You often hear advice for breaking bad habits, but what about those good habits you actually want to form? If you are going to take on any new rituals when it comes to your writing routine, consider picking up one of these five good writerly habits.
1) Set Time Goals
Whether you are only able to set aside fifteen minutes a day or can dedicate an entire workday to writing, make a schedule and hold yourself accountable for sticking to it. If it is easy to say “another time” you may be surprised to find out how quickly that becomes “never.”
2) Fill That Time
Hit a wall? It may be a fruitless – not to mention discouraging – endeavour to try and force yourself to create. Try honour your intentions to work and find a way to fill your allotted time by doing additional research, some push-ups to wake yourself up or free write whatever comes to mind. No matter what, stay in the physical space of writing so that you don’t allow yourself to break this newly formed habit.
3) Prepare Your Workspace
A cleaning ritual is just as important as a working one. If you are someone who gets overwhelmed by a messy space then be sure to add desk organisation to your writing habit.
4) Go Through Your Warmup
As a writer, your brain is your most important muscle (okay, not technically a muscle but it behaves as one) and like an athlete, it’s important to warm up before getting to work. If you roll out of bed and immediately sit down to write, you may not be at your strongest and risk “writer’s cramp.” Try a brain teaser, crossword puzzle or even give in to a superstitious warmup (think of a baseball player’s batting routine) before turning your focus to the work at hand.
5) Use Checklists
Keep track of specific character and plot details or issues to look for during editing by employing checklists. Instead of stopping your writing to fact check or proofread, jot down quick notes as you go so you remember what to look for later. This will maintain your flow while also making sure you can edit the final draft into the creative work you had imagined.
A habit-forming act isn’t always a bad thing. Whether you are looking to snap out of writer’s block or get better at ignoring distractions, settling into a rhythm is an important part of developing your most effective writing routine.
What’s your most relied-upon writing habit?
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Thank you very much for such a nice reminder. In theory everything you write about is absolutely obvious. Yet we (by we I mean writers-to-be) often forget about the basics. We get so enveloped in grand ideas that we miss those simple ones and that is a mistake. I am going to print this out, hang above my working space and make use of it. Wish me luck!
Thanks for your comment! We hope that these gentle reminders help to keep you on track. Because you’re right – they do seem like they should be obvious, but it is far too easy to get sucked into a bad routine and forget about these basic rules of productivity.
Let us know what works best for you!
The Paperblanks Team