5 steps to establishing the writing habit

Day 31 — {FMF} — close

It’s the last day of the month and the close of this writing challenge and in all I’ve written 27 posts. I’m thankful and rejoicing a bit today. 🙂

Had I not done the challenge I might have written one post or maybe nothing at all. But being part of the Five Minute Friday (FMF) community even if was only an online one — kept me at it. What are my takeaways from this experience?

1.)You can always get more done in community instead of doing it alone. So thankful for Kate Motaung for running the challenge. Knowing that I had my blog linked up to the FMF challenge page got me started and then having the option of sharing my work and also reading what others had written was motivating. 

2.)Writing nearly everyday is not as hard as it used to be. The best time for me to write, I found, is first thing in the morning after the kids are off to school. I actually write if my device is not connected to the WiFi. On the days when I got online, I’d automatically start checking email or social media (for five minutes of course), but I’d get derailed and often lose much more precious time. It was harder to get started afterwards and focus on writing. 

3.)Setting good triggers helps to establish a new habit. In the past I’ve generally done my writing on my black laptop which is now six years old. It takes a few minutes to get going and the habit I’ve established with this laptop for years is firing up my web browser and checking my e-mail. All the intentions of working first goes out the window because I tell myself, I’ll just check e-mail for five minutes. So for this month, I used my iPad which has a keyboard for easier typing. I loved that it was ready to go instantly. And since my iPad is still fairly new, my mind doesn’t automatically associate checking e-mail with it. For the past month, I’ve written on it almost daily. 

4.)Set a timer for 25 minutes (which is so easy and quick to do on the iPad); on average it’s taken me about 45 minutes to write a post. But mentally it’s easier to embrace the task to just write for 25 minutes … often when the timer goes off, I dismiss it and keep going if the juices are flowing. 

5.)Use little, meaningful guideposts to stay on track. For the first week and a half, I was wearing a loom band bracelet my kids made for me. Wearing it and seeing it throughout the day was to be a reminder that I’m loved; that I can do the task at hand; that I’m a writer and fulfilling my God-given dreams. Going forward I’m going to print out truths to help me stay on course especially as it relates to writing. 

I’m past the 21-day rule of establishing a new habit— now I’m aiming for the 90-day since the latest research says it actually takes 90 days to establish the neuron pathways in our brain to make something a habit. 

Tomorrow, I’m starting another challenge with a small group of fellow writers to work on a writing project I’ve been putting off for a year. We’ll be writing alongside other writers world wide doing the National Novel Writing Month challenge. Only one of us is going to do the actual novel writing.

I plan to continue to post on this blog weekly as well as finish an ebook project I started a year ago — almost to the day. Lord willing, I should have a first draft manuscript done by the end of November. 

Thank you for being with me on this journey. See you in the next chapter!



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