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Writer’s Resolutions: Ways to Form Habit

If you’re like me, you are probably setting goals for the new year—promises to exercise daily or eat right. It’s the season for starting over and re-committing to good habits. There’s nothing quite like feeling like you have a clean slate and move forward freely into a new and improved you. But while you’re picking good habits, don’t forget your writing.

Writing is a habit like any other. It takes discipline to stick to it, especially when the self-doubt creeps in or the rejections start piling up. The more you can do to create a habit of writing, the better you will be able to handle the vagaries of the craft.

Here are some great resolutions/goals for writers to make:

Set a Daily Word Count
Decide how much you want to write each day and stick to it. You can track your word count in word processing systems or use Scrivener’s writing history feature to see exactly how well you are doing.

Use a Chain Calendar
Have you seen these chain calendars that track how many days in a row you keep up a habit? They are great. There is something about not wanting to break the chain of good habits that is so motivating. All you have to do is create a chart that has numbers or dates on it and cross off each day you write. The goal is to not break the chain.

Set a Daily Time Commitment
Maybe you are short on time. If so, set a specific amount of time you will dedicate each day to writing. Then defend that time against all distractions and temptations. Schedule your time or you will find it fading away.

Set a Page Count Goal
If words or time doesn’t work for you, try setting page goals. Write 5 pages a day or 150 per month. The number is up to you. By setting a daily goal, you focus on results instead of effort. Some days it may take you four times as long to write the five pages, but in the end you still have five pages completed, which is great.

Set Weekly or Monthly Goals
This method allows you to be flexible with your writing time. It also recognizes that some days are going to be more productive than others, like those days when it’s easy to crank out 15 pages, when sometimes it’s tough to write one. By setting longer goals, you have more freedom to accommodate your life and writing habits. But still try to write some every day. It helps get you in the habit of writing even when you don’t feel like it or hear your muse.

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