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Writing Life: Habit-Building

I have an unsurprising admission of failure for you: I haven’t been writing. Not for a few months at least. It’s why Writing Life was so sporadic over the summer — there just hasn’t been any writing to have a life about. It’s ok, months (years?) like that crop up; but as a writer, how can we combat them? Read on for more:

One of the first things I ever wrote about in Writing Life was habit-building, and that’s because I think it’s one of the key ways that we can shape ourselves as writers. If pen never hits paper, you’re not really a writer — you’re just someone who likes thinking about writing. For example, I have a large boardgame collection. But imagine I spent all my time handcrafting box inserts for my games, cataloging them extensively, and researching new games. Those are all things I do — they’re part and parcel of being a gamer. But unless I actually play the games, I’m not really a gamer — I’m more of just a collector at that point. It’s the same with writing.

So here’s the thing: we’re all Crazy Busy. I get it, I am too. That’s why this column is shorter than usual. But will you make this commitment? Write, just sit down and write, at least three times this week. It would be great to write every day, but with as busy as we are, that won’t come overnight. So set aside the time for three specific writing times. I know the space exists: on my lunch break, in the morning, after work — now all that’s needed is to grab that time and use it.

Make the time for writing — just carve out an hour — and even if you sit there, you’ll eventually write at least a few words. And that’s a few words more than you would have written if the time hadn’t been there, so try it! Maybe you’ll kickstart whatever block you’re facing. I’m hopeful that this will be a kick in the pants to rebuilding the habit of writing.