How to overcome resistance and make writing a habit

By David Hammond

A regular writing practice, made habit, is the foundation of your writing career.

You probably already know that.

You may also know when you start a writing routine you're likely to encounter some mental resistance.

Resistance is usually greatest during the first two to three months—the average time it takes to form a new habit.

Unfortunately, many fail to overcome this initial rough patch, taking their unrealized dream of writing to the grave.

But it doesn't have to be that way.

In this post: Three simple, yet, effective, strategies to help you press on while making your writing practice a habit.

How frequently to write

Regardless of background, the one thing top writers have in common is a regular writing practice.

When you write regularly, it sharpens your ability to put thoughts into words. It keeps you in the groove and positions you for improvement.

When it comes to developing writing skills, frequency is key. You're better off writing one hour per day seven days a week than writing seven hours one day a week.

Many successful writers swear by the benefits of writing every day. Others (who take a day off for rest, worship, or family) make a good case for writing five or six days a week.

But writing just a few days a week isn’t enough to reach your potential.

The Message is clear:
A regular writing practice makes you a better writer.

Make your writing practice a habit

It takes the average person two to three months to establish a new habit.

Maintaining your regular writing practice during this time will require willpower to overcome mental resistance.

But once your practice becomes a solid habit, it may feel more natural to write than not to write.

And much of the energy and emotional resources you once expended to overcome procrastination will now be available for your creative efforts.

Three simple strategies to help you press on through the first two to three months

Each one of the following three strategies can make a significant difference on its own.

Combining all three provides you with a powerful system to beat resistance and make your writing practice a habit.

1 - Schedule it 

The most important part of establishing your regular writing practice is making sure it happens.

Since there is no such thing as “extra time.” And when you “feel like it” may not line up with “when you can”, it’s important to schedule it.

Block out time on your calendar or in your appointment book. Plan it out weeks and months in advance.

As other things come up, schedule around your writing time.

2 - A big-picture perspective

It's essential you write five or more days per week to make your regular practice a habit.

Remember: Your regular writing practice is the foundation of your writing career.

Consider: During your early months, the fact you're developing a writing habit is likely of greater long-term career value than what you accomplish during your scheduled writing time.

Each day you write is a day of victory that adds a link to your chain of developing a successful writing habit.

3 - A Writing Habit Victory Calendar

To reinforce the development of your writing habit, use a Writing Habit Victory Calendar as a psychological motivator.

This is a calendar used exclusively to track the days you write. It creates a visual representation of your strengthening habit.

Simply put a year-at-a-glance calendar on the wall.

Then, put a "V" on the calendar each day after you write. "V" is for victory. So, mark it with a bold felt pen in your favorite color.

Watch the chain of Vs grow as you form and strengthen your writing habit.

At-a-glance writing-practice victory calendar

Keep it going! Don't break the chain.