The Writing Habit I Needed the Most

Written by A Guest Author

By Nicole Pyles

Call me a bit of a Goldilocks when it comes to writing habits. I’ve tried the word-count-a-day habit, but sometimes I don’t have 500 words in me (or whichever word count a day I’ve decided upon). I’ve tried the 20-minute-a-day habit, but this results in me looking for excuses to not give writing my attention for twenty minutes. I’ve also tried committing to a certain time of day to write, but I am never able to settle on a time frame that would consistently work for me. Whatever writing habit recommending by the literary greats, I’m likely to find something wrong with that suggestion.

Recently, I finally found a habit that was “just right,” as Goldilocks would say. That habit? Do one act of writing per day. Just one. That has changed everything for me.

To begin your own habit of doing one act of writing per day, first define what an “act of writing” is for you. For me, I’ve allowed it to be a pretty broad umbrella term. For example, last week I submitted a few short stories to literary magazines. That counted. The next day, I worked on a short story I was in the middle of revising. The day after, I added to a new short story draft and continued the revising work to another flash fiction piece. Earlier in the week I had an idea that will inspire a story I’m working on and I jotted down a few ideas.  All of these acts of writing counted.

For me, my focus is on creative work and my acts of writing per day usually centers on those pieces.  Your acts of writing may focus on something different. If you are working on a novel, maybe you need to do one act of writing per day surrounding that novel. It can be researching literary markets, revising a chapter, or even building your author platform. If you are trying to promote your newly launched book, maybe your act of writing will be around reaching out to people to review your book. I use this approach with writing to focus on areas that need my attention the most (especially the areas I’m more likely to neglect).

What makes this habit different for me is that I’m not committing to word count, time of day, or scheduled time frame. It isn’t 20 minutes, half an hour, or during my lunch break. It’s just one thing a day. Somehow that relieves the pressure. I won’t feel guilty because I can’t manage more than 350 words. I won’t feel guilty because I could only manage to write for 10 minutes. I won’t feel bad because I can’t fit writing into my break. Maybe my act of writing will happen while waiting for my microwaved lunch to finish. Maybe it’ll happen in the grocery store line while I wait for my turn at the checkout stand. Maybe it’ll happen right before bed with a burst of inspiration that produces a few lines of thought.

When approaching your writing this way, let the small moments count. Even if all you manage are a few lines of thought about an idea, that act of writing counts. This will give you encouragement to continue forward with your writing without feeling like you’ll have to make up for it tomorrow.

What will your one act of writing be today?


Bio: Nicole Pyles is a writer and blog tour manager. She enjoys featuring authors on her blog and putting together blog tours for authors via WOW! Women on Writing Blog Tours. You may read her writing over at her portfolio. Be sure to visit her on Twitter @BeingTheWriter.

 

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