Sticking to a daily writing habit is made more challenging by the fact that our lives are ever-changing. Perhaps you’ve welcomed a new addition to your family, started a new job or experienced some other change to your day-to-day responsibilities that has disrupted that writing schedule that had previously been working for you. As the WriteOwls gear up for our third annual Write-by-Midnight challenge, we invite you to spend the upcoming week re-evaluating your writing needs.
If you’re new to the WriteOwls community, Write by Midnight is a February write-a-thon aimed at developing a personalized writing routine that can be maintained for the rest of the year. We commit to writing each day in February, no matter what. Though each person will have different goals for the month, success is measured by getting words on the page before the clock ticks over to midnight. The ultimate goal is establishing a sustainable, daily writing habit.
Keeping a time diary or log is an exercise we’ve encouraged in the past that is worth revisiting this week. The goal is to write down everything you do – from brushing your teeth to commuting to cooking dinner to working on your manuscript – and how long it takes you to do it. One of the WriteOwls has recently taken up the practice of bullet journaling. So perhaps you’ll want to join her in seeing if this new trend in journaling can shed some light on how your days unfold. At the end of the week, analyze the data to see how much time it really takes you to accomplish certain tasks, identify how you’re wasting time and figure out where you might be able to squeeze in some writing.
In addition to your time log, we also encourage you to re-evaluate your current writing habits and goals. Perhaps you’ve moved on from writing a first draft of a novel to revising it. Maybe you’ve hit your stride and are writing more words in a single writing session than you were previously, or maybe you’ve hit a wall. Do you write best first thing in the morning when you previously made progress after everyone else had gone to bed? Now is the time to once again track how much you write, how long it takes you, and when and where you felt most productive. By the end of the week, you’ll be armed with more detailed information to help you figure out how you need to adjust your writing schedule to better reflect your current writing needs.