Sunday, October 4, 2015

How to Develop a Daily Writing Habit

You have seen research that confirms that writing every day is the best way to become a productive academic. And, you want to be a productive academic, right? But, are you writing every day? Do you want to learn how to write every day? If so, this post is for you.

The basic trick to writing every day is to develop a writing habit. New habits take a long time to form. However, if you make yourself write every day, eventually it will become a habit. Once writing is a habit, it will become second nature to get up and write every day.

Developing this habit requires writing consistently. How do you do that?

Emma Reh (1896-1982)

During the Creative Connections Writing and Meditation Retreat, everyone writes for two and a half hours each morning together. Although the writing session starts early, everyone participates for several reasons. First of all, we are on a writing retreat, so everyone knows that writing is expected of them. Secondly, we write because everyone else is writing so that creates a bit of peer pressure. Thirdly, we write because we know we will have to share our work during the retreat, thus giving us an important deadline to meet.

You don’t have to be at a retreat, however, to incorporate these strategies into your life. Here are a few suggestions to get you on track to making writing a daily habit.
  • Write at the same time every day. If you have your pick of times, choose the early morning. When you do something at the same time every day, you are more likely to form a habit. If you do it in the morning, you are less likely to let everything else you need to do get in the way.
  • Treat your writing as you would any other appointment. Make an appointment with yourself every day to write. Show up to your appointment with yourself and decline any other invitations to do other things during that time.
  • Incorporate some accountability. This can be to yourself, where you keep track of your writing on a spreadsheet. But, it is better if you are accountable to someone else, as a bit of peer pressure goes a long way.
  • Write towards deadlines. If you don’t have any external deadlines, set deadlines for yourself. Aim to get your article finished by the end of the month. Or, set a deadline for a draft of each book chapter you are writing.
  • Develop an expectation for yourself that you will write every day. If you want to become a writer, if you want to publish, if you want to finish your dissertation, you have to write. So, expect yourself to write.
I hope these strategies help you become a daily writer if you are not already. Let me know of any challenges you face to becoming a daily writer in the comments section. Also, let me know what strategies are working for you.

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