20 Quick Tips to Help You Develop a Steady Writing Habit

For me, having a steady writing habit is the key to both joyful writing and to getting my ideas on the page.

Try one – or all – of the ideas below, whatever tickles your fancy, just so long as you pick up your pen and start writing.

  1. Leave a notebook and pen by your bedside every night
  2. Set your alarm 15 minutes early in the morning, and before doing anything else, before making tea, checking emails, listening to the news, you must write! It can be anything at all – dreams, stream of consciousness, an idea – just start writing
  3. Do this every morning until you can’t live without it
  4. Remember, 10 minutes is better than nothing. Little and often helps you keep up momentum and stay focussed on your work
  5. Over breakfast, schedule an appointment with yourself to write later that day (choose a specific time and place), and no matter what comes up, make sure you stick to it. Even if it means extricating yourself from a meeting with your boss and disappearing to the loo. Just write
  6. Download a notetaking app to your phone (e.g. Evernote or Onenote) so that you can access your stories wherever you are
  7. If you don’t like writing on your phone, always keep a notebook in your bag.
  8. On your lunch break, race to the closest café, and in between bites of your sandwich, write
  9. After work, find an empty office, slip inside, close the door and write for 30 minutes (or until someone finds you there and asks what you’re doing)
  10. Write on the train home (make sure you get a seat. Corner seats are good, as you can turn away from prying eyes if you feel self-conscious)
  11. Walk home via the park, sit on a bench and write for 10 minutes
  12. After dinner, turn off The Office and write for 30 minutes (come on, you’ve seen it already)
  13. Go to the gym 15 minutes early, and sit in the café and write before your workout
  14. As soon as your baby goes down for a nap, get out your notebook and write
  15. Stock up your fridge, tell your friends you’re busy (or sick) and spend the whole weekend writing 
  16. Feeling stuck? Don’t beat yourself up. Go for a walk or clean the kitchen floor, it might dislodge a brilliant idea
  17. Feeling stuck and want to be proactive? Write the name of your character and the issue you need to resolve in the middle of a page, then scribble down a mind map and see what emerges
  18. Feeling stuck and want to start something new? Get a piece of paper and in the middle of the page write down the question ‘What am I obsessed with?’ Then scribble down a mind map with all your answers (you might just find the key to your next story)
  19. Can’t face writing today? Go to the movies or to your favourite bookshop (just once, as a treat, you deserve it)
  20. If you keep finding excuses not to write? Hire a writing coach.

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