|Fall photo |
by Author Chris Mihaly
We're on the final quarter of 2021 and the GROG team is circling back to goals to keep us writing in a season full of festivities. To make writing a consistent habit, it helps to have cues or prompts. We don't think about true habits - you brush your teeth every day, or may have coffee at the same time each morning. Generally, we have a cue that says "time to brush your teeth."
Today we'll share our tips on how writing becomes a TRUE habit. (Something we DO automatically!) Mark your calendars for Wednesday, November 10 for Part 2: Revision Routines and Cues.
|Sue uses an assignment sheet as a visual cue|
Kathy Halsey: Deadlines are my cues. They are self-imposed. I know to write a haiku every Saturday for #haikusaturday. I know I have a critique group every Friday, so if I want feedback, I need it done then. I also call a set of months by a theme, like Summer of Revision, Season of Submission. My focus for theme months is to make that theme my North Star. All other writing work comes after that.
I've found that it's easier to get into the routine when I have a designated writing area. My designated area changes with the seasons (by the fire in winter, on the porch in summer), but once I set up my books, lists, computer, and notebooks, entering my writing area makes me feel compelled to write!
For me the difficulty is making sure I spend enough time writing new work, in addition to the time spent critiquing, promoting, and keeping up with social media. For that, I agree with Kathy, deadlines can be magical.
Carol Coven Grannick:
For me, a habit comes from a decision, and then practice (which includes failure, then restarting). Although writing virtually every day has happened for years as I carry paper and pen or pencil with me, I established an early morning writing routine long ago. It took hold powerfully when I had a full time job that began at 7-ish, close to home. I wrote from 4:30-6 am—either work on a project, revision, or scribbles to keep my brain/hand memory functioning.
I’d been an early riser for many years, but those seven years before I “retired” from a day job set the habit in stone. And I continue the habit of writing ideas, thoughts, phrases, poems down as they pop into my brain.
Setting SMART Goals supports my writing. These goals are:
Every morning, I begin the day by writing down 3 things I am grateful for and 3 things I want to accomplish that day. Starting with gratitude puts me in a positive frame of mind, and setting only 3 goals ensures that I meet them. I make them very specific: Write Chapter X, or Revise next 3 chapters, or Query X. I set timers for each task, ensuring that I don’t get hung up or spend too much time on the easier tasks. When the timer rings, I can choose whether to spend more time on that task or not.
Thank you, Julie, for adding a note to include gratitude in our habits. Doing our work gladly with our readers in mind, makes our cues and routines easier.
Readers, share the cues and routines you have already have that might work others in the comments.