We can all admit it, creating a habit takes work. And by work, I mean convincing yourself to not sit around browsing facebook when you have that spare half an hour you can spend writing. I’ll admit I struggled with this even before I became a parent, though back then it was stuff like World of Warcraft keeping me away from the manuscripts. For a while I was convinced that I only had enough time to either go to the gym OR write, which I know now is complete and utter bullshit.
Some of the guys at the gym last week said that you need to do something for 21 days straight for your body to consider it a habit, and grow to expect it. I don’t know how much science is behind this statement, but it does bring up a fun mental challenge. They lamented how difficult it is to go to the gym every day, especially on weekends. I can definitely agree to that. But I think it’s difficult to do anything above and beyond your basic necessities every day. Writing included.
I’m about a month in, and almost 5000 words deep, into my new novel. I really want to form some sort of writing habit so I can consistently move forward. I can’t quite do what I used to do, which was write a few hundred words here and there in the evenings but then slam out 4-10k on Saturdays when I had the house to myself. So what works?
A lot of writing advice blogs/websites/etc say to write something every day. Easy, right? Even if it’s just a sentence? Yeah, I don’t like that. I like sitting down, popping out a whole scene, and moving on with my day. But I just don’t always have that kind of time. So here’s my suggestion. If you know you won’t have time to write on a particular day, spend some of your downtime (in the car, in the shower, wherever) thinking up some new aspect of your plot or world-building or characters.
But Kelly! I hear you crying. You don’t think about your novels all the time?
Honestly? No. I don’t. I have a mentally demanding job during the day and then a mentally demanding kid in the evenings. I’ll have those inspiration days (like the day before yesterday, oh jeez) where I can’t think about anything else. But it just doesn’t happen all the time.
So that’s my goal. If I can’t write every day, I’ll spend enough mental time to discover something new about my novel on the rest of the days. No word count goals, not yet. Once I’m all the way back into things, I’ll talk to myself about word count goals. Anyway, if I get sucked into the story enough, word count goals won’t matter because it’ll write itself.
Here’s to staying consistent, here’s to forming a habit.
What are your goals?