First things first. Form that habit.

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Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up

Jane Yolen

Of all the writing advice that I’ve read over the years, this is the one I like best. The one that makes complete sense to me. I think of writing as a habit – something that you do often and regularly, sometimes without knowing that you are doing it. I started writing seriously when I was 21. I had a job as an apprentice journalist with a leading business daily. I had to write or edit something every single day, whether I liked it or not. There were days when I had to write articles at a moment’s notice and if I said anything about writer’s block, I would have been fired immediately! Over the years, I wrote and wrote and now, not a day goes by when I don’t write something.

If you are an aspiring writer, it would help if you treat writing as a habit and develop it over time. It’s a bit like exercise. If you want to be fit and healthy, lose a few pounds along the way, you must get into a fitness routine. Walk every day or do a bit of yoga. It’s the same with writing. Here are some things that I do that might help.

Set aside some time to write every day. Once you do that, guard that time ferociously. It doesn’t matter what time of the day it is. There are writers who write at the crack of dawn while others write at night. The pandemic has turned me into an owl so I write at night, after all my chores are done. Choose a time that works best for you.

Once you have sorted out when you are going to write, make sure you spend a couple of minutes (to start with) every single day writing something. It can be a few lines of a draft for a story, a character sketch or even a poem. Whatever catches your fancy. The idea is to keep doing it till you get into the habit of sitting down either in front of the laptop or with a piece of paper and pen and write something. As Yolen says, exercise the muscle. Form the habit. It doesn’t matter if what you write doesn’t see the light of day. It doesn’t need to.

Choose a spot. It could be your desk, the bed or even a corner of the dining table. I have a desk but I usually write in bed. Once you have a spot, make sure you turn up every single day with your laptop or your diary. If there is something you are working on, continue with your project, else figure out what you want to write and get cracking.

Exercise: Why do you want to be a writer? Take a sheet of paper and write down three reasons.

In my next post, I’ll give you some ideas on how to get started. For the time being, choose your spot and time. Think about why you want to write.

See you next week!

4 thoughts on “First things first. Form that habit.

  1. Very interesting and helpful article. It’s a good advice, however I find it difficult to follow, mainly because I am not able to sit down and write properly, without any interruption. So, I have started to write on my phone (I know it’s not a healthy habit), on Notes or Google docs. I find it convenient. And I write something every day (well, almost), even if it’s 200 words.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading. I think it’s great that you are writing a bit each day. The pandemic has made it doubly hard to maintain schedules. I think the notes app in the phone is super helpful. I use it a lot to jot down notes.

      Like

  2. I find this very interesting and thought provoking. As i am a professional journalist, I write everyday. But there’s a difference between journalistic writing and creative writing. For me, balancing the two is the most difficult and challenging part. Sometimes i lament,that so many of my so called brilliant ideas have gone for a toss because i did not put it in black and white in time thinking it will stay in the back of my mind. But unfortunately, it did not. I forgot and that’s natural. So the key is, as you said, write down the idea when it comes. Very important I thought..

    Liked by 1 person

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