Getting Back In The Habit
Sometimes, life gets in the way, and no matter how good your intentions are, you find that you’re just not writing anymore. Maybe you haven’t stopped completely, but you’ve broken the habit. And for some reason it can be a nightmare trying to re-establish it.
It’s not necessarily all that hard to pick up a pen or open an empty document and just jot down a scene, although it can be; it’s doing it regularly that’s really tough. Getting back to that point where whenever you have a few minutes to spare, your first thought is that you should be writing – that can be a real challenge.
Writing every day used to be easy for me, but it’s been over a year since I let this habit slide, and I’m still struggling to get it back. But there are three things that I’m finding really helpful.
This doesn’t work for everyone, but for me, habits rely on routine. Whether it’s grabbing your notebook the moment you wake up or turning on the computer as soon as you get in, doing something the same way every day helps me enormously – after a while, I find it’s almost automatic. Eventually it gets to the point where it just doesn’t feel right to miss a writing session.
One of the things that’s making it difficult for me to get back into a habit is the fact that I’m currently in the editing stages. If I was on a first draft, I’d be able to set myself a word count goal for every day – whether that be 100 or 1000, it would be consistent. Because I’m editing, though, I find that I have to decide my goals on a daily basis, so at the end of an editing session I decide what I want to achieve the next day – for example, to figure out how to fix that broken subplot, or to rewrite a particular scene. Sometimes it helps to bribe myself with wine or chocolate too…
The single biggest factor in getting me back into my writing, though, has been the support and encouragement from my writing friends. The latest Nomads meeting got me feeling like a writer again for the first time in ages. If you’re struggling, spend some time with other writers you know and trust. Even if it’s just online, it helps. And if you can get them to check in with you regularly and ask how you’re getting on, all the better – nobody likes having to admit they haven’t done what they said they’d do!
Sometimes you have to put your writing aside for a while, but the longer you leave it, the harder it will be to get back in the saddle. If you’ve been letting it slide recently, that’s okay – but why not make today the day you do something about it?