Why You Should Cultivate Daily Writing Habits

by Monica M. Clark | 10 comments

National Novel Writing Month starts tomorrow!

NaNoWriMo is a fun thing lots of writers do each year. In order to write 50,000 words in just 30 days, they write thousands of words every single day.

Why You Should Cultivate Daily Writing Habits

Whether you're writing a novel in a month or not, though, writing every day is actually a really valuable habit to develop.

Great Writers Develop a Writing Habit

Don't believe me?

Then check out these quotes from authors and bloggers, which will inspire you next month and beyond!

I found an amazing compilation of on-point quotes from famous authors on their daily routines. Here's a taste:

“The repetition itself becomes the important thing.”
—Haruki Murakami

“I write every morning.”
—Ernest Hemingway

And after explaining her daily writing routine, Maya Angelou echoed that often-repeated sentiment:

“Easy reading is damn hard writing.”

More Writers on Their Writing Habits

I found a few more quotes on my own:

Stephen King famously wrote in his book On Writing,

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”

And Jennifer Weiner has lots of advice for aspiring writers on her website. Tip number five?

“Write to please yourself.”

How to Develop Your Writing Habit

Our friend Jeff Goins has published a blog post on “Why You Need to Write Every Day.”

Of course BuzzFeed has a list for everything, including “19 Easy Rules to Write Something Every Day.”

Finally, the most important quote of all:

“Michael Jordan practiced. Joshua Bell practices. Tiger Woods practiced. Bill Gates practiced. Pablo Picasso practiced—so why don't writers practice?” (Sound familiar?)

Go Write Today

Do you want to be a writer? Do you want to write a novel, or a memoir, or short stories, or blog posts, or something else entirely?

Today, sit down and write.

And then tomorrow, do it again.

What’s your writing routine? Let me know in the comments.

PRACTICE

If you already have a daily writing habit, that's fantastic! If not, now's your chance to start. Take fifteen minutes to write something scary. When you're done, share your writing in the comments and leave some feedback for your fellow writers.

Happy Halloween!

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Monica is a lawyer trying to knock out her first novel. She lives in D.C. but is still a New Yorker. You can follow her on her blog or on Twitter (@monicamclark).

10 Comments

  1. Rubis Adams

    I’m a slow writer, so this is all I could knock out in 15 minutes. It’s about depression:

    The room around me is a black hole, as familar as it is strange, threatening to swallow me. In fact it has started to already, its insidious nothingness seeping under my skin like an itch I can’t reach. I look up at the door, wishing I could open it and find… Anything, but I know there’s nothing. Nowhere to go. Behind the door, there’s only a different sort of empty, and beyond that yet more space, dark, dead space, the void between stars, infinitely opening onto infinite nothing. So I look down again, wrap my arms tighter around myself, and close my eyes. The darkness there welcomes me, warmer and fuller than that around me, but if I can feel it move, it’s as it’s leaving: the disturbance of rushing waters, trailing out of me, forever, forever. Soon it won’t be there at all. Soon I’ll be the abyss. I get eager.

    Reply
    • Susan W A

      exquisite, Rubis Adams.

      Each word, each phrase, each image carried me in a gentle swirl of ever-expanding empathetic understanding of this person’s experience. Strangely, although the circumstances are grey, I felt a quiet calm while I read it, so eloquently is it presented. Thank you for sharing it.

      I have to say, there is nothing “all I could knock out” about this piece. I think in a forum such as this with such a broad range of talented people, we may tend to downplay what we post in an attempt to clarify our own standing. I would gladly take pride in this poignant sculpture of words

    • Rubis Adams

      Thank you Susan, you’re so kind. I am proud, I just thought it was kinda short. But you reassured me.

    • Susan W A

      Awesome! I get it.

    • Prince A.

      You have a real cool way with words. It has a poetic feel. The second sentence is my favorite. The description makes my skin crawl, but the way it’s writing is great.

    • Rubis Adams

      Thank you so much, x

  2. Jason Bougger

    My writing routine varies from day to day, but I do have one firm rule. Write (or work on something writing-related) every day with no exceptions. What I find works for me is to look at how much time I have for a writing sessions. Maybe only 15 minutes, maybe 4 hours…but whatever it is, I’ll set a few goals based on how long I have and then prioritize them.

    And example two-hour session for me might be… 30 min for blogging, 30 min for business stuff (social media marketing, etc.) and 60 minutes of fiction writing or editing.

