Creativity in 10 is a recurring series sharing ideas for how you can practice your creativity in ten minutes or less a day. Up today – Forming a Writing Habit.
Here’s the story.
A few days ago I realized that I am writing so much more than any other creative activity. Which is crazy. About a year ago I shared something that basically said I didn’t even like writing. So why the change?
When I said that I didn’t like to write it’s because I was not actually writing much at that time – therefore I definitely wasn’t any good at it. This is not too say that I am the best writer now, but writing is coming so much easier to me now because I practice it EVERY SINGLE DAY. I committed to write every day and I followed through with it (i.e. I practiced it.). It’s not a concept that is difficult to understand – it actually could not be any simpler. I wanted to be better at something so I practiced and as a result I improved.
Then why do we struggle with it so much? (Myself included.) Why do we struggle to start new creative practices knowing that all we have to do to improve is commit some time and energy to it.
Since November or December my creativity has shifted and morphed and it’s been pretty interesting to witness. I am about ¾ of the way through the first draft of a non-fiction book I am writing and I have so many ideas for a novel I want to write. Now truthfully, all of my ideas + writing could be total garbage, but that’s not really the point.
A few months back I might have told that you that I had no desire to ever write a book – that was true at the time. Now I am really enjoying the process. So what changed? I did. I committed to a writing practice and that coincided with me having an idea for a book that I thought was a pretty good one. I have been able to get so much done because I write every single day. Now let me be clear, I have never sat down and written for hours at a time, I don’t think I have ever even sat down and written for more than 15 minutes at a time. At this current point in my life, I don’t have that kind of time. I have been writing in 5 or ten minute chunks.
I share this because often we hesitate to start a new project/hobby because we are going to be bad at it at first. Our work won’t look like work of the people that inspire us. We can’t see a few months into the future of how consistent practice can change that, we are too focused on the right here and right now. So this is my reminder to you that things can change with practice. So go practice already.
Here’s one easy, quick way to start today.
Creativity in 10
This will be a recurring series where I share an idea for how you can practice your creativity in ten minutes or less. Even though ten minutes (or less) is not a significant amount of time, when you add it up over weeks, months, or even years – you will see progress in your creative practices.
Form a Writing Habit
To form a writing habit you just have to commit to writing however often you choose for a certain amount of time o a certain amount of words/pages. If you are someone who likes to write, then obviously this is a great way for you to practice your creativity. At the same time, if you are not someone who traditionally loves to write, it’s a great way for you to improve your writing. And finally, if you are someone who doesn’t have strong feelings about it one way or another, it’s a way to continually generate new ideas and to think through the ideas that you already have. Remember, no one has to see your writing if you don’t want them to.
Here’s how to get started:
Decide where you are going to store your writing: a journal, on your computer, etc. I have a Google Doc labeled 250 Words that is currently about 60 pages long. I write there everyday.
Decide how often you are going to write: daily, weekly, only on weekends, only on weekdays. As always, you truly need to figure out what works for you, but if you will allow me to get on my soapbox for a quick minute: I think you should make it a daily practice. The only way to form a habit is to do it EVERY SINGLE DAY. In addition, if your writing practice is only on the weekends and you miss a day, that’s half of your writing for the week, whereas if you have a daily practice and you miss a day, it’s not a big deal. I’m getting down off my soapbox.
Decide what your daily writing goal is going to be: a specific number of words, a specific amount of time, etc. Do whatever works for you, but my daily goal is 250 words (which is not very much at all).
Decide how to remind yourself to write: add it to your calendar or set an alarm on your phone. You can set an alarm on your phone for a time when you know you can write – first thing in the morning, during your lunch hour, right before bed – whatever. When that alarm goes off, you are Pavlov’s dog. You hear the alarm, you start writing and don’t stop until you hit your goal. Or, you can add it to your calendar as a repeating event for the next 30 days. So everyday you see it and know it is something you need to accomplish.
How to actually get started: Once you have decide everything I mentioned above, it’s time to actually write. When you first start it can be difficult. So if you don’t already have something in mind for what you want to write about, just write whatever pops into your head – even if it is very stupid or it looks something like this:
I have to write 250 words today, so I am going to write until I get to 250 words. I am writing in a Google Doc. It is raining outside.
So obviously that is total garbage, but some days it will look like that and some days even though your goal is to write 250 words, you might easily write a thousand. Either way you have to show up and get it down each day so that you can see progress.