How to Start Your Daily Writing Habit

You know you want to. Here’s why you aren’t.

Photo by Icons8 team on Unsplash

I’m pretty much a broken record when it comes to how important I think it is for writers to develop a daily habit.

I’ll say it one more time: make a teeny, tiny goal — one so small that it’s psychologically easier to just do it than it is to skip it. Mine has been write for 10 minutes a day every day for years and years.

It never fails, though, that when I give that advice, someone comes back with something like this: I know I should write every day, but I just can’t get started.

Here’s the thing. If you’ve made your goal, but you find yourself unable to get started, you’ve probably got one or both of these things going on.

A) Your goal is too big. Either you’ve made a goal that your brain will let you skip, or you’ve made a small enough goal in theory, but inside you really believe you need a bigger one. If you think to yourself ten minutes is good, but an hour is better, you need to work on really accepting that small goal as your actual goal. Anything above and beyond is frosting on the cake.

B) You haven’t figured out what to work on. It’s not enough to just say you’re going to write. You need to know what you’re going to write every day. Spend your ten minutes solidifying an idea, then plotting your story. Even if you’re a pantser, usually. If you’re a pantser who isn’t actually writing, then something has to give. Try ending your writing session every day by making a note about what you’ll write the next day.

Just make those two little tweaks and see what happens. Make a very small daily goal and own it. And plan out your story so that you know exactly what you’re going to spend your ten minutes writing every day.

Here’s my secret weapon for sticking with whatever your thing is.

Shaunta Grimes is a writer and teacher. She is an out-of-place Nevadan living in Northwestern PA with her husband, three superstar kids, two dementia patients, a good friend, Alfred the cat, and a yellow rescue dog named Maybelline Scout. She’s represented by Elizabeth Bennett at Transatlantic Literary Agency and her most recent book is The Astonishing Maybe. She’s on Twitter @shauntagrimes and is the original Ninja Writer.