Watch this video from Joanna Penn. Then read on to find out more tips on developing a daily writing habit.
That video inspired me to give up my haphazard writing schedule and actually develop my own daily writing habit. However, I went about it all wrong and wound up writing less. Why? I set my goals too high and gave up too soon. I lacked discipline and the knowledge necessary to develop a true daily writing habit.
It will take willpower to form a writing habit. It will take some research to figure out what works best for you. Luckily for you, I have done a fair amount of the research for you. You are on your own with the willpower and discipline parts.
Step 1: Decide What You Are Writing And How Many Words You Want To End Up With
Sound simple enough? It really is and most of you already know the answers, but let us look a little deeper and do some math.
For instance, we will assume a novel is in the works and you want to end up with around 80,000 words. To finish that novel in a year you would need to write about 220 words a day. I can write 220 words in 15 minutes. So finishing a 80,000 word novel in a year is easy, but could take a long time to publish and at one book a year you will probably starve. So you need a better, more aggressive plan. This is where I messed up when I set out to develop a daily writing habit.
I decided I could write a novel in 30 days and I did. It was terrible and I had neither the energy nor the will to try to save it. So I trashed a month of work and 83,711 words. I had to write almost 2,800 words a day for 30 days to accomplish my task and burnt myself out. You may have the fortitude to do it, but I advise against it.
To solve the problem more realistic goals are necessary with some time off thrown in for good measure. Like any addiction, a daily writing habit can ruin lives and alienate friends and family. Keep it simple and manageable.
A good example would be writing 1,500 words a day, five days out of the week. Take the weekend off and have some fun. Use 1,000 words for your novel and 500 for blogging and guest posting. Depending on the length of your blog posts, you could write two or three blog posts each week and 5,000 words toward your novel. Every 16 weeks you produce a new novel and generate some bill money as you go.
This method can apply to any writer not under strict deadlines such as those set by daily newspapers and the like.
Step 2: Set Some Goals Then Change Them Later
Goals are just guidelines and no one is holding a gun to your head insisting you adhere to each goal. Set an aggressive goal, but pay attention and be willing to slow down if you find out you cannot keep up. There is nothing wrong with reducing the weekly word count until you have a fully developed daily writing habit. Once your new daily writing habit becomes part of your routine, add a few hundred words each week until it feels right. Go slow and do not burn yourself out.
Step 3: There Is No Step 3
No step 3 necessary. Once you know how many words you need and have divided those words into daily writing tasks, you have taken the only steps necessary to develop a daily writing habit. I suggest buying a journal or calendar and write your official daily word counts down each day. It will help keep you honest and boost your moral when you look back at all you have accomplished so far.
My approach may seem simple, but that is because developing a daily writing habit is simple. Acquiring the discipline and willpower to stick to it are the complicated parts.
Here are some other great methods for developing your writing habit. Some are too complex for my tastes, but I am not writing your novel for you, so it is best if you find a method that works best for you.
Whatever method you choose, get started and get writing. Let me know in the comments if you have some ideas or a link that could help us all develop better writing habits.