Most of the time, I live in my head. On the one hand because I like it there, on the other hand because writing seems to frighten me. Getting something out there. Which is actually rather strange for someone who makes a living by writing and translating.
I used to think that it wasn’t really that important. It’s better to think things through, before putting them on paper. Sometimes, I would even find myself being a bit judgmental about people who put stuff in writing, but not ‘doing it properly’. But nowadays, writing is a habit I want to master. And not the writing-for-money-kind of habit, but the writing-to-progress-kind of habit.
Benefits of writing
Besides from actually getting things on paper, the practice of noting things down has numerous benefits. It gets you started and can help you create momentum. It can arrange your thoughts in a way that is virtually impossible if you keep them in your head. It will help you to progress, to grow.
It also helps to vent. Sometimes, when I get really frustrated or angry with someone, entire arguments are being played out in my head. That takes up a lot of energy and is completely useless. If you are frustrated about something and you write it down, chances are that you’ll calm down and forget all about it.
Another benefit of writing is that it can help you reflect. If you write down one or two thoughts every morning or evening and read your stuff once a week, you might find a pattern or an issue, something you should do or shouldn’t do. Once you address that particular something, it will give you peace of mind. Jotting down stuff at the end of the day can also help you relax and get ready for a good night’s rest.
Writing daily prompts
One of the best ways to make a daily habit out of writing, is using daily prompts. A daily prompt is a short story about a random subject. This has to advantages: it helps to create a habit and it gets your brain juices flowing, especially when you do it first thing in the morning. If you get to work after that, your brain already got its warming-up.
You don’t even have to come up with all the topics yourself; online you can find numerous lists of topics, or newsletters to subscribe to. One of the lists I like is the 365 Days of Writing Prompts list (pdf).
How can I turn writing into a habit?
Lately, I really started to realize how important it is to write. I’ve been doing it a lot more, but it’s not yet a habit. I have tried a few things, but didn’t find anything that really stuck until now. I think writing the Daily Prompts is a great idea, so I’ll print out the 365 Days-list. I also noticed that it included a couple of great blogging topics, so working with that would be efficient as well. However, I’ll also keep my Happiness Planner at hand, to scribble down some tiny tidbits before I go to sleep.
For this week, I’ll focus on jotting down little bits and pieces for the book proposal I’m working on. I’m on a deadline, so that should be enough motivation!
Do you write every day?