The sun was shining a little extra bright that morning. The coffee tasted a little bit better. And while his annoying neighbors were still being noisy, the noise didn’t bother him as much.
He was excited. Motivated.
The day had come. After much deliberation, he decided to start a writing habit.
His goal was simple.
“I will write for 2 hours a day. Publish amazing articles and become a viral blogger in 90 days”.
And in fact, he did write for 2 hours every day. For 4 whole days. After which, he stopped and gave up on his dreams.
It’s not just him, it’s everyone
When building a writing habit (or any habit), we like to think big and set goals that look like ‘Burj Khalifa.’ After all, setting big, audacious goals feels exciting.
Big goals, however, are not sustainable. The excitement fizzles out. What we need instead is a better method. A system.
A method that is less rooted in ‘willpower’ and is based on kindness and habit psychology.
Let’s dig in.
1. Write for 15 minutes
Instead of setting an ambitious goal of writing for 2 hours every day, could you take a shot at doing it only for 15 minutes? Yes, you heard that right. Just 15 minutes.
The mind is scared of big goals, at least at the beginning. The 60-minute weight training session in the gym seems scary. But what about a 15-minute cardio session? You wouldn’t miss that, right?
We can do anything for 15 minutes
When we take up a writing goal that is smaller in size, we feel confident about achieving it. When we feel confident about achieving it, we are less likely to give up on it. When we make a habit of accomplishing these smaller goals, our confidence increases. And eventually, a sustainable habit is formed.
And while the 15-minute writing session won’t be our goal forever, it’s a really good goal to have for the first 3 weeks.
Show up, write for 15 minutes, and then reward yourself.
2. When should you write
I don’t know about you, but after 10 am, my life changes drastically. My phone starts ringing, emails start landing in my inbox, and my Teams chat starts buzzing.
Once this noise starts, finding the time to get any writing done is pretty challenging.
Doing it at the end of the day doesn’t work either. Either I am too tired, or I cannot find a time slot when I can sit uninterrupted. Before we know it, the day ends. The day has ended, we haven’t written a single word, and now there’s guilt to deal with.
The sacred slot
The time before 10 am, however, is my time.
It’s a time that I can control. Early morning (before 10 am) provides us with a sacred slot for writing. A perfect time to grab some coffee and sit down to get some poor writing done for 15 minutes.
Oh, did I say ‘poor writing’? Okay, let me explain.
3. The magic of writing poorly
The pressure of writing a great article is too much. Too intimidating. This leads to anxiety. Like being at a party where you are expected to dance. The performance pressure is too much.
When the pressure is high, our writing doesn’t flow. When the writing doesn’t flow, our personality isn’t reflected. It’s like a robot who is doing the writing.
Detachment is the key
A better strategy is to be detached from the outcome altogether. Focus on the process, and forget about the result. The awesome article will come later. For now, focus on writing poorly for 15 minutes.
Creating a writing habit can be tricky
But it doesn’t have to be. Instead of saying, “I will write for 2 hours a day. Publish amazing articles and become a viral blogger in 90 days”, you could say, “I will write poorly for 15 minutes at the start of my day”.
That highly motivated dude that I spoke of? That highly motivated dude is me.