Are your habits making or breaking your writing?

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By Alissa Johnson

A writer and friend of mine will openly tell you that, sometimes, she doesn't write because she gets sucked into Netflix or solitaire. 

I love her honesty, because let's face it, we all have our vices

Mine also begins with N followed by etflix, yet if you were to ask me what I'd rather do—write or watch TV—I'd say writing every time. So why do I so often choose TV? Habit.

Habits or patterns of behavior can make or break writing. Am I saying that we should never watch TV? Not at all. I just know that sometimes writers reach the end of the day without writing because their habits led them astray.

Every day, we make decisions on a minute to minute basis about what to do and how to do it. And many of those decisions get made simply because we've always done things a certain way.

Maybe you check Facebook or email first thing after waking up and, right off the bat, lose 15 to 20 minutes that you could spend writing.

Maybe you, like I do, fall victim to autoplay on Netflix. 

Maybe you set aside time for writing and then schedule over it the minute anyone asks you to do something else.
(Saying no can be so hard to do.)

Examining your habits can be a great way to make more time for writing. I used to check email before I wrote, for example. Sometimes that kept me from the page or made it really hard to focus once I got there. Now I leave my inbox for after I write.

When you change your habits, you can change your writing life. Does that mean changing them all today? Probably not! It's nice to make changes you can stick to, and starting small might be the way to follow through.

But even in starting small, you can start today. Here are a couple of prompts to help you:

  • During a typical day, my habits and patterns of behavior are...
  • If I were to change just one of those habits to create more writing time, I would...

Let us know what you uncover in the comments below or join the conversation on the Facebook page. If you're feeling bold, one habit you'd like to change. Sometimes it helps to make things public.

P.S. Interested in learning the #1 way writers make things harder than they need to be - and how to end the struggle? I have a three-part series you aren't going to want to miss! Join here.