How to Develop a Daily Writing Habit in 2021

February 14, 2021

Ever since I started getting noticed for writing consistently on my blog, people have reached out asking this question: “How do I start writing on my blog?”.

Almost always, the focus and energy is spent at the wrong places.

Here are some of those wrong places:

  • What did you use to create your blog?
  • Should I use Medium or Substack, or should I code my own blog?
  • Should I start a newsletter?

There are another set of questions which again aren’t the right place to spend your energy.

  • There’s already a lot of content about the things I know. Should I be writing about the same thing?
  • What should I write about? I feel like I don’t have anything valuable to share.
  • What if I write gibberish?
  • What if nobody reads my blogs?

I’d like to point you towards the most important question of all. It’s the one question that rules them all.

-> Did you write today?

If the answer is no, then the entire purpose is lost. Nothing else really matters except that you write.

What exactly you write about, who reads your writing, how good your writing is, where your writing is published or hosted. All of these aspects don't even exist unless you do the first step - write.

In this post, we are going to focus all our energy on the first step, i.e how to get into and establish a writing habit.

Why should you write?

Before we proceed further, we need to remove the biggest obstacle in your writing journey. It’s knowing the why of what you’re doing.

You can’t cultivate a consistent writing habit if you don’t know why you are doing it, or why anyone should be doing it.

It’s a deeply philosophical exploration of the why of writing. I’ve covered it in a separate blog post.

-> Why you should write

Read the first section titled “Reasons to write” and continue reading from here once you are done.

To summarise:

  • Write for yourself, because you want to express your thoughts. Nobody else can do that except you.
  • Write because the process of creating, the creativity released from writing, gives you joy.
  • Write to become a creator, not just a consumer.
  • Write to participate in the giant interconnected web that spans all humans and to become a valuable node in this interweb.

You can write anywhere.

Write on a piece of napkin or in your notebook or a notes app (I’m writing this on Apple Notes) or on a whiteboard or the walls of your room (don’t, people might draw incorrect conclusions about your state of mind).

Write using a typewriter. Or maybe a blank sheet of paper. Write while you’re sitting in a coffee shop, or a restaurant, or bar, or the balcony of your home, or the dining table, or your bed, or the floor (don’t try the floor, it gets uncomfortable).

Write wherever you can. It doesn’t matter where, as long as you fulfil the most important question - Did you write today?

You can write about anything.

See the sun rising (it actually is, I’m seeing it from my seating position near the balcony)? Write about the glory of the sun rising everyday and how it powers every single organism and non-living energy source on this planet.

Did your cat or dog wake you up and shower you with licks and an overdose of love right in the morning? Write about how giving pets are in their love and how they make our lives better.

Did you argue with your friend yesterday about something meaningless? Write about the meaninglessness of arguments and how productive, judgement-free discussions is the way to derive something meaningful out of a conversation.

Did you face a challenge at work last week that you overcame? Describe the challenge you faced, how you overcame it, and the steps that someone else facing the same challenge can take to overcome it.

Did you recently take up a new hobby or practice? Started exercising regularly, or perhaps cooking new recipes. Perhaps you learnt to dance (one of my life goals) or paint (another). Perhaps you learnt how to play the guitar. Write about the importance of exercise, why it became important to you, how you got into a daily practice, and why others should do it too. Or talk about your fascination with dance or guitar, why it’s attractive to you, what makes you happy about it, and how your life is better from learning the art.

I can go on, but by now you should be seeing my point.

You can write about anything.

The important question is - Did you write today?

Why will anyone read what I write?

This is a valid question, but only because you don’t understand the larger picture yet.

Picture this - you visit the grocery store near your home every week. One day, you move to a new city or neighbourhood. You visit the grocery store near your new home every week.

What just happened?

Why would anyone open a new grocery store where there already is one?

It’s simple. You can’t travel back to the previous grocery store every time you need to buy something. You need one that is physically closer to you. That is within your vicinity. That is within your reach. Someone started a grocery store around your new home to fulfil this need.

The same way people visit different grocery stores depending on where they are, is the reason people will read what you write.

Didn’t get it yet? Let’s go a bit deeper. Hold on, this gets meta.

There’s countless articles about how to write a blog, how to get into or establish a writing habit.

And yet here I am writing about it.

Also, here you are reading about it!

Did you get it?

There’s enough people in the world who want to know about X. There’s already content about X. But not everyone in the world will read that same piece of content. Some people will read from you, because they know you.

If you’ve grasped this correctly, then you should now realise that you can technically write about anything. As long as that’s something people want to know and learn about.

Once again, it all boils down to the one question - Did you write today?

Why you should write everyday

In my guide to creating new habits, I talked about how habits are formed in the brain.

