The Writing Habit by Rochelle Melander
One hasn’t become a writer until one has distilled writing into a habit, and that habit has been forced into an obsession. Writing has to be an obsession. It has to be something as organic, physiological and psychological as speaking or sleeping or eating. —Niyi Osundare
In the book The Power of Habit, author Charles Duhigg suggests that our habits have three distinct steps: cue, practice, reward. This habit loop might be as simple as brushing our teeth:
Cue: It’s bedtime.
Practice: Brush Teeth
Reward: Ohhh! My mouth feels fresh and clean.
Writers can increase their writing productivity by making writing a habit.
+When J. K. Rowling was writing Harry Potter, the minute her daughter fell asleep (cue), she’d take off for the café and write (habit).
+Flannery O’Connor also believed in the habit of writing, saying: “I’m a full-time believer in writing habits…You may be able to do without them if you have genius but most of us only have talent and this is simply something that has to be assisted all the time by physical and mental habits or it dries up and blows away…Of course you have to make your habits in this conform to what you can do. I write only about two hours every day because that’s all the energy I have, but I don’t let anything interfere with those two hours, at the same time and the same place.” (From The Habits of Being, quoted at Lena Sledge’s Blog)
+I’ve nurtured my writing habit by creating a morning ritual. Before I check Facebook or email, I take a look at my writing task of the day—left on an index card next to my computer—and write. Once I’ve put in my writing time, I reward myself with a trip to Facebook or a walk around the block.
Try this: Find a cue that will remind you to write. Create a ritual around it. Enjoy the reward of getting more work done!
Your turn: Share your tips on how to make writing a habit!
I’m reading that Habits book right now!! GREAT stuff!! At the moment I’m working on more “activities of daily living” Habits, but hopefully I can transfer that into writing habits. 🙂 Thanks for the tip!
Life and habits–always a work in progress. 🙂
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Soooooo good. Sooooo well timed. As I mentioned over on my blog, truly, you can replace “writing” with any verb and this lesson applies. As always, I really enjoy your blog and constant motivation. If, ever, I write my book(s), you’re going to be a big reason why. I mean it.
Thanks, Don! You made my day!