Habitual or how I became addicted to writing.

Sally_Field_The_Flying_Nun_1968

No, not that kind, though the flying nun is habit-forming.

At the beginning of the year I wanted to turn some so-so habits that were kind of working into habits that helped me breeze through the day.  There were things I was good at and some I was haphazardly hit and miss with. Writing every day was unfortunately falling into the latter category.

A book that helped me turn this around was Lifelong writing habits by Chris Fox.  It’s a quick little book, it took me no more than an hour to read through the entire thing and there are some pointers in there that where easy to implement.  After about a month I found they were real habits and if I didn’t do them I felt something in my day was off.  That’s the feeling I wanted. I wanted to notice if I didn’t write.

Chris breaks down what a habit is.

  • The trigger,  i.e. an alarm in the morning that wakes you up
  • The Routine, i.e. brushing your teeth and making a cup of coffee
  • And The Reward, i.e.  clean teeth and a shot of caffeine.

I needed sitting down at my writing place to be as necessary as brushing my teeth in the morning.  After a month or so – it took longer than I imagined it would – if I don’t park myself in that seat I feel something was off about my day. I felt not quite right in my world.

There are loads of books on the market about habits, I think any of them could deliver the same message. This one did so in a compact way that didn’t take a great deal of time and didn’t necessitate any grand plan.  It was also under $5 aus.

Indy-500-Verizon-car
A short burst of Will Power was only good for the racing circuit.

It spoke about something I found to be true.  That willpower doesn’t work. I don’t mean the racing car driver, I am sure he works very well. I mean that thing we are all suppose to have that pushes us to do something. For a few days, sure, but over and over again, not so much. By hard wiring writing into my brain I created an addiction to this activity.

My trigger: Alerts I set on every device I could get my hands on. My phone, iPad, laptop and desktop all chime one minute after each other telling me to Write, Write, Write, Write. It’s worse than an toddler in a toy story for nagging.

My routine: Grab a cup of coffee, sit on the chair, read over yesterdays quick notes ( I’ll blog about quick notes) and then put fingers on keys and press them in an order that makes sense. It’s important not to open up anything but scrivener.

My reward:  Words on the page. Pages turning into chapters. Chapters turning into a book!

The same place, the same time, the same thing = habit.