pen. Somedays it might be a paragraph or two and sometimes it will be page after page. Forget about a set word count just write as you would speak your story to your best friend who thinks anything you do is fabulous.

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