Warning: Writing may be habit forming

If you’re anything like me, you probably don’t undertake much without putting in a little research, from trying out that new coffee roast to waking up one day and deciding today is the day you’re going to learn Tibetan Throat Singing. When I decided I wanted to do more than write casually, one of the first things I researched was how to form habits. It ought to be easy, right? Conventional wisdom says it takes just 21 days. That’s less than a month!

Not so fast. As it turns out, conventional wisdom isn’t all that conventional, and the 21 day quote is just like the grapefruit diet. It promises much while delivering little. According to research conducted in 2010, it takes closer to 66 days to form a habit, and that’s only on average.  How long might it take for something way more complex than drinking more water or taking a daily multivitamin, and if the former are often too much, what chance do I have with this? It’s a daunting thought.

Like almost any large undertaking, I’m finding that breaking it into pieces is working better than trying to swallow it whole. Getting a web presence, stepping out of my comfort zone, committing to a certain amount of writing, editing, or market research per day, and maintaining a blog are all pieces of the greater whole. One piece of advice in starting a new habit is being vocal with intentions.

So here it is. I commit to one blog post per week, one personal post followed by three writing exercises. For now I’ll be working from The Writer’s Block by Jason Rekulak. If that changes, I’ll let you know. I invite you to write along at home and talk about your results. Another great way to make a habit stick is to make it social.

Let’s do this!

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