You’ve just started a new project to help you create a consistent writing habit, and you’re so excited that you can’t wait to work on it. You’re bursting full of ideas. And if you’re this excited now, that must mean the motivation is going to last, right?
Unfortunately, the answer is: probably not.
If that project you’re excited about is #DogTrainerNaNoWriMo (and I hope it is!), then I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve that you can put into place now to keep you motivated when you hit that inevitable mid-month slump. Things you can do to help push through the dreaded curse of Writer’s Block.
Use these strategies now, and you’ll be able to keep going after day 15… and 22… and make it to the grand finale at day 30. You might even build a writing habit that lasts long after this month is over.
(And with all the reasons why you should be regularly blogging for your business, that’s something to look forward to!)
Want to build a long-lasting, consistent writing habit? Here’s where to start:
Create a Writing Ritual
Maya Angelou would check into a hotel with a legal pad, a Bible, playing cards, a dictionary, a thesaurus, and a bottle of sherry. She’d allow herself to check out once she’d completed 12 pages of writing.
Stephen King keeps his desk particularly arranged, sits down at the same time every morning, and works until he’s completed six pages a day.
Jane Austen would wake early to play the piano, make breakfast for her family, and then sit down to write while her mother and sister sewed quietly nearby. In the evenings, she’d read what she’d written that morning to her family.
This is to say, most successful authors stick to a consistent writing routine to enter their writing headspace, and to complete a certain amount of work each day. I’ll challenge you to take this a step further and develop a ritual which not gets you ready to begin writing, but that also makes you look forward to it!
Find or make a cozy space where you’ll enjoy working and sit in that same space every time you’re about to write. If there’s a certain time of day where you feel most creative, block it off on your calendar ahead of time. Light a favorite candle or set up a scented diffuser. Turn off your notifications and eliminate any distractions during that time if you can. Figure out what your favorite writing snacks are and have them on hand.
Make consistent writing a habit to enjoy rather than something you have to get through.
Remember Your Writing “Why”s
Now is a great time to write down all of your reasons why you’re developing this habit, while you’re still excited about doing it. Then find a way to keep those reminders available for the days when writing feels like a struggle. Some ideas:
- Write each reason on a scrap of paper and keep them in a jar on your desk. On days you need a little extra motivation, pull a new reason from the jar.
- Write each reason on a post it and hide them in locations around your house you’ll forget about but that you’re likely to encounter over the course of the month (such as taped to the bottle of laundry detergent, or behind the medicine cabinet door).
- Create calendar or phone notifications that’ll go off on random days and times throughout the month to surprise you with a new reason as you get closer to the end goal!
Use a Writing Habit Accountability System
The best way I’ve found to stick to a project? Share it somewhere.
Don’t worry — You don’t have to show your incomplete drafts to the world! But find a buddy you can text every day to say “I’m done!” to. Or join a writing group where you can talk through your concerns or questions or hype each other up… Being able to talk about the project you’re working on will immediately build up excitement about it.
If you want to keep your work to yourself (which is totally fine as well), create an event on your calendar every day that you complete your task. If you use a task app, put your daily task on there so you can physically check it off.
Or you can even create a private social media account where you post each time you’ve completed your work.
Using these visual cues and having people cheering you on are great ways to create accountability in your goal towards a consistent writing habit.
Embrace the “But”s
Negative thoughts are likely to come along, especially if you’ve had a rough couple of days where you struggle to write. It’s only natural to doubt yourself sometimes!
But I’m challenging you to fight back by embracing this magical word: Every time a negative thought comes along, try completing the thought with “but…”
For example: “This writing is terrible BUT I’ll have time to make edits later.”
“No one will ever want to read this BUT it will still help boost my website’s SEO ranking.” (And people will want to read it! Especially if you’re following these tips for creating engaging content.)
“I’m not writing about anything new BUT my experiences are unique, so I am putting my own spin on it.”
Inserting positivity onto your doubts will help reinforce your “why”s and keep you on track to reach your writing goal.
Last But Not Least: Treat Yourself
My favorite strategy for staying on track? Plan a treat for reaching your goal!
Even if it’s just a slice of your favorite cake (heck, why not the entire cake??), having something to look forward to is a time-honored tradition of goal setters; a little positive reinforcement, if you will.
And despite the off days where you might not be proud of what you wrote, you still deserve a celebration for trying your best.
That’s right: I am giving you permission to celebrate yourself, just because.
In case you need a little extra motivation by way of treats, be sure to sign up for #DogTrainerNaNoWriMo updates here so you’ll be on the list to receive check-in links — If you complete the weekly goals, I’ve got some extremely exciting prizes you’ll be entered to win.
What are some of your favorite ways to stay on track when creating new goals? Share them in the comments so we can keep each other motivated!