Make Writing a Habit: How to Find Balance and Write Routinely

By: Cathryn Lavery on Unsplash.com

“Balance is incredibly hard to maintain with our ever-changing lives, but it something I’ve struggled with much more than I’d like. I didn’t know how to be consistent, and I knew that was the first thing I had to change. Ask yourself this: how much time are you giving to the things you care the most about? Are you readily making time for the tasks and to-dos that will progress your work? Or are you letting it slip through your fingers, letting it collect dust in the back of your mind because there’s just not enough hours in a day? I’m here to say that I’ve felt like that more often than I’d like to admit, but I’ve successfully found ways to incorporate writing into my daily routine (because that is what I really want to be doing) in a way that has certainly benefited me in the long run.”

BALANCE IS AN INTERESTING CONCEPT 

“Time and balance the two most difficult things to have control over, yet they are both the things that we do control.” Catherine Pulsifer

Balance is something a lot of us strive for every single day, but there are times it can simply feel unachievable. What’s important is that you realize what balance means to you, because it very well can mean different things to different people. For a long time I was convinced that the only way I was going to be productive on a given day was to have a stressful schedule where I struggled to get just about anything done (and not much came from this). It wasn’t until I sat myself down, asking myself why I had been feeling overwhelmed from the time I woke up, to the time I went to bed. The problem had been that I was trying to tell myself that I needed to dive off the deep end when it came to my work – and there would be no room for error. This was my first mistake.

I started to understand that filling my calendar with insignificant to-dos wasn’t keeping me productive. It wasn’t getting me out of bed any faster, nor was it keeping me productive in any way. So, that’s when I decided that it was time for a change. I was absolutely tired of not being productive because I knew how happy writing made me, I knew how happy getting work done made me. Now that I had decided it was time to begin anew, I just didn’t know how to start revamping my work/creative schedule.

IT BEGAN WITH REFLECTION

I cracked open a new journal, ready with a pen to simply write about what wasn’t working in my routine, what I wanted to fix, and most importantly – the kind of lifestyle I actually want to live. There are times that we can get a bit caught up with the way in which other people live their lives, that we forget that not everything is going to work for us. Sure, I did spend a lot of my times looking into how other people spent their productive work sessions, but it was only so that I could try a few things out for myself. I started with trying to write a certain amount of words within a given time frame, and that didn’t seem to work for me. So, I decided that I would instead give myself enough time at the beginning of my work session to reflect on everything that may be swimming around in my mind, so that I would have a clear head to begin. Then, I’d give myself at least an hour to complete my writing session, whether half of it would be spent brainstorming, the whole session brainstorming, half of it writing, or the entire session writing, I knew that I was finally getting somewhere.

LIKE ANY HABIT, IT TAKES DEDICATION AND DETERMINATION

I didn’t realize how much effort it took to be productive – until I actually started being productive. I was so sure that I could work for about two hours a day and that would be that, but that’s not the case. When we’re trying to achieve something, implementing that habit into our routine in small doses can work at first, but it’s important to continue to expand on that as time goes on. When I decided to make writing a part of my daily routine, I was only writing for about fifteen minutes a day. Now, I’m writing, editing, and or researching for at least four-five hours a day whenever I can find the time. Usually, the time is dispersed throughout the day depending on how busy it is, but I can safely say that it is something that I look forward to doing on just about every single day.

If you’re trying to make writing a part of your daily routine, and you’re struggling to find balance, take the time to map out what your day may look like (especially on a few of the busiest) to really get a feel for where you can fit in a bit of writing time. If there’s one thing I’ve learned is that I sacrifice a lot of time to get my writing done, because that is what I prefer to do, but it is by no means necessary. Writing for four-five hours a day is not sustainable to some, and trust me I know that, because I’ve only just been able to make that happen. I’ve been waking up earlier, squeezing in a two-hour writing session in the morning, followed up by a mid-lunch writing session, and finishing up with an after work (relaxing) writing session. It is a fulfilling feeling, but it was just as fulfilling when I was only writing for fifteen minutes a day. Do what you can with your schedule, find the time to get a bit of writing done, and the urge will grow – as well as how good you’ll get at making sure it’s a part of your routine.

We all struggle to maintain balance in our lives, but it’s the effort to do more that keeps us going, that keeps us feeling like it is very much in reach. As I’ve said, balance means different things to different people, and it’s time you decide what your balanced life looks like. If writing is something you absolutely want to do, you’ll find the time – that I’m sure of.

Happy writing everyone and thank you for taking the time to read this blog post!

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