Did you write today? Are you going to?
In the book The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg said, “Most of the choices we make each day may feel like the products of well-considered decision making, but they’re not. They’re habits. And though each habit means relatively little on its own, over time, the meals we order, what we say to our kids each night, whether we save or spend, how often we exercise, and the way we organize our thoughts and work routines have enormous impact on our health, productivity, financial security, and happiness.”
I think if you write every day, you can become a happier, more confident writer.
Here are eight excellent reasons why you should write every day.
1. You have mental muscle memory.
If you write every day, your mind is prepared to express itself on a regular basis. You are no longer in that wishy-washy state of, “do I feel like writing today?” With a daily habit you don’t give that ol’ liar writers’ block a foothold. You have a habit of writing, so you sit down and you do it. There’s no mental discussion. There is no woe is me feeling. A habit can be freeing.
2. You resist the inner editor better.
If you are in the habit of writing every day, you become less and less attentive to that little voice that tells you you’re doing it wrong. You may learn with a daily habit that speed is more important than perfection. As a result, you’ll spend less time backspacing and more time building up your word count.
3. You gain words.
If you are a writer that tracks your word count, then a daily writing habit is a must. I know that I can write around 500 words in a 10-minute increment if all is going well. So if my daily goal is around 1500 words, I have an idea of how long that will take me to get.
4. You can de-stress easier.
When something happens to me I can get that icky feeling out of my system faster if I write. Say I have a negative encounter with another driver in the supermarket parking lot, I have a tendency to rehash every word until I can write it all down. The words then are on the page, not in my head, and I can get past the event.
5. You can practice writing.
No one would expect a concert musician to play Carnegie Hall without years of diligent practice. The same can be said about great writers. They, like the musicians, have put in their time daily. Successful writers have stretched, practiced, and reviewed. They grow in confidence. They know the fundamentals and are willing to advance their skills. Writers should do the same. A daily writing habit can make an amateur writer a pro with time.
6. You can practice observations.
With a daily writing habit, a writer can grow in observing the world. Flannery O’Connor said, “The writer should never be ashamed of staring. There is nothing that does not require his attention.” A good writer focuses on the sensory observations around him, tinkers with them until they are perfect, and learns to put them into his work.
7. You now have a draft, no matter how bad it is.
When I was setting my timer for 10 minutes a day, I kept going because I knew that something was always better than nothing. A blank page can’t be edited. And after you’ve been writing regularly, you grow less and less intimidated by that blank screen. Daily writing habits build courage.
8. You may impress yourself.
It’s easy to second-guess your work, but with time and consistency, you’ll be able to judge better what is good. Sometimes you may even create something excellent. And when that comes, all the practice will be worth it.
I agree with Charles Duhigg. Habits are powerful and my writing habit is one I love.
In my life, my habits become touchstones to my day and week. I like that I always make the same Tex-Mex meal every Friday night. I also love the habit of going to church with my family every Sunday. And I also love the habit of saying goodnight to each of my children. I’m not crazy about the habit of picking my cuticles while I watch Netflix. And I wish I had a more regular habit of exercising.
My daily writing habit (or almost daily) has become an indispensable part of my life and I’m glad I have it.