The Most Effective Simple Tool for Creating a Daily Writing Habit

Meet FRED.

Shaunta Grimes
Aug 1, 2020 · 6 min read

Meet FRED

FRED stands for the Folder for Reaching the End of my Draft. Clever, right?

Photos:Author

Here’s how FRED works:

  • You make a very small goal — my go-to is 10 minutes of writing on project every day.
  • Every day that you meet your goal, you give yourself a star sticker on your calendar.
  • You can keep your word count on your calendar, too, or make some other small note.
  • On the log, just keep a running daily note of your writing work.
  • Take notes on the outside of the folder, if you want to.

Tiny Goals

Tiny goals are just that — very, very small. I mean, ridiculously small.

Beware the Stretch Goal

Here’s something I see people do to themselves sometimes: They make their tiny goal and then they say something to themselves like but really, I’m going to write 1000 words a day.

The Power of Keeping a Log

I love my work log. It’s like my captain’s log — the thing that keeps move moving through the galaxy toward my goals.

Photo: Author

Don’t Undermine Yourself

There a few ways that I’ve seen (in myself and in my students) FRED and tiny goals go a little bit off-kilter. I hope these tips will help you stay on track.

Using Your Log Like a To-Do List

Your log is a list of things done, not things to do. To-do lists are awesome, too. FRED just isn’t one. Don’t log anything you haven’t already done.

Too Many Irons in the Fire

FRED works best if you use him for a single project at a time. That doesn’t mean you don’t have any other goals. It just means that you’re making one goal for the month and sticking with it.

Put Your FRED Together

Print out the calendar and log sheet. Staple them inside a manilla folder. Get your hands on some star stickers (or use some other method for tracking your streak on your calendar.)

Create your own daily writing habit.

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 on Twitter @shauntagrimes and is the author of Viral Nation, Rebel Nation, The Astonishing Maybe, and Center of Gravity. She is the original Ninja Writer.

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Shaunta Grimes

Written by

Learn. Write. Repeat. Visit me at ninjawriters.org. Reach me at shauntagrimes@gmail.com. (My posts may contain affiliate links!)

The Write Brain

Posts about productivity, business, and systems for right-brained creatives. Ideas aren’t enough. We actually have to do the things!

Shaunta Grimes

Written by

Learn. Write. Repeat. Visit me at ninjawriters.org. Reach me at shauntagrimes@gmail.com. (My posts may contain affiliate links!)

The Write Brain

Posts about productivity, business, and systems for right-brained creatives. Ideas aren’t enough. We actually have to do the things!

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