Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Establishing the Habit

If you choose any book on the art of writing from a shelf, the piece of advice you will always find is to write every day.

Every single day. Without fail.

Because writers can only be writers if they make writing a habit. And it should feel like a habit after a while, as though you'll go insane or scratch the insides of your eyelids out if you don't have time to write today.

But getting to that point, ingraining a habit, can be tough for new writers.

One challenge that worked particularly well for me is "Club 100 For Writers." The concept was developed by Beth Patillo. You can read more about the club or join her mailing list.

The gist is you write 100 words every day for 100 days.

Sounds easy, right? Or should I say, write?

In actuality, it's harder than it sounds, especially if you've never taken your writing so seriously that it trumps all other activities, even for fifteen minutes, every day. And that's what being in Club 100 is all about.

That's what being a writer is all about...putting your writing at the top of your to-do list. Either first thing in the morning, or right before bed, or over your lunch hour, or whatever works for you.

Several times in my writing career, I have put my nose to the grindstone and pulled off a Club 100 victory. At one point, I tried using my word-a-day blog to motivate me, but that didn't work. Finally I tried paper journal/notebooks (nice ones, like Moleskine, Paperblanks, or Time Traveler) and that worked. Though in my mind, writing a "journal entry" doesn't cut it. The words have to be fiction.

That's my hard-fast rule: Fiction only.

To make it easier, I use one trigger-word as an inspiration. I either ask someone for the word or I take it from the TV, or the radio, or a sign, or whatever word pops into my head. But that word must appear in the first sentence of the entry.

Sharpen your pencils, writers, and...go!

I will try to check-in after 100 days, to see how you're all doing. Yes, that means I'm watching you. Mwah ha ha!

Click through on Suzanne's icon in the list of followers to read her word-a-day blog for a glimpse of today's 100+ words.

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