The summary is - your brain is an efficient computer that observes when you’re trying to perform an activity repeatedly and tries to make it easy to do more of it. The more often you perform this activity, the faster the brain’s efficiency mechanisms kick in, and the faster you form what we call a habit or routine around that activity.

That’s what you want to achieve with your writing practice.

You want to create a strong habit where you write consistently. And planning for once a week when you are getting started leaves too much room for failure. Trying to write multiple times a day means you won’t be able to do anything else.

The only answer is - Write everyday.

Writing everyday is how this blog came into existence. I wrote 25 posts in 25 days, and that became the foundation of this writing habit which I hold so dearly today.

How to make yourself write everyday

Set a time of the day where you have the highest likelihood of success.

For me, it’s the first thing after waking up in the morning. Here’s my exact process.

The previous night, I open Apple Notes and my WhatsApp group to glance at the topics that are already in my mind. These are potential topics I could write about.

I leave my notes app open, and keep the computer in a ready-to-write state.

When I wake up in the morning, I grab a cup of black coffee, sit down in front of my computer, play anything from my Lofi, Chillhop playlist on YouTube, and I begin writing.

Write 200 words a day

It’s not a hard limit, you can write 1000 if you feel like it. But make the goal to hit just 200 words a day.

It’s an easy enough target, and if you achieve it, you’ll feel good. Chances are, you won’t stop at 200 and continue.

But by lowering the goal post, you make it easier for you to achieve the larger goal, which is to write.

How to find topics to write about

Earlier in this post, I demonstrated to you how you can literally write about anything, and there’s topics for writing all around you.

Here are a few easy places to find writing ideas:

  • What made you feel inspired recently?
  • What thought-provoking concept or idea did you come across recently (how you came across it is secondary)?
  • What was an interesting conversation you had with a friend or colleague in the last week?
  • What was an interesting personal challenge that you solved (or are trying to solve, talk about how you’re going to do it) recently?
  • What was an interesting professional or work challenge you tackled in the last few days?
  • What are the Google searches you made recently? Remove the *ahem* ones and see if any of those might be interesting to write or read about.

Here's another way of looking at and coming up with writing ideas:

  • Write about things you dream of.
  • Write about things you plan to do.
  • Write about things you’re currently doing.
  • Write about things you’ve already done.
  • Write about literally anything.

Write.

What if you write gibberish?

I write gibberish every time.

What? You think this blog just came out well? No! The first iteration was garbage. I tried writing this post last week and thought “nope, this is literally dumpster fire.”

What’s important is for you to know - it’s okay if you write gibberish.

Every time you write, you’re not going to produce a master piece.

But, if you don’t write regularly and for long enough, you’re never going to produce a master piece.

Write, even if it’s gibberish. Come back to the same piece again the next day or after a few days. Write it again from scratch.

Chances are, your brain subconsciously organised your thoughts around the topic and you might just write that master piece this time.

Hitting publish is optional

Does sharing your work give you anxiety? Do you need your work to be a certain level of quality before you’re ready to hit publish?

That’s perfectly fine. But you can’t write completely in isolation.

Writing in isolation is essentially writing a diary. Writing a diary is perfectly fine, but if your objective was to start a blog and share your words, then you need someone to read your words.

Someone can be just 1 person. A person you trust, someone who will give you real feedback without judgement, someone whom you are okay sharing even gibberish with.

It could be your partner, a close friend, a sibling or family member, or someone else you know who has gone through a similar journey.

Whoever that person is in your life, rope them in and share your words with them. Even if it’s gibberish, even if it’s just 200 words.

Over time, as you start to feel more confident about your writings, start sharing it with the rest of the world.

Where should I publish my writings?

There’s many different avenues for publishing your words. So let me narrow it down for you.

1. Write without creating a website

  • Medium
  • Substack
  • Twitter (as threads)

Pick any, it’s fine and it doesn’t matter. Do eenie meenie miney mo and pick whichever. I’m not kidding.

The only objective is to write.

2. Write on your own website

There’s dozens of website builders, but honestly nothing comes close to Webflow.

My blog is built using Webflow and if I had to do it again, I'd make the same choice.

Write something everyday. Write something now

You’ve just read a long-ass post by me. If you've made it till here, congrats and thank you for reading!

But really, if my words had an actual impact on your mind, then you'll turn that impact into action by following these steps:

  • Close this browser tab (in fact quit your entire web browser).
  • Open any notes app. Apple Notes on Mac, or the Notepad on Windows.
  • Write about anything, just 200 words will do, right now.

See ya!

--

P.S. Check out this Simple Habit Tracker that I built using Google Sheets. Writing is a habit, and my habit tracker can help you in cultivating this new practice into your life.

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