Since August of 2013, I have been getting up around 5 a.m. to write. In reality what usually happens is my husband sticks a cup of coffee under my nose and whispers something like “Your book’s not going to write itself” or “I’ve got coffee; would you like it between your toes?” And I am up! Though often I begin the first few minutes writing with one eye open before the caffeine kicks in.
Lately, however, I have been thinking a lot about how to use more of my day writing, because I realize
that two hours, six mornings a week, is not going to be sufficient time for me to finish my novel. There is also the issue of carving out time to do research, something that is essential for any story.
Generally, unless a deadline is approaching, I will use my writing time to write, but then squander the rest of the day. Instead of doing research while my son is nursing, I use that as time to check email or sneak a peek at an online sale (or if I am really being honest, watch a show I missed online). Instead of writing while he is napping (be they short, but many), I do household chores.
I conclude that it is time to form a different habit.
Current research suggests that it takes at least 66 days to form a new habit, up from Dr. Maxwell Maltz’s belief that the magic number was 21 in the 1950’s. My routine of getting up early has become a habit and it only took about 284 days to establish. (Minus Saturdays—Saturday I sleep in!) Now, I am ready to take it up a notch.
So, over the course of the next few months I am going to employ the following writing routine in hopes that I will become a more productive writer.
Get up and write at 5 a.m.
Do research while my son is nursing
Write while he naps or is contently strapped into the baby carrier.(I can’t express in words how wonderful baby carriers are!)
Like my previous experiment, I am certain the factors of focus and daily priorities will pose a challenge as I work to make my new routine a habit. But, the time is now, as they say.
I invite you to join me by choosing a habit that you personally would like to form. Come July 20th, perhaps we all will have established a new and productive habit.
Cheers and write on!