Writing Habit Hacks
How to Create and Maintain Smart Writing Habits
It's time to stop calling yourself an "aspiring"
You Are A Writer.
The Write Turn: A Writer's Call to Arms
Manifesto from The Write Turn
it’s good enough for Stephen King….
1. WRITING HABIT BASICS
2. HOW TO FORM A WRITING HABIT
Your Sacred Writing Time
Tackling the Writing Process
Non-Writing Writing Habits
3. HITCHES AND HACKS
Habits Are Hard Work
The Seven Hitches of Writing Habits
One - Crises of Craft
Two - Crises of Confidence
Three - When Life Derails Writing
Four - Focus and Procrastination
Five - Energy Management
Six - Time Management
Seven - Uncertainty of Goals
Habit Hacks Workbook
"I have a glass of
water or a cup of tea. There’s a certain time I sit down, from 8:00
to 8:30, somewhere within that half hour every morning. I have my
vitamin pill and my music, sit in the same seat, and the papers are
all arranged in the same places. The cumulative purpose of doing
these things the same way every day seems to be a way of saying to
the mind, you’re going to be dreaming soon."
"When I’m in
writing mode for a novel, I get up at 4 a.m. and work for five to six
hours. In the afternoon, I run for 10km or swim for 1500m (or do
both), then I read a bit and listen to some music. I go to bed at
9:00 p.m. I keep to this routine every day without variation. The
repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of
mesmerism. I mesmerise myself to reach a deeper state of mind."
Hemingway was an early riser and ticked off 500 words a day. A man
famous for his alcoholism, Hemingway claimed he never wrote under the
Capote did all of his writing lying down with a cigarette and a cup
of tea. As his writing day progressed, he’d replace his tea with
sherry and later martinis.
Roth does all of his writing standing up at a
lectern in his writing studio, facing away from the view so as not to
get distracted. Joyce Carol Oates writes in the morning,
before she eats breakfast. Vladimir Nabokov wrote standing up,
writing on index cards.
habit takes on all forms and practices. The thing these authors have
in common is that they write consistently in a manner that’s
particular to them.
your writing habit going to look like?
Writing Habit Hacks.
habits may eventually become second nature but forming a habit is a
learned skill. This book is the toolkit you need to hack your life
and learn that skill. For good.
book, you're going to learn how to create a writing habit that works
with your particular style of creativity, a writing habit that fits
in with your lifestyle and a writing habit that lasts.
In Part 1
of this book, we look at the nature of habits and the types of
behaviours we need to learn in order to create
effective writing habits.
In Part 2
we get into the nuts and bolts of creating a writing habit. You'll
find your writing time and work out exactly how much time you're
going to need to apply to your habit regularly. We take a look at
actions and processes that can trigger habits and how you can hack
other areas of your life to help get your writing habit underway.
Part 3 of
this book is essential. When we start to form writing habits, we can
guarantee that just about everything is going to try to ruin our
efforts. In Part 3 we go through seven areas of writing and life that
are the biggest threat to maintaining writing habits. Once we
identify the problems, we then look at ways to overcome these
obstacles and keep our writing moving forward.
"Good habits are worth being fanatical about."
What is a Habit?
the fundamental nature of habits and the different types of habits we
form is key in creating a real and lasting writing habit, and making
that habit really work for you and your writing goals. So, let’s
start with the basics.
pattern of behaviour.
done often and regularly, sometimes automatically, sometimes
Aren’t Habits Boring?
times have you heard "creature of habit" used as a negative
thing? We’re told that living with a set of ingrained behaviours
means we’re lacking creativity or missing out on opportunities to
experience life. We think of following habits as being stuck in a
rut. Habits are boring.
not entirely true.
positive intentional habits is a simple and
highly effective way to get more out of life.
writing habit isn’t forcing yourself into a boring life of
systematic, uninspired behaviour. It’s giving yourself
the permission and the opportunity to pursue a creative
goal, something you might not otherwise have the energy or
opportunity to do.
Different Types of Habits
live with different types of habits. There are habits like cracking
your knuckles or rolling your eyes, little physical ticks
we do without thinking. We also have lifestyle habits. These are
things like the types of food we’re accustomed to eating, our
physical activity levels, a disposition to reading.
habits are practices we actively choose to introduce, usually for the
sake of bettering ourselves. Healthy eating, going to the gym,
drinking more water, reading more, writing every day.
habits can start off as intentional habits. It’s when practising an
intentional habit becomes second nature; we don’t have to think
about it, it’s just something we do as part of who we are.
