Eve Goodnight - Writing Habits

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Learn how I found 30 "free" minutes of writing time with one simple and painless shift in my morning routine. Good writing habits are easier than you think to establish. And habits are much more effective than relying on The Muse or willpower.

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Eve Goodnight - Writing Habits

  1. 1. Eve Goodnight / Writing Habits From Eve Goodnight: ! I wrote this article on Writing Habits to help people like you make progress in the quest to start freelance writing or improve their writing. You are welcome to share it with anyone you think it would benefit. Please don't change it any way. ! For more writing tips you can visit EveGoodnight.com or join my free newsletter.
  2. 2. Eve Goodnight / Writing Habits Many people have skewed ideas about goal setting and what goals can actually do for you. I think Seth Godin sums it up perfectly here: Your audacious life goals are fabulous. We're proud of you for having them. But it's possible that those goals are designed to distract you from the thing that's really frightening you - the shift in daily habits that would mean a re-invention of how you see yourself. - Seth Godin
  3. 3. Eve Goodnight / Writing Habits We all have our audacious writing goals. Me? I want to be the next Hugh Howey. I want loads of readers hungry for the next part of my story. And the fat bank account that would come with a best seller wouldn't hurt either. And when do I want it? Now! But the unfortunate truth is I'm not going to get it unless I do the small daily steps that lead to that big audacious success.
  4. 4. Eve Goodnight / Writing Habits Let's get down to basics. What are writing habits? What do yours look like? Do you write everyday? Yes, that's a good writing habit. No, that's a bad writing habit. In his excellent book "On Writing," Stephen King says that he writes 10 pages everyday. Imagine where you would be with your WIP next month. Done...with the first draft.
  5. 5. Eve Goodnight / Writing Habits What exactly is a habit? The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines habit as follows: ! a usual way of behaving : something that a person does often in a regular and repeated way ! Habits are something that you don't have to think about. You just do them. Taking conscious decision out of the equation makes bad habits very hard to change and good habits very hard to develop. So, why bother with habits? Simple, once you make a good habit yours, it's no longer a chore that your subconscious mind targets for procrastination.
  6. 6. Eve Goodnight / Writing Habits In Charles Duhigg's book, "The Power of Habit" he talks about what he called the Habit Loop: ! Cue: the trigger, what causes you to do the behavior Routine: the behavior itself Reward: the benefit you get from the behavior The most important concept from Duhigg's book is his Golden Rule of Habit Change. The Golden Rule says the most effective way to change a habit is to keep the Cue and the Reward the same. I wanted to apply this to developing the habit of writing everyday. How does that happen? First, I had to make space in my life for writing. I wanted to write every morning when I get out of bed (before my daughter gets up).
  7. 7. Eve Goodnight / Writing Habits The old morning habit looked like this: Cue: 6:30 am, time to get up Routine: drink coffee and stare out the window, 45 minutes Reward: caffeine and relaxation ! That's a pretty comfortable habit. I decided to start small to maximize my chance for success. Here's the first change: ! Cue: 6:30am, time to get up Routine: write for 15 minutes on previously outline material Reward: caffeine and relaxation !
  8. 8. Eve Goodnight / Writing Habits I was skeptical that I would be able to carry this out. I like my coffee. Coffee in the morning is not optional. But, following the Duhigg's Golden Rule, I didn't do something crazy like wake up 30 minutes earlier to get my writing time. Let's face it, 6:30 is early enough, don't you think? Making sure that I had something outlined made writing for 15 minutes pretty easy. There were no plots to ponder, no places to research, just words to write. I could do that! Then I kept my reward the same, my beloved coffee in my favorite chair. But a funny thing happened. My "required" 45 minutes of coffee time in the morning was reduced. I found myself ready to start the next part of my day in more like 15 minutes. Eventually, I painlessly transitioned this time to writing. So, I harvested 30 minutes of "free" writing time from my day! ! Training myself with better habits is much more effective than relying on willpower. Willpower works on a good day, but when I'm tired and stressed, the subconscious mind is a much more reliable ally.
  9. 9. Eve Goodnight / Writing Habits The Weekly Newsletter (It’s Free!) ! You’ll get helpful strategies to improve your writing process and results. Sign up now and you’ll learn how to: ! Use freelance writing to earn money while becoming a better writer in Write Your Own Check: Part One Make space in your life for writing Build on your freelancing success with your own projects Be more prolific than you ever thought possible Plus I’ll share my indie publishing experiences and lessons with you. ! No spam, ever. I email once per week, occasionally twice. I’ll never share your email with anyone and you can unsubscribe at anytime.

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