author, creative writing, writers, writing

Ways to create a writing habit, even when every day is unpredictable

Last week, I spoke about how my writing habit had been crushed and re-shaped by the pandemic. And as part of the re-adjustment, I’ve been thinking of different ways to make a writing habit. The thing is, every day is unpredictable at the moment. And so the typical habit-making behaviour of picking a set time each day to write isn’t working. In fact, I’m often finding that my other commitments (work, uni, health) mean that my timings change day to day. So I’m trying the methods below instead, and it seems to be working! Have a peek;

Weekly goals, instead of daily
I used to focus on daily goals. Set word counts or time goals. The issue with daily targets, is if you don’t reach it one day, it sets you on a downer for the rest of the week. So it’s well worth considering setting weekly targets instead. This way you can allow yourself good writing days and bad writing days, while hopefully still meeting the same desired result by the end of the week. Try one of the following;

Weekly word count
Instead of a daily word count, go for a weekly one. It’s less daunting than having to hit a target every single day. Strange as it sounds, 7,000 words a week feels less of a challenge than 1,000 words a day.

Weekly time target
Time targets may be preferable to word counts, especially if you are in research stages, where your writing sessions aren’t all about getting the words down. Again, a weekly target is less pressure than a daily one, as you can put more work in on the days you have more free time.

Set micro-goals
I’ve always been pro-mini goals, frequently speaking of the benefits of being micro-ambitious. If your day to day life is too unpredictable to fit in extra regular commitments, set yourself manageable targets. When you feel overwhelmed, it can be tempting to shy away. But if you’re managing to hit smaller targets, then you are likely to make more progress in the long run.

Get comfortable with ‘any time, any place’
If your days are unpredictable, then you need to break the illusion that there is a perfect writing environment. Instead, you need to get comfortable with pulling out a notebook at any given opportunity. In doing so, you build a habit of writing in the tiny windows of time presented to you. Small moments can lead to big results.

Reward your successes
There are two ways you can make rewards work for you. One, is you can bribe yourself a little. Tell yourself that you can’t watch TV until you’ve done some writing, or if you manage a chapter you can buy yourself that book you’ve been wanting. Alternatively, you should simply celebrate your successes, by allowing yourself to be proud of what you’ve achieved. It’ll make you feel good, and encourage you to make more progress the next day/week/month.

Do you have any tips for creating habits when life is chaotic? I’m always keen for advice, so drop a comment below.

Until then,
Keep writing,

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24 thoughts on “Ways to create a writing habit, even when every day is unpredictable”

  1. Everything you mention has been gradually dawning on me lately, as I had almost given up hope of ever feeling normal again. Especially when it comes to writing, but throwing my old system out of the window and just going with the flow, seems to work a treat!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I do set daily goals and it works well for me (for the most part. If I was to set weekly goals, then I would procrastinate until it was too late. However, what I do do is schedule most of the tasks for M-F and then leave the weekend to “catch up” on whatever I might have skipped.

    The rest is spot on.

    Liked by 1 person

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