20 December 2012

Making writing a habit

Now that NaNoWriMo is over, how's your writing life going? Are you still writing? At all?

The lesson taught by NaNoWriMo is that you can make time to write a book. If you can manage 50,000 words in 30 days (or less), why can't you write the rest of the year? Right?

I think there's another lesson, though, that is equally as important, and perhaps not as recognized as it should be. That is that you can make writing a habit. And participating in NaNoWriMo can help you do that.

Let me clarify that I don't necessarily mean you need to write every day. But I do think it should be--somehow--a part of your regular routine. Perhaps, for example, you write every week on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Or maybe for 15 minutes each morning. Whether it's daily, weekly, or some other schedule, it's still a habit, and that's the key.

When you wrote for NaNo, chances are that you wrote every day. You did it so you could hit your word count goals, but after a while, writing become part of the norm for your schedule, right? That's what you need to carry with you for the rest of the year. Yes, make time to write, then use that writing time so it becomes second-nature to write during it.

Habits are powerful. Let me give you an example.

My job requires that I work on-site twice a week (sometimes three times a week), and from home the rest of the week. When I started, there were several weeks I got gas on Monday mornings on my way out of town. Because it became my routine, I started getting gas every Monday morning on my way to work (or Tuesday, if that was my first day on-site that week). I've tried getting gas in the evening instead, but I always forget. And a few weeks ago, I didn't need gas, but I went to the gas station and pulled in to a pump anyway. It's a habit now.

Writing can be the same way. If you set yourself up to write on a regular basis and stick to it, you'll write on that schedule because it will just feel right to do it. It doesn't have to be every day, but if you write regularly, and with the passion of NaNo, you'll become addicted.

Is writing a habit for you yet?

1 comment:

  1. I agree that it's easier to do something once it became a habit. I used to make all kinds of excuses about not exercising, and I'd go several days (and sometimes weeks) without going to the gym, thus wasting my membership. But once I got into the habit of going on a regular basis, I became a total gym rat.
    I do need to make writing more of a habit. I haven't worked on my manuscript in a while, and I miss it.


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