why (and how) I am building a writing habit ...still

I have been a writer since before I can remember. I started blogging more than half my life ago and journaling by hand years before that. I can’t help but write. Even when words don’t make sense I try to make sense of words by putting them to paper. Even through the ugliest parts of my life I write to try to find beauty. Even when I think no one is reading I put my words out in public. It is my habit.

Still, my writing habit isn’t near as strong as I would like.

This habit is one that needs cultivating. Sure I have a natural bent toward it, but I also have a natural inclination toward abandoning it completely when my words feel imperfect or pointless. I write when I feel like it. Fortunately I feel like it a lot of the time, but I go through phases when I don’t feel like it at all and when I fall into one of those phases it’s hard to pull myself out again.

I spent much of 2017 not feeling like writing, but because I kept writing anyway I published a book and started writing for clients.

I might not have felt like writing, but I showed up to write anyway and ultimately it felt good. Maybe it didn’t feel good to force myself to put words on the page, especially certain awful rough drafts, but it felt good to have written: weekly blog posts for not only my own blog but also a client’s, a package of case studies for another client, much of the course I will be launching later this year… and many more private words that I haven’t shared.

In December I used prompts provided by Kara at bohoberry to rekindle my habit of personal journaling. Having a predetermined topic each day reminded me how helpful it is to know what I will be writing about before I pick up my pen or begin typing. Instead of continuing to use personal journaling prompts in January, I decided to go through Sean McCabe’s 30 Days to Better Writing course a second time. I had taken the course once before when it first came out so I knew it would be a helpful exercise to participate a second time. This time I’m not so much focused on learning anything new, but rather rekindling my professional writing habit like I rekindled my personal journaling habit in December.

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More than halfway through January I haven’t actually written every day. My little one’s imminent birth is distracting to say the least, and makes it quite difficult to focus on my business, but I’m choosing not to let a skipped yesterday be an excuse not to write today.

Some days it’s hard to put a single word on the page, but occasionally I write thousands of words because as my hands and conscious mind are nesting and preparing the nursery, my subconscious is working on my business. The fact that I have been working on strengthening my writing habit makes it easy to record those thoughts when they finally came together.

I’m focusing my daily writing efforts on producing content surrounding case studies which I will publish weekly beginning in February. Make sure you subscribe to the newsletter below if you’re interested in reading that content, as it will be separate from this blog!