We all know that writing benefits us a lot, but it’s still difficult for some people to get into the habit of writing. As a writer, what suggestions will you give to those who want to make writing a habit? Share with us.
Don’t rely on help guides too much - regular practice will develop your style more than a writer you’ve never met. Make sure you have friends/family read your work for constructive feedback, as this can quickly bolster your confidence. Posting your writing online (such as on a WordPress blog) is another way to rapidly develop confidence/style/and to receive feedback.
For further assistance in developing a good writing style, read classic books from the literary canon. George Orwell is an ideal place to start; as one of the great writers of the last century he can teach you a lot. His brilliant books aside, essays such as Why I Write and his Six Rules For Writing are an important starting point.
It seems to be one of the unwritten laws of the universe, that the more you do something the better you get at it, and writing is no exception.
Forget genius, you don’t need that. But you do need to be willing to persevere and perspire – a lot.
Flexing the writing muscles, stretching them, building them up and toning them can only happen if you place bum on chair and write. The more you write the easier it becomes. Ideas suddenly appear from everywhere and the writing muse puts on her sweatband and gets busy.
Writers block? Not a chance. Once your writing muscles are fit, there won’t be enough hours in the day to write down all the words flying around in your head.
By Jo Castro
Writer and online publisher
There is a value to writing, regardless of whether anyone ever reads it.
Writing is a mental & emotional decongestant. It loosens up all the junk so you can get it out. Once you start writing, your thoughts become clearer. Your brain begins to make new connections. You become a creator, which is what you were created for in the first place.
To get in the habit of writing, try this. For ten minutes a day, and aim for the same time each day, just write. Don’t cross things out or edit as you go. Simply write. Do this for 30 days. During that time, you are not allow to read anything you have written. The reading of it is strictly forbidden.
Meanwhile, read good writers. Develop a list of your favorite writers. Try to notice what they do and don’t do that seems to connect with you. What patterns do you notice? Try to replicate some of those bits in your own writing.
After 30 days, go through your own writing compilation. Do it with a good cup of coffee or glass of wine. A bowl of ice cream works well, too. Notice what bothers you, and celebrate the pearls you’ve created. Enjoy your words.
To instigate a habit of writing you have to take it one tiny step at a time. Start out with writing about the thing that excites you the very most; whatever makes you so excited you can hardly sit still.
I recently decided to write a followup to my memoir on my first year of runway modelling. But writing about how silly I thought the fashion industry was, didn’t quite excite me that much anymore.
So I just decided to start making up stuff; like how everything I’d done was just a ruse for my real career as a special forces operative and how I went wolf hunting in Russia with my pet lynx.
This excited me so much that I completely forgot space and time.
Write about whatever excites you so much that you forget space and time – this will be the vessel you will use to become a better writer.
Do not allow any bump in the road stall your momentum.
What do I mean by this?
Whenever you can’t remember what year exactly that one thing happened, or can’t come up with a clever name for that that new character, use the TK method.
TK is a genius writing hack that stands for “to come”.
But Nicklas, shouldn’t it be TC then?
Yeah, well, the reason we use TK is that those two letters never appear alongside each other in the English language, making it easy peasy to search for your “bumps in the road” when you’re done. This way you can perfect clever puns and names without stalling your momentum.
The key point is you need to start with just writing about what excites you. Don’t look at it as a chore, look at it as entertainment. Once you’ve conditioned the habit you can start using your powers for good; like sharing your talents and experiences on sites like Lifehack.
Practice, practice, practice. Writing is a habit and like any other habit it needs to be practiced, preferably daily, to cement the practice in both your mind and your daily routine. Good writers sit down and write even when they think they have nothing to say. 99% of writing is showing up, butt in the chair, hands ready.
It also helps to have a specific topic or project to help focus your writing. It might be a blog, a book, or simply an exploration of something that engages your interest. If you don’t have a topic in mind, grab a book of writing prompts to help you. Knowing what the focus of your writing is about makes it easier for the ideas to flow.
Lastly, if you need social support, join a writing group or find a writing partner or coach. Sometimes the additional accountability and encouragement can make all the difference in becoming a consistent and prolific writer.
My advice is to write something, anything, every day. Even if it’s just a random idea on the back of a napkin, keeping your mind active and developing and evolving.
Also, read a lot. Learn from other writers in positive and negative ways – the kind of things you admire in a writer, the kind of things you don’t want to emulate… keep reading the works around you and keep practising writing every day.
Blogging got me in the writing habit. Five years ago I committed to writing a blog post three times a week on Get In the Hot Spot and I’m still blogging away today.
Blogging’s a great way to force yourself to write because you openly commit to the writing and get feedback from your readers.
Blogging gets you to finish rather than just start pieces of writing and is also a great way to build your profile as a writer. It’s certainly helped me get in the habit of regular writing, improve my writing and become a freelance writer.
As a human being, you possess an evolved need to be social and communicate through language. The best motivation to create the habit of writing is to remember that you are fulfilling a fundamental requirement to be healthy and happy. You are genetically programmed to write, and you enhance your life by practicing the skill daily.
Writing daily literally changes your brain, strengthening neurons and neural pathways. Writing is one of the most complex task humans are capable of, and by practicing, you supercharge your brain, the effects lasting a lifetime.
Focus on all the benefits of the writing process rather than external things like fame, fortune, and acclaim. If you center yourself on the motivations of social communication, social health, and cognitive abilities, you will be more likely to write daily.
Darin L. Hammond