General, writing

Daily Writing Habits

One of the most common pieces of advice thrown around for writers is to write daily. There’s no arguing that even just a hundred words a day will add up at the end of the year (you’d have just over thirty-six thousand to be exact). The key to that however, is in not missing a day.

Sometimes, sitting down at the keyboard for an hour or more just isn’t possible every single day. There are days where I struggle to find even a half hour, and frequently it’s in little scattered chunks of time. Five minutes here, ten minutes there. Tiny chunks that get interrupted.

The key to making writing a daily habit is often in size. I can’t always sit down and hammer out three thousand words a day—but I can certainly find fifteen minutes to scribble something down.

By keeping my daily habit small, it’s manageable. Even when I’m just not in the mood to write, having a small goal means I can be done with it and move on to the next thing. And sometimes having that fifteen minutes is enough to find my groove and get into a flow.

Sometimes, writing doesn’t actually mean writing. There are dozens of workbooks out there that ask all manner of good questions about your story, your scene, your setting, your characters and anything else in your story. It’s not a bad idea to consider answering one or two or even three of those questions a day when you’re not actively putting words to the page. It helps sharpen your craft and polish your story.

  To set a reasonable daily habit for yourself, take a few minutes and consider all the things you have to do on the daily. Include things like household chores, cooking, caring for children and the hours you spend at work. Now, consider how quickly you can write. What is the smallest possible number you can write in five minutes? Set that as your daily goal.

As a back-up for those days where writing just isn’t going to happen: Find or make a list of general questions to try and answer for every story you write. Consider things like identifying themes, recurrent messages, character motivations. Scale these questions up to be story-encompassing, and down to cover scene-level details. Set an alternate goal to answer a couple of questions (even if you don’t write the answers down right away) on your non-writing days.

What do your daily writing habits look like?

2 thoughts on “Daily Writing Habits”

  1. I think that you have to write everyday is BS. It will help get the story on paper absolutely but you shouldn’t put pressure on yourself to sit at a keyboard when you just can’t. Family is important and so is doing the dishes (sadly). I give myself a pass, I write one night, then I’m off writing for another night to spend time with my husband. Weekends are a no go until after the little one is in bed but even then I just need a break from my computer screen. Some may think I’m not a real writer. Maybe they are right but I’m ok with that. I write to enjoy myself. When I’m not enjoying it, it shows.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nonsense! You did some writing, that makes you a writer. Whether it was today or yesterday is irrelevant. Writing every day might work for some few, but it doesn’t work for everyone. I found it works for me–but only when I keep it small and manageable. You’ve hit it right on the head: it shows when a writer isn’t enjoying their work.

      Like

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