The Writing Habit

keyboard flat

My plan for the New Year, even though I have been on holidays, was to write every day. This hasn’t quite happened, partly because I have allowed the holidays to wash over me by sleeping in, sitting up late watching telemovies and quality time with the family. All of which have been important in keeping me sane but not so good for my writing plans.

It is time to revisit the key steps I know work for my writing flow…

 

Set a time

I usually rise at the same time every day to write. It is that quiet time before the rest of the household is awake that I find an easy peace that helps the words to flow. Last year I was waking just before the alarm and so ready to go. I am attempting this year to wake a little earlier to create a little more time. And that may take a little bit of practise.

This hasn’t been working so well yet. I think that is because my brain is in holiday mode. I am back to the day job this week and the extra pressure on my time should help push me out of bed of a morning, and hence to bed earlier of a night so that I am refreshed when I do get up.

 

Routine

It is empowering knowing that I am starting my day with the most important part of my life, my writing.

It is doing this at the same time every day that it becomes habit.

Habit triggers are also useful. I don’t just sit at the computer; I always make a cup of tea first. So I go straight to the kettle and switch on, then to the laptop (usually in the kitchen or study) open lid, read the last few sentences to review where I’m at. Then back to kettle to make tea and when I take my tea to the laptop my mind is already working on the scene and I’m ready to start.

 

Plan

Preparing yourself for a writing session greatly decreases the chance of procrastinating.

It doesn’t have to be a detailed plan if that is not how you write, maybe an outline, a few sentences or even an idea. E.g. if you are part way through a scene you could have a note for the next session stating, “and then she walked back to the river and met Bob which led to her finding out about Jane’s plan.”

I have a plan of what I am going to write during that session. With a laptop I can just close the lid when I’m finished and so when I open it the next morning it is right where I left it. So if I am at the end of a scene – I might have a sentence about the next one, or next idea or where to go next and then I can simply start writing.

Editing would be a little different, having a set working space will greatly help with this. If your work is laid out where you left it, there is no time spent trying to work out what you were doing, all your notes are together, marked manuscript, index cards…whatever you use to edit.

 

These are reasonably simple steps to keep me writing and as I know they work for me I am a little disappointed in myself that I have not been as consistent with my writing sessions so far this year as I would like to have been. But I am sure that a few early mornings, and some quiet lunch time sessions, and I will be back on track for a productive 2015.

It is the sitting down and starting that is the difficulty with writing. The tips above help me to get to the computer and once there the writing is so much easier.

Do you write every day? What are you doing to ensure that continues?

 

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2 Replies to “The Writing Habit”

    1. Balance is certainly something I am struggling with now I am back at the day job. I have been very good at tracking my writing time but not so good at all the other writing related tasks.

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