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  • How to Create a Successful Writing Habit

    Posted on January 11th, 2013 jean 4 comments

    I assume you are a writer if you are reading this and that you want to take your game up to A-Game level. You want to create a writing habit that is efficient, effective, and ultimately successful.

    Being within the first few weeks of the new year, some of us have grand and lofty writing goals and resolutions such as: I will write every day. Or: I will finish this story draft by summer holidays.

    But how do you create a habit? Or flipping that around, how do you break bad habits in order to form good ones?

    I was listening to a podcast on Social Triggers the other day while driving across the frosty prairie and Derek Halpern was interviewing Charles Duhigg, the author of “The Power of Habit.” He had some interesting things to say about habits. Namely that there is a cue that pops us into a reward system that creates a routine or habit.

    For me, the cue is my son’s morning nap. He’s in his crib and that is my cue to ‘reward’ myself with a big cup of green tea and sit down and write (also a reward). If I don’t have that big cup of tea I begin thinking about it instead of writing. Drinking tea while I write in the morning while my son naps is my routine. It is a habit that works for me. I have even managed to transform a less efficient time of day into an efficient one with this habit.

    But what if you don’t have a good writing habit? How can you make one? Well, I suggest you check out this awesome flowchart of Charles Duhigg’s. (Used with permission.) As well, you can get more background on this by checking out Derek Halpern’s podcast–you can listen to it straight from your computer–or reading Charles’ book “The Power of Habit.”

    How to Change a Habit Flowchart by Charles Duhrigg

    How to Change a Habit from Charles Duhrigg–click to enlarge. (Then click again until you get the ‘+’ button on your cursor.)

    So how about you? Do you have a cue that signals that it is time to write? Do you have a routine that makes you successful? Think about it. If you do, share what works for you. If not, share what you think you might be able to do. Let’s make 2013 our best writing year yet!


    4 responses to “How to Create a Successful Writing Habit” RSS icon

    • I hate writing without my Chai tea! I also prefer to be in a certain spot (depending on the season & time of day). Once I’m there with my tea, it’s all good!

    • I get out of bed.

      Is there more? LOL

      For me, it’s my laptop, coffee/DP & water, one chihuahua on my shoulders, the other against my left hip and a cat trying desperately to lay on the laptop’s nice warm keyboard. Why does the distractions put me in the mood for writing? Because they only do this when I reach for the laptop. The fur babies have their habits too.

      I do my work at the desk. It signals the critical thinking side of my brain when I sit in the desk chair and prepare to edit whatever book I’ve been assigned. No fur babies.

      And last, music. I have one playlist for work, one for writing. One Pandora channel for work, one for writing.

      Strangely, if any of these elements are missing…my brain will not work. The story stands quietly in the background, resisting any coaxing to come forward.

    • Yay for tea, Jemi! And there is something to be said about working in a certain spot to spell W-O-R-K.

    • Very cool, TJ. That is a good routine and some pretty persistent cues you have! Write on, girl!

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