Simply and quickly, How to Create a Daily Writing Practice:
My previous How to Make Writing a Habit post wasn’t very practical advice-rich, so I wanted to do a follow-up that focused on other practical ways to make writing a daily habit. I will walk you through the following sections to help you create your daily writing habit.
Practical resources to help you write every day:
- Websites and Blogs
- Tools and Writing Apps
First Some General Advice
I found something interesting in my Google search:
There a few myths that need to be busted in order to help you write every day (sourced from the Academic Coaching and Writing site):
- You need a huge block of uninterrupted time – this is untrue
- You must be inspired to write – this is untrue
- Writing happens After thinking – this is untrue
At the Academic Coaching and Writing site, they show us that the above points are all wrong. That they are unrealistic and untrue; you do not need a block of uninterrupted time to write, you do not need to be inspired to write – all you need to do is just show up and write, and you that one doesn’t write after the thinking is done – writing IS thinking.
“Daily writing leads to steady productivity.” academiccoachingandwriting.org
Now, I know this is an academic writing website, but the advice still applies to us fiction writers, to all writers in fact. They go on to talk about two shifts that need to be made within the individual (and I’m paraphrasing here):
- A mental shift – that writing is the most important part of my success and therefore it’s my top priority,
- A behavioural shift – to write every day and create a way to be accountable that’s meaningful and works for me.
I think what’s really important is not to beat yourself up if your miss a session or a day. As busy people and parents, sometimes unexpected thinks happen, or even tiredness can creep over us.
I think the best thing is to keep track of when you’re writing and when you’re not. If you miss a few days in a row, maybe it’s time to step back and reevaluate what’s happening. If something’s stopping you on a daily basis, then that something needs to change.
Learning from your “Excuses”
Something that I have learned from exercise training is that about the different ‘excuses’ we tend to use when playing the procrastination game when it comes to reaching our daily goals. The three different excuses are:
Internal Excuses are typically fear related and come from inside you.
External Excuses are the typical “I don’t have enough time” type excuses. Excuses that you can actually work around, rather than the Emergency External excuses, which are real excuses that you can’t avoid, such as getting food poisoning, or having an illness in the family.
The larger Emergency Excuses should not be happening every day, but if your think they are – you need to reexamine your day. are these things really emergencies, or are you letting them be avoidants, helping you to procrastinate and stopping you from achieving your goals?
If something is stopping you from writing every day – reevaluate and formulate a new plan to write every day.
Double check you are prepared and have the following list ready:
- a list of ideas to write about
- or, a scene list from your novel or short story or script
- a list of times you can write
- try writing on the toilet
- write first thing in the morning
Writing Blogs and Websites
Just Google “creating a daily writing habit”, and you’ll get tons of good information which highlight some of the best writing websites out there:
Goinswriter has a Three Steps to Start a Daily Writing Habit article. Jeff Goins post is very simple and straight to the point. Jeff suggests 3 things: Pick a space, set a time and choose a word goal.
The Write Practice
The Write Practice by Joe Bunting is an excellent site with prompts, advice and tips.
Write to Done
Write to Done has 10 Steps to Create the Habit of Writing; another great article.
- Write to Done really has some great tips, including:
- having a trigger for your writing. This means you have a little ritual or task before sitting down to write, such as making a coffee first thing in the morning.
- I also like Tip 4: “put complete focus on it for one month”. This really makes sense to me, and in the future, I will write an article about tackling one goal or habit at a time. Don’t try to reorganise your whole life with new habits the week you commit to daily writing. DO one thing at a time. Cement that into your being, then move on to the next.
- Tip 6 is also great; log it and be accountable. Use a calendar and cross off the days, or use a spreadsheet or notebook to log days and word counts. I like a simple notebook capturing my time spent, word count and scene or chapter number. This is especially handy if you’re working on multiple projects and want to keep track of time spent on each. I also love seeing the word count add up; it fills me with so much accomplishment.
- Tip 7 is set rewards. I love rewards. No other comment needed here.
The Creative Pen
Another good site, and I especially like Joanna Penn’s How to Write More and Create a Daily Writing Habit article.
Tools and Writing Apps
There are a variety of writing tools and apps that are available to the busy writer. A few that really stand out to me are:
- 750 Words is a website which helps you cement your daily writing habit by committing to writing 750 words a day, and it comes with a nifty little progress/accountability chart.
- It’s free to join up – just enter your details and away you go.
- The Daily Page website is similar to 750 words, but provides a lot more content with 1000’s of writing prompts to choose from, daily emails with prompts, and access to various creative writing courses.
- It starts from $3.99 a month (billed annually).
- Prompts is one of the best daily writing apps out there and contains more than 300,000 prompts available. It helps you to build a better writing habit, by setting daily writing goals and tracking your progress. Its innovative technology provides intelligent prompt suggestions as you write.
- It costs $2.99 for the app from iOS only. And is coming to Mac shortly.
Join a writing group in person, or online; there are numerous writing groups on Facebook, and commit in writing to your daily writing practice. This will help to keep you accountable as well as the other members keeping you accountable, and it will be nice sharing your achievements and number of writing days in a row with a group of people that actually care 🙂
I hope this article gives you some practices resources to help to cement your daily writing practice. The key is to pick one, anything, and use it every day, consistently.
If you have any questions or thoughts on the daily writing resources mentioned today, please do not hesitate to leave me a comment below. I will reply as soon as I can!
Happy Writing 🙂