Writing is a vital personal expression—a way to both share who you are with the world, and to delve deeper into your own psyche.
Congrats! You want to start a daily writing practice. Excellent. Writing is a vital personal expression—a way to both share who you are with the world, and to delve deeper into your own psyche. Expressive writing has even been studied as a way to promote mental health. But writing every day is easier said than done. For this week’s Healthy Habits, let’s look at some ways to tailor a writing habit in a way so that it is most personal to you. That way, a daily writing practice becomes a source of true nourishment, rather than a goal that must be met.
- Choose the implement. Some people love the feel of leather journals and ink pens, while others favor working from a laptop or desktop computer. I recently read that some wordsmiths turn to a basic, old-school word processor called an Alphasmart, because they find it less distracting than a computer. Maybe you even enjoy the satisfactory clacking sounds of a typewriter and want to recreate that on your iPad; yep, there’s an app for that. Try Hanx Writer.
- Choose the spot. Are you an inside cat or an outside cat? Some people can only focus on their writing if there’s a lively buzz around them. They need to write in settings like coffee shops or libraries. Others prefer the sanctitude of their home, and a private nook or dining room table is more their speed.
- Choose your time. Do you write at 5 a.m., sipping piping hot tea while the house is still quiet? Or are you a night owl, tapping happily away after hours? Some research suggests that it’s best to write first thing in the morning, when your willpower is strong, while others insist they are more creative at night, when they work through some of the day’s stresses. Regardless of time of day, aim for 10 minutes of writing session per day to build your writing muscles, and work your way up.
- Choose your audience. Are you writing a blog? A children’s story for your grandkids? Penning a poem to share at your weekly author’s group? Or perhaps this writing is to be kept closer, more private. That’s fine, too.
- Choose to let go. “The first draft of anything is #$%.” –Ernest Hemingway. This quote is vital to all writers, but particularly new ones, because it’s so liberating. Free yourself from inner criticism. Rather than laboring over each sentence, let the words out without judgment. Trust that you can make them better on your second draft. In the meantime, go fast and free. Relax. Write.
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