3 Steps to Developing that New Writing Habit

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Based Crystal’s post, I’m not the only one trying to establish new writing habits. How I go about doing it will be different after seeing Christine Carter’s TED Talk, The 1-minute Secret to Forming a New Habit. Carter, a life coach, helps high achievers set leadership goals. 

In her talk, she admitted how grandly she failed at her goals to reestablish her running habit. Early in the pandemic, she spent a week creating a detailed plan to train for a half-marathon but stuck with it for only a few weeks. She had failed at her key point in forming a new habit which is our … 

Step 1. Pick something simple you can do every day. 

As Carter explained, you need to pick something easy you can achieve in one minute. Once she flopped at training for the half-marathon, she set an attainable goal. Run for 1 minute. 

If you are trying to set a daily writing habit, this is the perfect type of goal. Write for 1 minute. Every day, sit down at your desk or stand at your kitchen counter. Honestly, it doesn’t really matter where you do it. Wear flannel pajama pants. No one here is worried about that. 

Write for 1 minute. You may not get much done but it is better than nothing. 

Step 2. Do it day after day. 

Writing for one minute takes very little time and very little effort. You can do it while your coffee is dripping into your cup. It may not seem like much but as you do it day in and day out you are building a habit. Pretty soon, you’ll be doing it on autopilot. Push the button on the Keurig. Write for a minute. 

Even when you don’t feel like it, you can do this. It is, after all, next to nothing. 

One minute every day, Carter built a habit as she ran for only 60 seconds. You will do the same if you write for 1 minute.  

Step 3. Look for the urge to do a little more. 

If the one minute goal feels like all you can manage, stick with it. But when you have the urge to do more, write for 5 or even 15 minutes. When you feel like you need to do more to satisfy the writing itch, that’s when you have established your habit. Carter failed to train for a half marathon but now runs for 15 minutes a day. 

Daily writing may not be your issue. Maybe your email is out of control. Or you write but never submit your work. What can you do with a minute? While your coffee brews, see how many e-mails you can delete. One minute at a time you can develop the habit to reduce what’s lingering in your inbox. Or you might start keeping a list of agents or publishers whose interests are similar to your own. 

One minute at a time. It isn’t much, but it is better than nothing. What habit can you form drip by drip?


Sue Bradford Edwards' is the author of over 27 books for young readers.  To find out more about her writing, visit her site and blog, One Writer's Journey.

Sue is also the instructor for  Research: Prepping to Write Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults (next session begins February 1, 2021) and Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults (next session begins February 1, 2021). 


Cathy C. Hall said...

I'm a firm believer in this methodology, Sue, and apply it to those onerous tasks that get away from me...like cleaning up my inbox.

I write "Inbox cleaning" on my Things to Do list in January and spend at least 15 minutes every day doing that. And it works... until I forget to write "Inbox cleaning" on my list. Which is why I have to do this chore EVERY January! :-)

Margo Dill said...

I like this--I have never heard of it broken down in one minute intervals, but why not? You can do anything for a minute--even running...

Jeanine DeHoney said...

Sue, these steps are great ways for any writer to achieve their goals. I especially like step number one.

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Let's just say that there is a reason I listed e-mail. I'm doing okay but when I have a big deadline? Wow.

This was new to me too! But like Carter I have a tendency to think "go big or go home."

Step 1 is definitely essential!

Sioux Roslawski said...


So, could I say to myself, 'Resist chocolate for one minute' and when the minute is over, could I repeat it... and then keep repeating it all day, until I fall asleep? Would that help me form a habit?

I think I'll have a piece of fudge and think about it...

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Yeah, I have no clue on that one. Chocolate is pretty much my kryptonite.

Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top