Write 2 Be Magazine

For the Artists Who Like to Remain Strictly Out of the Box

The Write Habit: How to Strengthen Your Writing Muscle By Katey Coffing

Writing is a muscle that needs exercise to stay in shape.

I’m not the first to say that, but I realized how true it was when I took what I called “a well-earned break” after I finished my first novel.

The last days of writing the novel tasted as sweet as whipped cream—I was in a writing groove, humming along. I figured I’d take a little hiatus for a few days, then start my second book.

Those few days somehow morphed into a week. Soon two more weeks slithered by, thumbing their noses at me. Guilt swarmed me every time I passed my lonely PowerBook. I began to avoid my computer altogether, a beautifully self-defeating habit.

Finally, twitching with dread after more than a month of avoidance, I sat down at the screen to begin my next novel. Trying to write after that time away was torture—my neglected writing muscle had become flabby and whiny. It protested my sudden demands and resented being drafted to work again.

For many people, the key to productivity is making writing a habit. Consistent writing breeds easier writing.

If this is true for you, create a new habit. Make a commitment to a certain amount of writing every day, whether your goal is a length of time or a number of words or pages drafted before you lift your butt off your writing chair.

If your muscle has been out of practice and you’re afraid to begin, just start slow. Write at least one new paragraph today, or even a sentence. Tomorrow, write two. The following day, three. Keep rolling, bit by bit, until you reach a daily goal that works well for you.

And this is important: each day when you’ve reached your goal, do something nice for yourself. Many people don’t, feeling they don’t deserve the credit. They tell themselves, “My goal was too small, I didn’t write well enough, I didn’t ‘do it right’…” Sound familiar? Yep, I hear those nasty Inner Critic tapes, too. But think about this: if you don’t reward yourself for writing, is it any wonder you don’t write?

One of my published clients who loves her email has chosen to write five pages each weekday before she can access the Internet. Enjoying email has become her reward for completing her writing goals, and every time she slows down she remembers how much she wants to read her friends’ new messages or to surf YouTube and CuteOverload.com. That spurs her to complete her pages, and she feels doubly triumphant when she hears “you’ve got mail”.

Is the Web not a good enough carrot for you? Find something that is, then earn it. Setting goals and rewards that keep you writing creates a great habit that’s win/win.

 

About Katey Coffing

Katey Coffing, Ph.D. is a life coach for women writers. She helps women write, publish, and succeed! Discover more at Women-Ink.com.

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About jcladyluv

Jimmetta Carpenter is the Editor and Creator of the Free Fall Literary E-Zine and the Spoken Like A Queen E-Zine. She has dedicated herself to the power of the words and given into her passion for writing and has been writing poetry officially since the age of ten. She has a book of poetry titled “The Art of Love” published through lulu.com under the pen name Gemini. She is currently finishing up with her first novel and already working on her second. In 1998 she had her poem “Rest In Peace” published in an anthology put out by the International Library of Poetry and in the Spring of 2007 will have another poem titled “Through The Eyes of an Angel” published in another anthology also put out by the International Library of Poetry. She was also awarded the Editor’s Choice Award for that poem as well. She is looking forward to having a very long and rewarding career in writing and hopes that through living out her dreams she can inspire someone else out there to realize theirs. Her advice to other up and coming authors is to NEVER stop believing N your dreams and don’t ever be afraid to dream big. Jimmetta can be contacted by sending her an e-mail at freefall_lbp@yahoo.com or jcladyluv@yahoo.com.

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This entry was posted on August 15, 2013 by in The Craft of Writing and tagged , , , , .

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