Why You Need a Daily Writing Habit as a Small Business Owner and How to Create One
Have you ever stared at a blank page feeling stupefied? Sitting there with a knot in your belly, not knowing how you'll manage to write the gazillion pages you have due yesterday?
I call this feeling the writing knot. It's paralyzing and it drains away the joy of being an entrepreneur.
You need to write to keep your business alive. And thriving.
Writing is the only method of clear communication you have. You can make videos, but you need to write scripts for them first, so yes, it's still writing.
And yes, a picture says 1000 words, but these words are open for interpretation. Do you want your readers to imagine your super clear inspiring message, or do you want to make absolutely sure they get it right?
Writing is where it all starts.
This is easy—why would a blogger and a one-woman-business need to write daily?
Because you need to write a lot.
Imagine you need to write two blog posts, 13 pages of copy for the landing page of your next product, a newsletter and 21 social media posts. And this is just the content for this week.
And you need to design all graphics.
And work on the product.
And you need to edit everything and make it look amazing.
Now imagine sitting down with all this in mind and writing something good once a week.
I know I buckle every time.
So I dedicated two hours of each day to writing.
I call it my writing biceps curls.
Writing is like a muscle—you need to use it and stretch it daily, so it can grow and serve you better and better each day.
THE THREE PHASES OF WRITING
Writing is a process. If you had any romantic notion about it, think again. It’s messy and it almost always stink at first.
I use writing as an umbrella term for three major phases:
Outlining is the rough sketch. Write down the key points you want to make, the headers and the wisdom you want to share.
Unfolding is the wild throwing of ideas towards a sheet of paper. The writing between the outlines. If it’s good it’ll stick, but don’t edit it just yet—get everything out of your beautiful brain first.
Editing is where things start to get interesting. One edit is almost never enough, sometimes you need 41. Or more. Don’t look for perfection, look for progress and then—greatness.
I’ve heard the best time to write is in early in the morning. But that's a personal choice. If your mornings are too busy, or if the silence makes your brain all mushy, find another time.
The best time to do something is not when experts say you should do it, but when your schedule says you can.
So don't use the experts as an excuse—go do stuff on your own terms.
Remember: your life, your rules.
I am an afternoon writer. I like to do design work first. Once the dreamy haze of the early afternoon hits me, I sit down with a cup of tisane (I just found out, this is how herbal tea is called and I overuse the word shamelessly) and write away.
Now, go through your calendar and find one or two free hours and book the time for the whole week. It might seem obvious, but
to make something a daily habit, you need to make sure you always do it at the same time every day.
YOU NEED TO REPROGRAMME YOUR BRAIN
First, you need a trigger. For me this is sitting down with a tisane (oh, that word!) and ambient in my headphones. Also, I switch off the wi-fi so I'm not tempted to browse away my time.
Second, you need a reward. On top of having the satisfaction of having written one more blog post, promise yourself a 10 minutes cuddling break with your cat or dancing break with your dog.
Because I'm a reading junkie, my reward is time to read one chapter of whatever I want. But I've been known to screech my way through Demelza's song while hoovering. Quick tip: hoovering while singing is better for the neighbours.
Next, and this is very important, you need a plan.
You must know what you need to write next, or else you’ll daydream your time away. Make a list of all blog posts, website copy, product copy, video scripts, etc.
Schedule your writing time for the week and assign a writing topic to each session.
And finally, you need a timer. It's best to use something offline, so you can have an uninterrupted writing time.
HOW TO MAKE A DAILY WRITING HABIT NOW
1. Prepare your workplace. Close the doors, clean the desk, make yourself a cosy writing den.
2. Put a trigger in place. Make yourself a cup of tea, put library noise on, put your writers hat, if you wish.
3. Write. Open the files you want to write in and settle down. Do the work that you've planned for the day, without second guessing your schedule—now is not the time for that. Every time your brain gets distracted, gently remind it, it will be free to do whatever it wants in a little while.
4. Stop when your timer beeps. Save, close your files and adjust your writing schedule if needed.
5. Get your reward. Go hug the cat and scroll guilt free through Instagram for 10min, you deserved your break.
After a week adjust your writing times, trigger and reward, and schedule the next week. Repeat that weekly and you'll have your own little writing habit.
NOW I'D LIKE TO HEAR FROM YOU
Are you a morning writer or an afternoon writer? Do you struggle with your writing routine? Do you write daily or do you bulk write once a month? Let me know in the comments below.
Thank you for reading and stay creative!