Getting Into A Habit

If you’ve followed my latest posts, you might have noticed that I’ve changed up how I both write and edit. I do both more regularly now, trying to do a little bit every day. I used to set aside evenings, several hours for every session where I would sit down and write, and I realized that while that works fine, having a regular schedule is much better. (Though I still firmly believe, that you don’t have to write every day.)

I’ve also changed when I write. Like I said, I used to do evenings, after work, trying to cram it in between going to the gym, hanging out with friends, and doing every other thing that life demands of me.

Thing is, I was never a morning person. In the last 15 years I’ve hardly ever even eaten breakfast, I’m the guy who woke up, got dressed and headed for work.

But I’ve changed that now. Now I get up early, get ready for work, have a meal, and then sit down to write for at least half an hour (or edit, depending on where I am in my process). You see, I can get at least 1000 words in in half an hour, when I’m drafting. Sure, it might not be as much as I could have written if I set aside 4 hours in the evening, but then again, I’m not spending that amount of time. (And also, to be honest, sometimes 4 hours in the evening wasn’t very productive at all.)

By using just half an hour every morning, I can write 30k words in a month (and usually it becomes more than that anyway). It’s groundbreaking for me. It’s turned my whole life around.

And that’s kind of what I wanted to talk about, because this isn’t just about writing. I’ve realized that by doing this, by changing my habits, I’ve accidentally sorted much of my life out. To wake up earlier, I go to bed earlier, and I sleep much better. I used to have very bad sleeping habits, due to having random bouts of insomnia, but this is slowly improving.

I also have less things to stress with in the afternoon. Coming home from work, knowing I’ve done at least the minimum of daily writing I aim to achieve, is such a stress reliever. That means the only other thing I have to do after work is go to the gym. So if my day gets really fucked up, or if I suddenly have to do something unscheduled, I’m only messing up at least one thing (and then again, you can always fit a gym session in).

It’s also given me a whole lot more spare time. When I come home from the gym, which is usually the early evening, I can do whatever I want. Of course, I can write if I want to. If I feel like I’m on a roll and want to carry on, what’s stopping me? Nothing. And this happens sometimes, but I’ve noticed I’m quite happy with my doing only my daily morning writing. The consistency, and the fact that I don’t try to push it, I think keeps me motivated. It keeps me coming back each morning, knowing that if I just do this, I’ve achieved a daily goal. It’s very motivating, and it works! Like I said, 30k in a month, and that’s the minimum. But with all this free time in the evening, I have more time for other things, like reading, plotting future stories. Of course, I love writing, but there’s many other things that occupy me, like playing and writing music, hiking, going out with friends, or watching a movie.

I’ve always said that it’s important to test your habits, even if your happy with them. Change them up, see what could be different. Who knows, you might just change your whole life.

Again, I was never a morning person. I’ve always been very much of a night owl. When I went to university, I wrote all my essays through the night. Well, I’ve been converted. Morning writing rules!

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