Just Show Up: Build Better Writing Habits in 2020

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When it comes to writing, like most other things, you can’t build a writing habit by starting at the outcome.

This is the time of the year when exuberance mixes with social pressure, and people lay a crazy expectation on themselves that is both unrealistic and unsustainable.

I’m going to write two thousand words a day for all of 2020!

Wait. What?

No birthdays, no sick days, no vacations, or days off? And why, 2K?

You are setting yourself up for failure. And when you feel like a failure, your work suffers. As in you stop doing it.

So why not set yourself up for success by building a real habit.

During the week, I will sit down at my desk to write while I have my morning coffee.

Now all you have to do to meet your goal is wake up and sit down at your desk. Some days you’ll write three words, somedays you’ll write 3K.

Because the real habit is in sitting down at your desk.

Real lasting, sustainable change does not come from wanting the results real bad; it comes from shifting your mindset and changing your daily actions. These two things will depend on who you are. Some people need to improve their mindset before they can change their actions, and some people need to change their actions before their mindset catches up.

But sustainable change does not come from laying results-based threats on yourself—especially if some internet guru arbitrarily decides them for you.

Here you say, “But I thrive under pressure. Telling myself, I have to write 5K everyday lights a fire under my ass, so I do it.”

My challenge to you is this: Does it?

Or does it create a rollercoaster of frantic deadline crushing and burnout?

Too many authors set themselves up for failure by falling into this trap. For some odd reason, writers have convinced themselves that writing should feel like torture. The only writing worth reading is created in fits of passion or painful extraction!

This line of thinking is absurd. It’s complete bullshit.

Writing is adding one word after another until you have a sentence, then one sentence after another until you have a paragraph, and paragraph after paragraph until you have a scene, and scene after scene until you have a chapter and chapter after chapter until you have a story.

But before any of that, you have to show up for that first word.

You have to put your butt in that chair.

Your writing habit begins with the first word. Each day you start with sitting at your desk.

Becoming a career author is only possible if you believe yourself to be the kind of person that shows up consistently and puts words on a page.

So if you aren’t there yet, how do you start? How do you prove yourself as a writer?

You show up.

Every chance you get, show up.

And you keep showing up no matter what.

Even if you only manage one word.


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