This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Think about things that you do automatically every single day: Making a cup of tea in the morning or brushing your teeth before bed. You don't have to think about these tasks and you never (or hardly ever) miss them out. However ingrained and natural these behaviours feel, you weren't born doing them. Somewhere along the way, you developed the habit and now they are part of your life.
Now, imagine that whatever is it that you want to accomplish, be it writing a novel, getting fit, or learning to play the piano, could be integrated into your day in the same, easy way.
Before you all shout at once, I'm fully aware that taking two minutes to brush your teeth is a very small commitment in both time and effort, but it's also true that by doing it regularly you make a huge difference to your oral hygiene and health. Exactly the same can be said about taking five minutes to focus on your fiction or to eat an apple or do some yoga stretches.
Even tiny actions, repeated regularly over time, can have a huge impact.
The key to building a habit that lasts lies, I think, in three key aspects: The behaviour must be easy to complete, it mustn't take much time and, if it isn't something that gives you an immediate reward (such making a cup of tea!), the long-term goal must be something you genuinely care about.So, let's build a writing habit. Decide that you are going to spend ten minutes writing your journal, working on your book or free-writing every day.
Settle on a time. This should be whenever suits you and your life best, but I do think it should be at the same time every day, as this will establish a solid routine.
Try to write in the same way (laptop or notebook) and in the same location, as these will act as cues that it's time to write. Maybe add more cues by listening to the same piece of music, or drinking a cup of tea or coffee.
Do it! The first few times will be a struggle, but if you stick with it, you will find it easier and easier. If you miss a day (or two), don't beat yourself up or decide that you've 'failed', just start again the next day.
Do you have any tips for making writing habitual?