“Write every day!” all people scream at you.
“Practice, practice, practice!”
“Practise makes perfect!”
It’s enough to make all writers run screaming for the hills. I get it. I’ve had to listen to this a lot too. So today, I am going to be very careful to not say any of those things to you. Instead, let’s talk practically and clearly about this subject without feeling like burning something.
Wow, that was such a great intro.
- Talk about habits without destroying something
- Start one!
When I’m asked how I got so good at writing, I feel very cliché when I answer, “Practise.” But, letting go of our prejudices against such a word, lets actually consider it for a moment.
When you look back at old writing, you can see how much you’ve grown. Even just a few months and your writing can improve. Why is this?
It’s because you wrote. By writing, you learned more about your own style of writing, and how you like to write. You figured out how to say what you want to say better, possibly more easily. Because you kept going, you discovered the way you like to write better than ever before.
There is a reason why saying that you need to practice is a cliché. It became that because it was said so much first. To be said that much, it needs to be good enough to be repeated. It needs to be true.
Now, before you murder me for agreeing with this, I’m going to drag you over to where I stand on the subject so that you can look at this from another angle with me. 😉
Instead of just talking about practice in general, we’re going to take a look at its closely related cousin: habit. (which you totally saw coming, because you read the title 😂)
Habit isn’t just practicing. Habit is a consistent thing that you do. When you do it for a long time (at least 21 days) (yes, I did just Google that 😂) it can become a habit. As you keep doing it over and over, your body gets used to you doing it.
For instance, in my post on your prime writing time, I talk a bit about this. I wrote the following without this post in mind at all (that isn’t sarcasm):
After a while of writing at the same time of day, your mind will start becoming better at being ready to write at that point in time of day, which is why it’s such a good idea to write at the same time of day.
See? Even my past self agrees. *nod nod*
In that post (which, now that I really think about it, is actually a great companion post to this one)
*leaves post for a minute*
………what was I going to write again? 😂
When you pair up a writing habit and your prime writing time, things start to get pretty awesome. You are able to write fast, both because this is when you write your best, and because your mind is used to writing at this time. It’s geared up and ready to go!
How Habit Helps You
After I wrote for a while at the same time every day (the morning, before my school time) I got used to it. That is where habit comes into play. Ever since the second semester started, I haven’t been able to write at that same time, as my class starts at the same time. But when I used to be able to, thanks to my habit, I could actually get a lot of writing done in a short time.
I’m not saying that writing at random times on different days is bad; in fact, any writing at all is good! I’m just saying that this is better, you know? Here, I’ll prove it.
After I started writing at a certain time each morning, I really started to get more words out each time. I would write for a certain amount of time, and in that time, I could actually get 1,000 words done. I don’t want to brag at all, so this is not that, but if you really want to know, I can do it in 20 minutes.
Yeah, seriously. That’s all thanks to habit. I wrote at that time each day, and it was my writing time. Not my prime writing time, as I talk about in the other post, because I’m usually doing school at that time of day. But the time I wrote at.
This is the power of habit. If you can stick with it for long enough, then you can reach this as well. It’s okay if you miss a day every once and while; I certainly did. (go ahead and check my posts on it; you can see the days with 0 words marked down)
Now, just a quick disclaimer: this is not me handing you a magical way to hit 1,000 words in 20 minutes. I only started doing that by Day 28. (I checked my old notes, so this is accurate) Your ability to do that also depends on other factors, like if you know where your story is going, how fast you can type, and how long those words even are.
Now it’s your turn!
Pick a time for you when you can usually write at. This may mean getting rid of something else you usually do at that time. For me, that was checking emails. But it’s worth the sacrifice, I promise. Now, start writing at that time each day! 😃 You’ve got this!
Do you already have a writing habit?
Are you going to implement one?
How fast can you type?
Also, I left a hint in this post at what the final installment in this series will be about; make sure to be subscribed so you don’t miss it! 😉