010615_writing_habitWhile others pledge to get physically fit in 2015, let’s resolve to build our writing muscles. Here’s how to develop a daily writing habit.

As a novice freelancer, I toyed around with writing. I wrote sporadically, only when working on a paying project. When I decided to devote myself to this profession with the same passion I’d given to nursing, I developed a daily writing habit that changed my life. I went from earning a modest living to making nearly six figures. Was the transformation due solely to daily writing? Of course not. But writing every day certainly helped me commit to my profession and amped up my creativity. Daily writing will help you, too.

The following suggestions are intended to function as a smorgasbord to help you strengthen your writing muscles. Pick one or more of these techniques and give them a whirl.

Start with Morning Pages

I’m a devotee of Morning Pages. The purpose of this exercise, created by Julia Cameron, is to clear all the negative junk out of your head space so you can unblock your creativity. You can read exactly how to perform this exercise at Julia’s site. Every morning I drink coffee and write Morning Pages. It’s an essential part of my routine.

What do you do with your Morning Pages each day when you finish? Julia says you should never look at them again. She keeps all of hers, notebook upon notebook. I shred mine immediately. I feel a great sense of power and satisfaction when I rip those three pages from the spiral binding and feed them through the shredder blades.

Write creatively each day

010615_pull_quote_ehanesrnI challenge you to find 10 to 30 minutes per day to craft a creative composition. It can take the form of prose, poetry, verbal sketches – anything you want. But it should be creative in the sense it evokes emotion. I think of this as ‘painting with words.’ Pledge to create a word painting every day in 2015.

Write a set number of words every day

This technique works well for fiction writers, but it can work for us non-fic folks, too. Let’s say you’re working on a non-fiction book. Pledge to commit a certain number of words to paper each day in order to advance toward your goal. Don’t leave the chair until you’ve met your minimum. You can even combine this technique with the one above for more oomph.

Keep a journal

Different from Morning Pages, a journal is meant to express your feelings, thoughts and moods in a format you can revisit. You can write your journal at any time, though many people choose to write it just before bed, as a reflection on the day. You can keep a general ‘diary’ or a themed journal, such as a gratitude journal.

And that, my nurse writer friends, is how to build your writing muscles by developing a daily writing habit. What does your daily writing workout look like? Tell me in the comments!

Wishing you well,

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