One of those fundamental questions for a lot of people when it comes to an activity they love is “When did you consider yourself to be a…?”. Whether it’s a runner, photographer, dancer, designer or baker, there’s usually some milestone they can point to that signals really being that thing they set out to be.
With my writing, that milestone has been developing a regular writing habit. And finally, I think I can call myself a writer because I’ve achieved this.
Like most great ideas, it started with hashtag on Twitter – #EveryDayInMay. I’ve read in the past that it takes 21 days to form a habit. With 31 days in May, I thought the extra 10 days were a sure-fire win! What could I do for just 31 days that would make a great change in my life? I decided on a couple of small things but the one that’s relevant here is that I decided I would write every day for the entire month.
That was it, the end of the deal. Just write. Every day. Not at a certain time. Not for a certain time. Not a certain number of words. Just every day at some point I would sit down with my WIP and do something with it.
Usually this happened in the late afternoon or just before dinner. Once it happened quite late in the evening directly before bed. Occasionally, in the morning. Sometimes I spent an hour, sometimes I spent 15 minutes. I had one session that involved plotting but no actual writing. But for 31 days, I spent time working on my WIP.
How do I know it worked? Because when June 1 rolled around, I kept doing it. Even though last week was super-busy getting ready to go out of town, I kept doing it. Until we actually went out of town and I missed a day due to travel, a day due to a crazy migraine, and a day due to catching up from travel and migraine. And on those days? I missed it. I missed it SO much. I can’t wait to get back to it today.
Going forward, I plan for my habit to be writing every weekday. Weekends will be more flexible. Maybe eventually I’ll be the kind of writer who wakes up every morning and writes from 5am-9am or starts at 10am and writes a minimum of 5k words.
So although my writing habit doesn’t look exactly like I thought it would, I’m going to embrace it for what it is and cling to it mercilessly. Remember, in the wise words of The Bloggess, “A hug is like a strangle you haven’t finished yet.” I’m keeping this writing habit in a choke-hold and not letting go.