The Habit of Being a Writer- Why?

“You should be writing everyday”- how many times have you heard that one?

“Read books in your genre” is often countered with “Writers should read broadly” – both still imply you should be reading all the time.

“Schedule your writing time- yes write it in on your calendar” – usually accompanies rebuttals about not writing everyday.

With books like ‘the seven habits of highly effective people’ and a barge of morning routine content still wiggling it’s way onto my feed every week it’s easy to find your vocabulary filling up with ‘shoulds’.

But how many times have you started a habit and not fallowed through? Scheduled in time to write and ended up researching youtube for an hour? I could be the poster child for starting habits and not seeing them through. I’m fine with 30 day commitments and if my doctor tells me to do something I’ll fallow it to the letter but something about writing habits has never really stuck with me.

Here’s the habit that has stuck: morning yoga and five minute exercises every few hours. And thats not because I’m a health buff. I don’t love the feeling of yoga and I’d rather go for a two hour walk than lift weights for ten minutes.

It stuck because I had a Why

One of my side jobs is at an ice skating rink. They give me free classes- usually $100 every two months. And I hate falling on my ass in front of twenty kids as the only person above five foot. So I workout. Every morning. I love skating and hate embarrassing myself.

So now you ask yourself “why do I want to write a novel?”

Is it for the gory? The fame? The bragging rights? The slow trickle of more money in your bank account? Just to be able to say you did it?

Be honest with yourself. If you don’t like the reasons or you can dismiss them to easily (i.e. ‘I’ll never be famous so why bother’) Then you have two options.

  1. Give up on writing your novel
  2. Set a goal

I can never seem to find the time to write until Nanowrimo. My ‘Why’ is usually just because I can write a book in 30 days, it’s a fun challenge. But the times I’ve completed nano was because I tied 50,000 words to a reward (usually a road trip).

So great, if you want to find time to write you have to be motivated, and to be motivated you have to have a goal.

And not just any goal. Something you really want or are really afraid of.

So let’s brainstorm some ideas–

By finishing my novel I:

  • Will let myself take a weekend off and ______ (party with friends, visit another city, buy a dog)
  • Wont have to lie to my friends when they ask me why I haven’t been hanging out with them
  • Can join that book club/ writers meet up that I’ve been watching through the window
  • Will have something to share with future generations
  • Can show people a rough draft when that one friend ask to read it (again)
  • Will be able to brag about it on Facebook all the time
  • Will hone my writing skills and be able to put it down on resumes
  • Will leave behind some mark on the world

What matters is that you either know your Why or your Goal. Write it down. Stick it to something you look at a lot. Write it out in a way that makes you weep with joy every time you think of accomplish it.

Don’t force yourself to write. Wake up in the morning lusting for your laptop.

Don’t make a habit of writing. Become a writer.

This is the companion video I made to go along with this post!
I talk about some next steps to take after alining yourself with your why.

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