Make Your Writing a Habit

How can you make yourself sit down and immediately start writing?

The following advice may sound a little odd, but if you embrace the weird and give it a try, it’ll work for you.

I do my writing first thing in the morning. I only have an hour to get my words down so I need to make sure I get started quickly.

Of course, what delays my writing more than anything is my fear of getting started.

The first sentence is always the hardest.

Make Your Writing a Habit

I fidget and decide to make coffee. Sit down with my coffee, fidget some more, and decide I need to use the restroom. After that, I decide to check Facebook just one more time before getting started.

To break that cycle, here is something I’ve learned: Make writing the first sentence automatic.

I have a system for breaking the delay on getting started. You’ll have to set aside three hours one day but once it’s done it will save you enormous amounts of wasted time in the future.

Here’s my system:

  1. Come up with something useless to write about. This is merely practice for real writing, so you need something you’ll immediately throw away when this exercise is over. Write about the laundry you just sorted or your thoughts on the current political climate. You know, useless stuff.
  2. Sit down, open your writing software, and immediately start writing. Before you start, know what the first sentence will be then sit down and immediately start typing.
  3. Stop after two minutes. Set your timer for two minutes. When it goes off, immediately stop writing, close down your writing software, and get up from the computer.
  4. Wait ten minutes. Busy yourself. Do anything that will take your mind completely off of writing. Perhaps read a book.
  5. Repeat steps 2 through 4. The second time you sit down, you get 15 seconds of your two minutes to briefly review what you wrote previously and then immediately start typing. Remember, you’re going to throw this away so it doesn’t matter what you type.

We want to turn the act of starting into a habit.

That is what this exercise will do. If you do this for a solid three hours, it will become normal to sit down to write and immediately start typing.

I told you it was weird, but I promise it will make a big difference in beating your procrastination.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Tim Grahl
Tim Grahl
Tim Grahl is the author of Your First 1000 Copies and the founder of BookLaunch.com. He has worked with authors for a decade to help them build their platform, connect with readers, and sell more books. He has worked 1-on-1 with over a hundred authors including Daniel Pink, Hugh Howey, Barbara Corcoran, Chip and Dan Heath, Sally Hogshead and many others. He has also launched dozens of New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post bestsellers.

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