While the key to being an excellent writer is practice, practice, practice, getting that practice can be tough.
It requires a regular writing habit, which can be hard to forge and easy to drop when life gets in the way.
Even if you can consistently write, distractions and interruptions can waste precious writing time.
When that happens, getting back on track quickly will help—and that’s where training yourself to write comes in handy.
5 Ways To Train Yourself To Write
1. Pick A Specific Time
Just like you need to turn up to a job at a certain time, treat your writing sessions the same.
Pick a time when you know you can regularly write and designate it as the start of your “Writing Job.”
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know I get up at 6 am and write for at least an hour. I do this every weekday morning and sometimes on the weekend. That’s because it’s now a habit, thanks to the consistent writing time.
To train yourself for the same goal, work out when you can realistically do the same, schedule it, and show up. Before you know it, writing at that time will become as automatic as other daily habits, such as brushing your teeth.
I also pick specific days. As part of my current writing routine, I pen blogs every second Tuesday.
I’ve been doing this for a few years now, and I kid you not, when it comes to those Tuesdays, my writer-brain automatically slips into blog mode. When I sit at my desk, blog ideas and words are what my brain wants to work on.
If you’d like to try it, designate a specific day to a certain writing task, perform that task on that day over a period of time, and see if it happens for you too.
2. Create The Right Environment
While you may only need a laptop, iPad, or pen and notebook to physically write, adding other touches to your writing environment signals your brain that it’s time to work on words.
Invoke those senses by making your writing space your own. Light a certain candle, drink the same beverage, eat a specific snack, put on your favorite piece of music.
Use comfort and familiarity to build a creative writing space.
Just like smelling a favorite meal cooking might trigger warm memories, the right writing environment signals to your brain that it’s time to write.
If you don’t have the same writing space to use for every session, portable triggers like listening to a certain song or even just putting on headphones so you’re cut off from the outside world, helps.
With the right environment, you’ll let your body and mind know that it’s time to write, so get creating to be creative.
3. Dive Right In
When you get to your writing space and have everything set up, start writing.
Don’t stop and check your phone. Don’t have another cup of tea. Don’t look at Twitter first.
Just start the task you came to do. Write!
4. Unbreak your bad habits
I don’t know about you, but I have a bad habit of picking up my phone after writing one sentence.
This leads to hours of wasted writing time as I get sucked into the social media rabbit hole.
In order to break this bad habit, I’ve had to move my phone away. Sometimes it’s just out of reach on my desk, other times it’s on the other side of the room. When it gets bad, I have to put it in another room.
Just this past Christmas, I borrowed from my writer gift guide and purchased a $5 phone jail to stop my phone from spoiling my writing goals.
Work out what your bad habits are and break them with whatever means will work.
5. Reward Yourself
You work hard when you write, so when you’ve done it consistently and made genuine progress with your manuscript, reward yourself!
When I reach a big writing milestone, like finishing a draft, I like to have my favorite chocolate. When a book makes it all the way to a published version, I reward myself with lunch at my favorite restaurant.
On a smaller scale, if I’ve had a good writing week and achieved all or most of my writing goals, I’ll spend the weekend doing anything but writing and I won’t feel guilty about it.
Pick the things you like to reward yourself with, and use them when you’ve done your writing job well.
The positivity will encourage you to complete your goals, and by combining it with the other training tips listed in this post, you should be ready to write whenever you have the chance.
— K.M. Allan
What’s your best tip for slipping into writing mode? Let’s talk about it in the comments!