Sunday, February 27, 2011

Two Simple Steps To a Steady Writing Habit

Let me share with you a preposterously simple two-step writing technique which has boosted my confidence, cured me (mostly) of procrastination, and helped me build a habit of writing consistently:

1) Set a goal of spending a minimum of 30 minutes every day writing content.
2) Keep track of the days you meet and miss this goal.

That's it. Just mark an "X" on your calendar each day you reach the 30 minute minimum. I recommend using the most prominent calendar in your home, so when you succeed or fail, you and everyone else you live with will know. If you don't write, you don't get an "X."

You'll find that the simple act of keeping track of the days you write and don't write is weirdly motivating. Your habit of writing (or not) is right there in black and white for you and everyone else in your household to see. More importantly, once have a string of X's going, you aren't going to want to break your streak.

This technique is an excellent cure for procrastination, and it takes away much of the pressure of writing. Hey, you only have to sit down for 30 minutes--how hard can that be? It's just not a big deal. And every so often, one of those no-big-deal 30-minute writing sessions turns out to be an amazingly productive, flow-based experience that lasts for hours.

Once again, it's only 30 minutes. If your writing session turns out to be nothing but pure frustration, you can quit the instant your 30 minutes is up.

You'll always have a mix of good writing sessions and bad writing sessions. The point of this exercise is to make sure you have writing sessions at all.