You Are Your Writing. Your
Writing Is You.
came to visit me recently. She knew me from a long time ago when I
lived a far less healthy life than the one I do now.
you still on a health kick?" she asked, noting the contents of
not on a health kick," I said. "I just don’t eat crap."
eating was once a choice for me, a means to an end I wanted to
achieve (losing weight). My initial "health kick" was
something I did to form the basis of an intentional habit. Years
later, I’m no longer interested in losing weight, I’m only
interested in eating good, wholesome food every day. So that’s what
I do. I don’t think about it. I don’t battle with it. It’s just
who I am. It’s my lifestyle because I once intentionally made it a
exactly what this book aims to teach you to do
with writing habits - to intentionally perform a regular writing
practice and create a process that becomes ingrained into daily life
so much that it simply becomes who you are and
what you do.
writing becomes a habit, it ceases to be something you must struggle
to do (though the writing still may be hard). With a writing habit,
you are your writing, your writing is you. Writing is just another
normal in your life like the way you get to work, the way you raise
your kids, the types of dinners you look forward to eating every
night. It's just your life.
"Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see
what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very
What is a Writing Habit?
habit is not:
established pattern of thought that one day you’d like to write.
until you have enough time to start writing.
one day, not writing for the next month, writing on another random
to write tomorrow or whenever.
habit is the regular process and practice you go
through to get your writing done.
want to form a writing habit, then you must write, actively,
regularly. That’s all there is to it.
Writing Habits Are the Key
to Every Writer’s Success
can be a tough gig. The work can be really hard
and it can take months, even years, to finish a single project.
habit makes the whole process easier, more reliable, more predictable
habit ensures the words still get made, the project still moves
toward completion, even if that movement is a slow plod and you’d
rather be doing anything but writing.
habit gets books written.
acquiring a writing habit rarely a simple process of saying, "OK,
I’m going to write 1000 words every day until this book is
intentional habits, making them stick, seeing them through to the
point where the habit becomes automatic is a difficult skill to learn
if you don’t set yourself up for success.
"Writing is like breathing. It's possible to learn to do it
well, but the point is to do it no matter what."
The Three Phases of Habits
Whether we’re talking healthy eating, exercise or writing, all
intentional habits take on three distinct phases. Understanding these
three phases and being mindful of which phase you’re in helps you
to recognise the patterns of your own behaviour and helps keep you on
track when procrastination tempts or things get
too overwhelming and you feel like throwing in
Phase 1: The Honeymoon
me! I’ve got this awesome new writing habit
and I’m a writer and I’m going to write
thousands of books and get millions of readers
and I’m so awesome and WRITE ALL THE WORDS!!!!!!!!!
the beginning. Your ideas are new and interesting. Your energy seems
endless. Your motivation is high. Nothing, no one will ever stop you.
You are a writer!
phase. It’s fleeting.
the honeymoon lasts will vary from writer to writer. For me, it’s
usually about two weeks.
the shortest phase of the habit process and it’s
not going to last, so make it count. This is the time to go big, but
not too big. Take all of that energy and push it to your limits but
remember to keep some in reserve. Refer to the section in the next
Small to really understand why.
Phase 2: The Push
energy is lagging. You’re questioning your ideas, your motivation,
your potential, your value.
the hardest phase of forming a new habit. You’re tired. Your
writing is starting to get tangled and messy. Self-doubt is starting
to creep in.
want to quit. You might have already started to justify to yourself
why you should take a rest from writing tomorrow. Welcome to Phase 2.
Phase is where you’re going to need to push
yourself and pull out every trick in the box to keep you writing.
where you’re going to need to honestly know yourself, your hopes,
your dreams, your motivators. Phase 2 is where you’re going to need
to ride yourself, struggle through when you feel like you just can’t
keep going, and it’s also when you’re going to need to give
yourself a break and practise some genuine self-care and take a rest.
This is a
good time to try short goals like word sprints or weekly challenges -
these little devices can pep up your motivation when all you really
want to do is close your laptop and never think about writing ever
getting through Phase 2 gives you the greatest, most valuable reward
- the satisfied self-knowledge that yes, you CAN do this and you have
formed a strong writing habit.
Phase 3: The Rest of
a writing habit, check. Next? Sorry, it doesn’t work like that.
Habits are not a thing you tick off a To Do
the regular, day to day living practice of your writing habit is the
real habit. It’s not full of shiny new energy driving you on, it’s
not slogging through when the rest of your life is starting to press
on the edges of your good intentions. Phase 3 is when you just keep
on living and doing and being and writing. Some days it’s hard,
sometimes it’s energetic and easy. It’s not new, it’s not a
struggle that you must force yourself to keep doing, it’s just what
you do. You’re a writer. This is you writing.
This is your writing habit.
get in the way. Sometimes your writing habit will get overturned
and you’ll have to teach yourself again what it is to have a
writing habit. That’s when you’ll need Part 3 of this book,
Phase 1 we go….
See you on
the other side.
"Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until
the faucet is turned on."
now clear on what writing habits are and the kinds of ebbs and flows
of energy and motivation you’re going to expect as you make your
writing habit a reality. Let’s get started and make you a writer!