Writing Habits

Wine_glass_alcohol_240313_lSo, I'm doing things totally backwards.  (Many will say that's not unexpected from me.)

I've got a big post on habitual writing thoughts coming up on Thursday that I just scheduled.  But I  had thoughts on writing habits that I want to talk about today.  So here goes.  And I'll keep it brief.

Often we think of habits as dull and boring.  Except when it comes to writing.  We actually want to create a writing habit, as in, perhaps, writing every day.  That would be good, wouldn't it?

Recently, I formed a habit.  Two habits, as a matter of fact.  When I was in LA at the beginning of August, I stayed with my friend Suzanne.  Every morning, we'd drink coffee and write morning pages outside in her wonderful back yard (okay, we chatted a bit, too).  And every evening, we'd re-convene in the yard for Happy Hour (red wine and delicious treats that she whipped up).

After a week of this, guess what I did when I got back to Portland?  Went outside to my wonderful back yard every morning to write and every evening for Happy Hour. 

And thus beginneth a habit.

I don't think it took that long to form the habit–probably a couple of days.  I love this habit–I look forward to getting up in the morning to write and ending the day in  the same place with a glass of wine.  (And by the way, the days are getting shorter and cooler fast.  This habit will soon be a thing of the past, which is why I'm enjoying it as much as I can for the moment.)

You probably have figured out why I'm mentioning this. 

Because if it is this easy and quick to form a daily habit of morning pages and wine at opposite ends of the day, it is easy to form a habit such as working on your novel every day.

Just saying.

How do you form habits?  Do you have a good writing habit?

***I'm teaching my Get Your Novel Written Now class again come October.  I've updated the page with testimonials from those who took it in August.  Check it out!

Photo by EmZed.


10 Responses to Writing Habits

  1. J.D. 09/12/2012 at 04:58 #

    That’s too easy, Charlotte! That’s fun. So to form good habits we should all go to Suzanne’s house. Maybe I’m making it too hard. I don’t have good habits. I write every day, just not enough words. I need the whip.

  2. Charlotte Dixon 09/12/2012 at 07:42 #

    That's a habit you've got right there, J.D.  Writing every day is it!  Focus on how well you're doing that, not on the words you're not producing.  And yeah, come on over to Suzanne's any time.  The libations are good.

  3. Julia Munroe Martin 09/13/2012 at 07:14 #

    I needed this today. Over the summer I was in a great routine, a daily habit of getting up, exercising, then writing for three hours. Then exercise, lunch, then (yep) back to writing. Day in and day out. Like clockwork. Then at the end of July I finished the draft. I took a couple of weeks off for family visits, and now I’ve had so much trouble getting back into a habit with editing! I need to — as you say — start a new habit. Maybe I just needed a break or maybe I need a whole new habit! Thank you!

  4. Sandy 09/13/2012 at 08:07 #

    I love taking my writing outside. There’s just something ‘freeing’ about escaping the four walls of the office (or living room, in my case). I find my creativity gets a boost when I write outside. Unfortunately, the only day I can do it is Saturday mornings, as I still have a day job and Sunday mornings are Family Breakfast Morning.
    One habit that I’m trying to get better at is down time. Writing every day is great, but rest is just as important in the writing process. We all have to let the well refill and writing when you’re tired only creates frustration and discouragement.
    I feel many writers don’t succeed because we push too hard and end up believing we’re not good writers, when, in truth, all we need is a break and a nap. :)

  5. Charlotte Dixon 09/13/2012 at 11:30 #

    Oh wow, you had a great schedule going over the summer!  And then to finish the draft, that's so exciting.  I think sometimes when we accomplish something big like that, our brains need a break.  It's part of the creative process.  So I bet you'll be back at it, with a new good writing habit established, very soon.

  6. Charlotte Dixon 09/13/2012 at 11:32 #

    Sandy, I love reading about your writing process and progress on Twitter, and from that I can tell that you really do need a break and some rest!  You make such a good point about that.  I just commented to Julia that sometimes our brains need a break and that is very true.  Julia Cameron talks about refilling the well when you're working on a long project–its a good habit to get into.

  7. Sandy 09/13/2012 at 11:42 #

    I’m going to take your words to heart, Charlotte. My wife and I are taking the kids on a little retreat in a few weeks and I’ll probably leave the writing at home.
    As for my restructure, I’ve almost sorted it all out and then I can take a step back and let it settle and come together.

    Cheers :)

  8. Charlotte Dixon 09/13/2012 at 11:48 #

    Especially if you finish the restructure before you take off, leave the writing behind.  Your brain will thank you!  And ultimately, so will your writing.

  9. Fear of Writing 09/14/2012 at 19:26 #

    Practicing those habits with your friend sounds so fun!! Isn’t it wonderful to have a habit rub off the right way?

    I do have a good writing habit; it started last Spring. Every weekday morning I take my cappuccino into my office, close the door to create a private sanctuary and journal until I feel replete.

    I’ve tried many times to establish a positive journaling habit. This is the only time it has stuck. And I don’t see myself quitting any time soon. I’m addicted to it!

  10. Charlotte Dixon 09/14/2012 at 20:40 #

    That's so great that you've managed to establish a journal writing habit that feeds you, Milli.  I write in my journal every morning and I can't believe how many ideas I get in it.  I also write entire blog posts, scenes for my novel, articles, you name it!

Leave a Reply