Getting into the Writing Groove

Around three years old, I started tagging along to my older sibling’s writing club. At the time, I could barely sit still long enough to listen to a good story, let alone write one myself. However, when I reached kindergarten, I started submitting my own simple pieces, and it was there, at this writing club, that I first fell in love with writing.

When it came time to pick a college major, the decision was pretty simple: I would study English, and dedicate four years to finding my voice and improving my writing chops. After graduation, I raised money to support my first non-fiction book, and I finally finished the first draft of In a Hero’s Steps this week. I also keep up a personal blog, edit a Medium publication, and write marketing content and technical documents for several startup clients.

Recently, one of my friends asked me if I could share some tips on how to make writing a habit.

Below are four helpful tips that have helped me write at least twice a week.

Get Inspired

If you don’t write very often (or haven’t in awhile), there is nothing more daunting than sitting down to a blank page. Even if you do write consistently, the hardest part of writing is always getting started. Whenever I feel stuck, I like to listen to my two favorite Ted Talks that are shared below. Once I feel inspired, I can hardly get my words down fast enough.

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Source Topics

Many people struggle to come up with things to write about. If you find yourself in this position, I would suggest looking through articles on Medium and writing responses or publishing your own pieces on the same topics. You can also sign up for services like One Month Writing Prompts to have new prompts sent to your email address, and there are great books out there like 642 Things to Write About. If none of these sources resonate with you, try spending some time brainstorming what kind of topics you enjoy writing about. Personally, I write a lot of reflection pieces based on my real life while I have other friends who enjoy writing movie reviews and tech articles. Bottom line, find what is interesting to you and write down any ideas you have so that you can go back to them later.

Build Community

Surrounding yourself with other writers can be really valuable. Writing is a lonely business, and only other writers will understand the highs and lows you will go through as you try to make this into a habit. It’s important to know that you are not alone when you find yourself feeling burnt out or struggling with writer’s block. You also want to have other people in your life who will appreciate and celebrate your victories with you. If you know other writers, I would suggest reaching out to them, reading their work, offering feedback, and asking them to do the same in return. You can also follow your favorite authors on social platforms, join writing clubs in your city, or sign up for a writing workshop. All of these will help you build community, stay accountable, and make writing a habit.

Publish & Promote

Writing is already a lonely business/hobby so don’t make it worse for yourself by keeping your work hidden. If you are serious about wanting to develop a writing habit, start publishing your work on a personal blog or Medium, at the very least. After you publish, share the link on your social platforms and tell your friends about what you’ve been working on. There’s nothing more encouraging than one of your friends (or even family members) telling you that they loved your post. That high alone will motivate you to write your next post. And even if you don’t get positive feedback right away, keep pushing forward. Writing takes practice and the only way to get better is to write more.

You must write throughout the whole of your intellectual life.”
-A.G. Sertillanges


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