    NaNoWriMo aside, daily word count goals have never worked well for me, so time limits are the way to go. But whatever the goal, the habit is to work on writing every day.

    Reply
    • Susan W A

      Sounds like a great way to make things happen! Good for you, Jason.

  3. Susan W A

    Thanks for the post, Monica, and the prod. I love the quotes, each a gem to spark inspiration.

    Reply
  4. Prince A.

    I don’t have any current daily routines, but hopefully this starts one.

    I ended up spending longer than 15min. I liked the story and wanted a more finished thought.

    The Hallow Ghost:

    Melted red candles on rusted wood was overshadowed by broken skulls on the stairway. The moon couldn’t light up the darkness that filled the tortured street of its eerie, smoky atmosphere. The sounds of an owl’s call crept through the creaking steps approaching the house. Its door covered in spider webs and the knob marked with dried blood. Three heavy knocks fall onto the door with a low chilling echo. The knob slowly turned. The door cracked, opening with light that peeked through.

    “Trick or treat!”

    A short pirate with a red bandana, a hook, and a dark 5 o’clock shadow held out a sack. Next to him is a taller, young woman with dark curly hair, gold hoops, an eye patch, and a tank top holding a dagger prop. She has an identical white sack that is half filled.

    The two walked down the street leaving behind the screams of the festive horrors.

    “How’d you do?” the older pirate asked.

    Ruffling through the bag of goodies, the boy pirate said, “I got so much! Candy bars, pixie sticks, popcorn balls.”

    “Yeah. The treats are pretty good this year. Except for this candy corn. I hate it!”

    “Just give it to me!”

    “Alright Adam. Just don’t tell mom or she’ll blame me for your stomach ache.” She pulled out several bags of candy corn and handed it over to her little brother.

    The two walked into a wooded area. The moonlight casted dark shadows of the branches across the ground. All noise was absent aside from the crackling of walking on leaves and sticks.

    She grabbed her brother by the arm.

    “Ashley—“

    “Shut up,” she interrupted. Ashley scanned the area, being as quiet as possible in order to catch the slightest noise.

    “Okay, let’s go.”

    “Ashley? What was it?” The boy trailed closely behind his sister.

    “I thought I heard something. Let’s just—“

    She’s stopped and so did her brother as he bumped into her. She turned around and discovered that the noise that stalked them was a ghost. The tall figure covered by a big white sheet with two holes for eyes just stood before them. Adam stepped back away from the ghost and towards his sister.

    “Do I know you,” Ashley asked hesitantly.

    The ghost just stood there.

    “I know it’s Halloween, but your kinda freaking us out.”

    The ghost remained perfectly still.

    “Ashley can we just go,” Adam asked nervously.

    The ghost takes a step forward that crunched on dried leaves.

    “This is stupid,” Ashley chuckled forcefully. “It’s probably just some idiot high schooler playing a prank.”

    Ashley pulled the sheet of the ghost off. There was nothing there.

    “Ashley?” Adam face looked pale from the mystery.

    Ashley was lost for words as she looked at her brother and then back down at the sheet she was holding. She dropped the sheet, grabbed her brother and the two of them ran.

    “Ashley?!” Adam yelled.

    They struggled in the maze of the trees. They turned a corner and bumped into the ghost they left behind them. The ghost snatched Adam. Ashley fought for her brother who struggled in the sheet of the ghost. The ghost placed scratches and bite marks on her as she tried to save her Adam. He let out a loud cry. The white sheet got splattered with blood.

    “Adam!”

    Ashley screamed for her brother still franticly fighting. She pulled the sheet and there was nothing again. The one who was under the sheet and Adam who was fighting for his life was nowhere to be seen. Ashley couldn’t stop her hands from shaking as she held the bloody sheet. She stood up looking all around. She looked back at the sheet and ran to escape the ghost’s torment.

    Scratched by branches and scared by untrusting shadows of the night, Ashley tripped falling hard. Struggling to get up, she got herself on her knees and begun to sob as she saw Adam’s blood on her hands. crunch…crunch…CRUNCH. Ashley heard the creeping of steps becoming louder behind her. She observed the shadow of the figure on the ground grow bigger before her. She gasped for air and turned her head around to confirm her fears. There stood the ghost. A static whisper could be heard from the ghost. Ashley screamed her loudest cry and the ghost’s white sheet got covered in red to end her Halloween’s night.

    Reply

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