How To Create A Daily Writing Habit
With Camp Nano in full swing, I thought it fitting to share my best advice on how to create a daily writing habit. Or, rather, a frequent writing habit, because…
I don’t write everyday.
But, I do write a lot! I wrote two books and edited a third last year. And that’s with five kids, so.
The best thing for my writing habit is simple:
I use a timer. I set a timer for twenty minutes and I write until the timer goes off. Then I’ll take a ten-minute break (or I won’t if I’m feeling the writing session) and write for another 30 minutes. In an hour, I’ll often break 1k writing like that. Are the words super pretty? No. But I’m a fast drafter and a decent editor, so, they will be. One day. In the future.
I use timers for everything. When I clean my house? 30-minute timer. I listen to a podcast or a playlist or an audiobook, and I clean as fast as I can for 30 minutes, checking off a list I’ve had for a while now. Since I know you guys are interested in my daily cleaning routine, it’s this:
Tidy Living Room
Living Room Surfaces
Wipe Down Kids Bathroom Sink and Toilet
Wipe Down Guest Bathroom Sink and Toilet
Bloop. Thirty minutes done. I make my bed first thing every morning, so that’s not on the list. The big kids are in charge of keeping their rooms and the playroom clean. And I don’t bother cleaning the twins' room until they’re asleep.
I use timers for doing laundry, too. 20 minutes straight of folding and hanging and washing and drying. Not in that order. I listen to Watch What Crappens or Writing Excuses and if I do that 3x a day, I’ve made a pretty good dent in the overwhelming laundry pile my family of seven accumulates.
I use timers to get the kids to clean their rooms, or do their homework. Timers can help with everything. I think it’s because starting is often the hardest part. Right? Why should I get up and do the laundry? Why should I turn on my brain and write the words? Starting is so hard! But once you’re in it, you’re flowing, you’re moving, it’s not so bad. Why not fold those pair of pants? Why not write that scene you’ve been daydreaming about? Timers give you an out. Yes, you have to start. BUT you don’t have to be stuck in it for too long. Twenty minutes. Thirty. Hell, ten still gets you somewhere.
So, my advice to create a frequent writing habit is this: Pick a day to start, set an alarm for your chosen time, and then set a timer when you write. Even if you’re a busy parent with a day job, if writing is important to you, there are five or ten minutes you can carve out in the day to type as fast as you can. The words don’t have to be pretty. They just have to leave your brain. That’s all.