Improving the quality and quantity of your writing takes time and practice. You won’t get better by sitting down once in a blue moon to write, and you certainly won’t finish that novel you’ve been working on for the last six years if you only write once a month when inspiration strikes. The only way to get where you want to be with your writing is by treating it just like you would anything else. You have to make it a habit.
The habit building myth says that it takes something like 21 days to create a habit, but according to research, that’s just not true. It can take between 66 days and nearly a year to make something a habit. This seems pretty discouraging at first glance, but that’s only because we’re used to getting things done instantly. In a world where we literally have access to anything, right at our fingertips even, it’s easy to get frustrated when something takes time. Developing a habit is not like waiting for your Amazon box to arrive with two-day delivery. It takes time.
So how do you start? 1) Make an appointment with yourself every week at a specific time, and 2) Become very familiar with the word sprint writing exercise.
By setting aside a work space and a timeframe to write, you’re making an appointment with yourself. When you are first starting out, get used to sitting down once or twice a week for an hour at a time. You’ll want to keep your workspace and your appointment time distraction free. Mute your phone, and turn off your WiFi if you’re writing on a computer. Use this hour to simply stay in the room. Don't get up for a snack. Don't scroll through your socials. Stay in the room, and write.
Start your writing time with a warm-up, like a word sprint. A word sprint is a writing exercise in which you set a timer, usually for five to ten minutes, and write without picking your pencil up off the page, or taking your fingers off the keyboard. Write non-stop for the duration of the timer. Word sprints can be used with or without a writing prompt, and can help you reach a state of flow without trying too hard. Word sprints don’t let you stop to think, or consider what you’ll write next. They are for writing down your thoughts and clearing space in your head so you can organize your thoughts on what you are actually sitting down to write about.
If you’re the type of writer that does like a little inspiration to kickstart your word sprint, check out The Henlo Press on Facebook for weekly prompts. Keep an eye out for The Dictionary Game to arrive on Instagram and near daily prompts to play the game, and find new words to inspire your writing. Want to know more about The Dictionary Game? Click here!