I’ve written at least 500 words every day since the beginning of the year (it’s the end of March when I’m writing this). I haven’t missed a single day. All of my post content this year has come from those writings. But, I’m hesitant to call it a habit. I think of a habit as something I do without thought. I put thought into these writings each morning and during the day, as I gather potential ideas. These are intentional actions that I do to make sure I have content and time to write each day.
I don’t like habits
It’s a habit that makes me take the wrong turn towards the grocery store, or down my normal route when I need to go somewhere else. The “force of habit” causes mistakes. I don’t want my writing to come to that, just going down a usual path because I always come this way. I need my writing to be something fresh out of my imagination, rather than the usual routine. If I go the way of habit in my writing, I fear I will lose the desire to create and write because the results won’t be something I feel good about.
So I revised my goal instead of building a writing habit to simply writing every day, without “habit.” I want to make myself write each day, gather ideas throughout each day and spend the remaining time (which isn’t much anymore) finishing posts and posting. Those last two have gone woefully by the wayside as my day job gets in the way quite a bit. But I need to make sure I create and search for ideas regularly, even if I don’t work on posts, I have to keep pulling from the well each day, and I have to ensure I’m putting something back into the well for future days.
Why do I keep at it?
I always go back to “why write at all?” I enjoy writing, and it’s something I’ve always wanted to try to be “successful” at since I was in my late teens. I’m not sure how I define success with writing anymore. Being able to write each day for me is a huge success. I’ve never been able to write every day for more than a week at a time.
I’ve never realized how difficult it is to come up with content on a regular schedule because I would post content as I came across projects. My technical blog consisted of me documenting things I’d solved rather than scheduling to post X amount of times per week. And again, as success goes, I’m failing in the weekly postings. I need to be posting twice per week to keep working towards my goal of having 100 posts by the end of 2018.
But, that goal is shooting for an average weekly posting count, where I know some weeks I will go over, and some weeks I will struggle. The past few weeks have been exceptionally difficult because life is, again, getting in the way.
My wife got a hernia a few weeks ago, and I had an endurance race (two 8-hour races) last weekend. Even though I only drove one day, and only a 2-hour stint, the preparation for running a car at speed for 16 hours is monumental. With my wife being unable to “carry her weight,” (oh she hates me right now) I’ve had to do all the chores as well. And I think I may have mentioned I’m looking for a new day job. That’s taken a fair amount of my free time as well.
So the posting has gone by the wayside, much to my disappointment. That being said, I do have 22+ drafts that I need to finish. I’m also becoming much more critical of what I let out the door. I’m writing landing pages and giveaway content so I can build an email list, but that content has to be compelling and exceptional. The blog posting allows me to be lazy. I’m lazy all by myself, I don’t need any help in that arena.
I’m learning as I go
As I write and try to find my niche, my voice, and define my worldview, I’m beginning to see two distinct trends emerge. One is the writing for other writers. There’s a lot of us trying to make our way in the world, and I think it’s great that we have the ability and mechanism to express ourselves now. I also think we’re a community that needs encouragement quite a bit. I like helping writers, although I don’t feel right now like I have much to add to a writer because I’ve only been at it a few months and outside of a few Quora posts, I don’t really have any successes yet. But I did get past my single biggest hurdle in writing – I got started.
The other trend is my recent weight loss. At 49 years old, I was able to drop 40 pounds in just under three months all on my own (well, that’s not true, my lovely wife helped) and got my blood work in the healthy category from several borderline categories. I was borderline diabetic, had fatty deposits on my liver, and was pushing the limits of high blood pressure as well. All of those are now within normal limits, and my doctor has me off Crestor® for the next three months to see if I can live without that medication. This success is something I can pass on to others. I didn’t do any fad diet, I changed the way I eat, and I found out some truths along the way about weight loss, food cravings and generally how to replace high calorie with healthy low-calorie foods. Oh, and I didn’t exercise one single bit because I’m that stubborn.
One of those threads is a good contender for a niche writing focus, I just haven’t decided on which one yet, because I can be exceptionally indecisive at times.
So what I’d like to ask of you, dear reader, is to comment below, or sign up for my email list, get in touch with me somehow and let me know what you’re looking for and what you need in life. I feel a need to connect and help others, and I’d like you to be a part of that.
Sign up for my email list here, or with the annoying pop-up.
4 thoughts on “Writing 500 Words a Day is Not a Habit”
I agree. 500 is not a habit, at least not to me. It is simply a word count—a goal for me to reach that will actually help get me to where I want to be, which in my case is a published novelist. And if I have time and the chance to write more than 500 words a day, even better. The more the merrier!
Thanks for the comment, John. You’re right. It’s just a milestone that keeps me hitting a minimum every day. I’ve actually doubled it recently, we’ll see how that goes – so far so good this month. I’m amazed at the growth I’m going through as a writer just by having a daily habit. I kick myself that I wasn’t wise enough to see this when I was 20 and at the beginning of my career.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Oh believe me! I’m 28 and am kicking myself for having not stuck with this years and years ago. Commitment and willpower have always been my two weaknesses. But my blog has been helping me break those so hopefully the future is bright
Congrats! I’m 49, and have started and failed more times than I care to count. But I’m on the path now. Thanks, I’ll go lurk on your blog 🙂
LikeLiked by 1 person