If you do something at the same time every single day, you tend to make a habit of it. Therefore, we can all create a habit of writing. Initially, we may not believe that ideas come when they come and they don’t necessarily come at five o’clock in the morning every day just because we say, “Okay, it’s time to write now.” But the more you get yourself into the habit of getting in front of your computer at the same time every single day, it really does signal to your brain it is time to write.
Habit stacking is when we add a habit to something we already routinely do. We all brush our teeth every day. A lot of us have coffee every single morning when we get up. We have daily and even weekly routines. The human brain loves patterns and routines. But let me address the elephant in the room: the stereotype of the creative person who hates routine and loves adventure. I say this about myself too. I know I buck routine as much as I possibly can. Don’t make me do the same thing over and over and over again! But in reality, when I look at my life, I have many daily and weekly habits.
How to create a morning writing ritual
Scientifically, we are most creative in the morning. Let’s imagine you want to add writing to your packed life. You have a day job from nine to five, kids, and a household to run. Where else can you fit in writing? How about the 5 AM Club? You plan to get up at five o’clock in the morning every weekday and write for an hour before everyone else gets up.
As an aside, I have a friend who did that. She was a single mom, worked full-time for the government, wrote a complete novel, and had it published by a traditional publisher by writing first thing in the morning every day.
What you have to do is create the habit of getting up at 5 AM every morning before you even start writing. First, you want to create a habit of actually getting up at five in the morning. You set your alarm, and you get up and sit on the side of your bed. You don’t write. You just sit on the side of your bed. Then you create the habit of getting up, moving to the living room and sitting on the couch instead of beside your bed. Do that for about a week. Then you get up, and you sit at your computer.
You don’t write. You also DO NOT go on social media because that addictive beast will derail your new habit. Just watch a video or listen to a podcast. Do that for a week. And then, once you’ve been getting up every day at five o’clock in the morning, making it to your computer every day, you start writing. Don’t expect to be super productive the first time you start doing it. But you will eventually create that routine of getting up in the morning and writing every day.
With this new habit, you are going to finish your book! It does happen. I promise people actually finish writing their books. Trust me.
What is your writing routine? When is it that you find that you’ve got the most brilliant thoughts? We all get ideas in the shower and as we’re falling asleep at night. I wrote my first book when my kids were very tiny, and it was during afternoon nap time that I had time to write. Still, to this day, that is my most productive time of day — between one and three in the afternoon. When is your most productive time of day? When do you like to write?
Thanks for the reminder Tammy. I’m excited about starting this routine with a new purpose. Ties nicely into my new school year as well. Now I just need to set up the evening routine of going to bed earlier so I don’t lose the restful sleep.