Healthy writing habits are little things that make a huge difference
They will support your creativity, your energy, and help you make space for your muse to show up.
These are some of mine.
I hope they help.
1 // Don’t check your email before you write
Get into your zone. Your zone isn’t about appointments or arrangements or admin or other projects.
Wake up, do your morning thing, and then sit down to write. Your email can absolutely wait.
Add a sweet, sweet auto reply, if that’ll help you feel okay about not replying as soon as an email comes in.
This was mine while I was writing You Are Enough:
Thank you so much for getting in touch!
Guess what? I’m writing a book, and it’s going to change the way people think about self-worth, self-confidence, self-acceptance and pushing yourself until your inner critic is blue in the face, forever.
In the spirit of epic creativity, deadline-hitting and finish line cheers, I’m trying to not check my email 2,746 times a day even though sometimes I want to, because #procrastination.
The truth is, I’m not actually a good procrastinator (turns out that IS a word) which is why I’m most likely polishing my book right… about… now. So please allow a couple of days for a personal reply from me
Thank you for your patience.
With love, gratitude and deep respect for your email,
2 // Don’t be tempted to use the writer’s block card too often
It can be a massive temptation, but it’s a massive resistance.
I think writer’s block is:
- Fatigue in disguise
- Trying to write something old in a new way and feeling stuck about it
- A lack of confidence in your own creative ability
- Looking outside of yourself for inspiration instead of letting your own muse show up
So, take a break. Have a nap. Go do something else. Your muse will show up. Then, go with that.
3 // Don’t edit while you write
For the love of coffee, don’t edit while you write!
It’s like getting a spray tan during a thunderstorm and then running to your car; it just doesn’t work, people. It doesn’t work.
Write it all out. Write more. Don’t worry about if you like it yet or not. If you don’t write, you have nothing to edit. So write it all out. Write more. Then take a break.
Then come back to it with fresh eyes, an open heart and a good coffee. You’ll see what needs to change, be let go, expand, or reshuffle.
(For me, during the writing of You Are Enough, that break between finishing the first draft and coming back to edit it was a couple of weeks.)
You need space to edit. But first, you need to write it all out. And then? Write more.
Edit (and drink coffee).
4 // Don’t show your work to people until you back it yourself
If you don’t back your work and you show it someone who doesn’t vibe with it, you might feel crushed. It’s not your job to write for everyone. Write your story as best you can, and then back it with all you’ve got.
‘If you write with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can.’ – Neil Gaiman
5 // Don’t wait for your work to be perfect before you show it to people
There’s a difference between backing your work, and trying to make it perfect.
Don’t let perfectionism stop you from putting your best work out there. As Elizabeth Gilbert says, ”Done is better than good.’
So do it, and do it as best you can, and then trust you’ve done enough.
6 // Experiment with when you write best
Morning? Afternoon? Anytime?
I write best in the morning, after exercise (yoga, pilates, a walk) and with a coffee by my side, and so I honour this. I also know I need a long lunch break if I’m to continue writing in the afternoon, and so I honour this too.
When do you write best?
How can you honour this?
7 // And then, write anywhere
Don’t get stuck in thinking you can only write in certain places when the wind is just right, and when your hair is in a perfect messy bun, with your favourite mug of tea next to you. Write in different places often, so that you remind yourself that you’re a writer, and you can write anywhere.
(Tip: I keep a pair of earphones in my laptop bag for those times I’m very comfortable working in a cafe but fellow patrons are screeching with their friends or screaming on their phones or generally just being loud. I pop in my earphones, put my music up and get back to writing.)
8 // Break it down into little chunks
You wouldn’t try to eat a pizza in one bite, would you?
So why are you trying to write your book/blog/ecourse in one go?
Break it up. Little pieces. Little chunks. Little goals.
As one of my favourite authors, Todd Henry, says: ‘No one writes a book—they only write sections that eventually become a book.’
When I wrote my first book, I told myself I was just writing lots of blog posts that would eventually be put together. It worked, and I wrote the first draft (about 60,000 words) in 6 weeks. I’ll probably tell myself the same thing as I write my second.
9 // When you finish, take a break, and then start something new (keep writing)
Don’t rush into your next project, but don’t procrastinate either.
Flow with your body’s natural energy and rhythms of creativity, but don’t put it off.
Your muse will be back.
Will you listen to her?
10 // Call yourself a writer and then just sit down and write
For goodness sake, this is the most important thing; just sit down and write.
And then keep writing.
What are your healthy writing habits?
Let me know in the comments below.
Want some more support in sitting down to write, and finally loving what you create?
Well, you’re totally invited to my Love What You Create Writing Workshop.
(And I’d love to see you there!)