Are you tired of putting off your writing dreams? Do you wish you had a consistent routine and the motivation to publish your work? Building a writing habit may seem daunting, but with these five simple steps, you can finally overcome procrastination and create a bulletproof accountability system. By the end of this journey, you will have found the time to write, generated a year's worth of ideas, set a daily publishing cadence, overcome your procrastination, and built a strong community to support and inspire you. Let's dive in!
Step 1: Design Your Writing Routine in a Single Sentence
The first step in building a writing habit is to design a specific and achievable routine. Many aspiring writers make the mistake of setting vague goals like "start writing." However, to truly build a habit, you need to define when, where, and how long you will write. For example, instead of saying, "I want to start writing," try saying, "Every morning at 8 AM, I will sit down at my desk with a cup of coffee and write for 20 minutes." This clear and defined routine will set you up for success.
To find your ideal writing routine, consider your most productive times of the day and when you can be least reachable. The overlap of these times is what we call your "Sacred Hours." During these Sacred Hours, commit to dedicating just 20 minutes to writing. Starting small is key to building a sustainable and consistent habit.
Step 2: Set a Consistent Output Cadence
Having time to write is important, but it's equally crucial to publish what you write. Choose one platform that resonates with you and commit to publishing something there consistently, regardless of how "ready" it feels. For example, you could publish one tweet per day on Twitter, one post per day on LinkedIn, or even one blog post per week on your personal blog. Consistency is key because it establishes a routine and holds you accountable to your writing goals.
Step 3: Use the 2-Year Test to Generate Ideas
You may think you don't have enough ideas to write about, but that's not true. Reflect on the last two years of your life and ask yourself what skills you have built, struggles you have faced, hobbies you have picked up, problems you have overcome, and topics you have learned about. From this list, choose three topics that truly excite you.
Once you have your core topics, use the 4A Framework: actionable, analytical, aspirational, and anthropological. This framework allows you to generate a wide range of ideas by approaching each topic from different angles. For example, you can provide tips, share statistics, outline steps, tell stories, offer quotes, discuss benefits, teach lessons, give reasons, talk about mistakes, provide examples, ask thought-provoking questions, or present frameworks. The possibilities are endless!
Step 4: Overcome Procrastination by Killing Your 'Onces'
One of the biggest obstacles to building a writing habit is procrastination. You may feel that the timing is never quite right. You tell yourself, "Once work slows down," or "Once I feel like I've learned more," or "Once I complete my Notion dashboard." These "onces" become excuses that prevent you from taking action.
Here's the harsh truth: the timing will never be perfect. The best time to start writing is today. Don't wait for the stars to align or for everything to be in place. Embrace imperfection and push through the resistance. By killing your 'onces' and letting go of perfectionism, you will find the motivation to write every day.
Step 5: Immerse Yourself in Accountability & Community
Writing can be a lonely journey, but it doesn't have to be. Surrounding yourself with a supportive community and accountability partners can make all the difference. Take the example of Dickie Bush, who initially struggled with loneliness during his first nine months writing online. However, once he found a way to connect with other writers, everything changed.
Being part of a community offers valuable feedback, improvement, and accountability. When others are writing alongside you, it becomes easier to stay motivated and committed. Consider joining programs like Ship 30 for 30, where you can immerse yourself in a community of writers and benefit from the collective support and encouragement.
As you follow these five dead-simple steps—designing your writing routine, setting a consistent output cadence, using the 2-Year Test, overcoming procrastination, and immersing yourself in accountability and community—you will witness incredible growth in your writing journey. You will carve out time to write, generate an abundance of ideas, establish a publishing cadence, conquer procrastination, and build an unbreakable accountability system. The new year is just around the corner, and there's no better time to start than now. Let's go!