I started last year writing and I still feel like something new for myself. I still have a lot of insecurities in my writing and also a lot of mistakes, but I still do it because it’s something that I love to do; Plus like people said: “practice makes perfect“.
I have tried many ways to get my writing done, I have even taken a course on this, and I was still finding myself struggling with this.
So one day I decide to apply what I have learned in the book of Charles Duhigg “ The Power of Habit”.
As most of us know habits are formed in 3 different steps 1- the cue. 2- the routine an 3- the reward.
Most of our day’s work just like that, we may not always notice it, but we are creatures of habits.
There are goods and bad habits.
A good example, is what happen to me a couple of months ago, Until I become aware of this and make changes; Every night after work while I was driving home, I religiously just to make a stop at Mc Donalds, and order the same thing, a Mc chicken with spicy sauce, fries with extra salt, a coke and a chocolate sundae. This was my dinner 5 days a week for almost 7 months until I start to notice that I was gaining so much weight, so I decide to change and lose some weight. I struggle a lot and I couldn’t do it until I found out the reason why I couldn’t stop eating Mc Donald every night.
So I decided to find what was the real reason behind my craving because it wasn’t just hunger it was something else that was triggering this.
This is what I found:
That every day an hour before I leave my job I was writing an reading emails and as you may know dealing with customers its not always pleasant depending on the situation, this cause a lot stress, so when I just to leave the office I was already stress and with a lot dark clouds in my mind, and for some strange reason my mind start seen food as a way to reduce stress, but not any kind of food, it has to be Mc Donals, to make thing worse there were 2 Mc Donals on my way home, so even if that day I was trying to avoid the temptation there was always a trigger.
So as you can see this its pretty simple Stress (cue) driving to Mc Donalds (routine) the feeling that came after the meal (Rewards).
Now, how the hell did I change all of this?
Pretty Simple (cause most of the things are simpler than you think) 1- cause of stress (or cue), I start checking emails when I first got to the office and I stop with them 3 hours before leaving. 2- eating Mc Donald (routine), I change my route to a different one even though this makes me get home a couple of minutes late, but it was worth it; Another thing I did was to take a protein shake with me to drink it after I leave the office (chocolate flavor) 3. I start exercising after work (Rewards) and this allows me to release stress.
Now you may be thinking how in the words this has to do with writing?
Here is your answer:
Like I mention before there are good habits and bad habits; so if you would apply this same characteristic to your writing how would you do it?
First, in order to create a routine, you need to find your cue, because if we have something clear is that the reward and the ultimate goal is to finish your article or the book that you are trying to get done.
Feel free to try it and if doesn’t work for you, just adjust it to your best.
This how I do it:
I love coffee and I have to take it every morning, so instead of just drinking the coffee for the pleasure, I used it to my advantage; Which is, every day that I finish my morning routine, I’ll go straight to my kitchen and I serve myself a cup of coffee then I walk to my home office, sat on my computer, I open a word page and I Start writing. This may seem simple, but this has allowed me to wire having coffee with writing by following Charles Duhigg explanation in his book.
Coffee it’s the cue what it follows after that it’s the habit, and of course, the reward is the feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day.
For you maybe something different a cup of Tea, Water or whatever you decide to drink, but the whole point is this, create a daily habit for your writing put yourself in the zone, by blocking the time, this work in all the areas of your life, not just in writing whatever you are trying to accomplish start small and build a habit around it, this will allow you to accomplish anything in an easier way, sometimes you won’t even noticed how much you have accomplished until you look back at the end of the day.