“Habits are first cobwebs, then cables.” – Spanish proverb
For as long as I can remember I thought it took 21 days to make a habit. I was wrong! Research now says that it takes an average of 66 days to create a habit. Here’s the link to James Clear’s summary of a recent study in the art of habit building. Clear states: “if you want to set your expectations appropriately, the truth is that it will probably take you anywhere from two months to eight months to build a new behavior into your life — not 21 days. Interestingly, the researchers also found that “missing one opportunity to perform the behavior did not materially affect the habit formation process.” In other words, it doesn’t matter if you mess up every now and then. Building better habits is not an all-or-nothing process.”
I must admit that I found that last bit inspiring. Knowing that the whole process will likely take a lot longer than I expected and that total perfection isn’t compulsory actually gives me more hope. I do, however, recognize that 66 days is a long haul, and it’s a long haul when you’re on your own.
To help writers develop that daily writing habit, I’m working on a supplement to my new book, Writing Prompts and More. When it is published (with luck by the end of the month, but likely mid-July) I’ll also be offering for sale a self-directed habit builder with 66 days of 10-minute, daily, writing prompts. Stephen Guise, author of Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results is convinced that mini-habits are the way to build lifetime habits–and I agree with him. That’s why my habit builder is designed to encourage writers to get a little writing done every day. Often, as Guise describes, once you’ve checked your mini-habit task off the list for the day you’ll find that you will extend the task with more energy and motivation than you had at the beginning. That’s great news for writers.
For writers that need a bit more encouragement, I’m also working on a product that will include the 66 days of prompts, but also the opportunity to hear from me every 8 days. Every eighth day, the writing prompt will encourage you to reflect on your process, your writing, your current project. You will send that reflection to me, and I will reply commenting and encouraging you to stick with it. These are personal emails, not generic auto-responds. I know how challenging this can be, and I want to be your best cheerleader. A third level of the product will include 3 critiques of your writing (500 words max) to help you get past a trouble spot, clarify questions, and help you with character, plot, dialogue, description, etc. If you want to learn more about these packages and get links to other helpful writing tips, please sign up for my mailing list in the box on the right.
Soon, I’ll be making a couple of changes to the website to be more inclusive of writers of all ages and adding a Wright With You tab that will hold information on my habit building programs. I’m very excited about this and must thank my friend, Karalee, for inspiring me to develop this material.
Looking further down the road, I was very happy to be asked to host a NaNoWriMo series of 6 workshops for young writers at my local library. I’ve decided to sign up for NaNo, too, this year and write along with my young writers. I’m really looking forward to the first workshop at the end of October! If you’re a young writer or know one, check out the young writers’ program and NaNoWriMo. The website has links to great writing resources and how-tos.
Hope the rest of you Friday goes well and that you have a writerly weekend ahead!