If you’re having trouble establishing a writing habit, it may be because you don’t think of yourself as a full-fledged writer. This may sound silly, but start calling yourself a writer. Even if you’re not making that much yet, that doesn’t matter. If you write then you’re a writer.
I’ve been writing every day for several years, both as a full-time staff writer and as freelance on my own. Even when I was freelancing and working on my own site, I wasn’t making much at first, but I still considered myself a writer.
Identifying with the word “writer” is the first step to creating a writing habit that sticks. When we identify with a value we see in ourselves or that we want to see in ourselves. It gives our habits a more significant impact, a mental hack of sorts.
If you want to be a professional writer and make an income, having a goal and stating what the goal is necessary. But what drives success is setting up a system to support the goal. My goal was and has been to write and publish a blog post a day.
Call yourself a Writer
Once you begin calling yourself a writer, you identify with it more strongly and start to own that lifestyle.
What you do each day is usually a reflection of your identity and personal lifestyle.
The behaviors you choose indicate the type of person you believe you are.
This is why it’s important to pay attention to what we tell ourselves; subconsciously or consciously. You are a writer.
Develop Your Writing System
Your system consists of how often you write, where you write, what time of day you write, how often you submit to publications, whether you take a class to get better at writing, when you edit and how you break down an article to make it clear and concise for your readers.
To be successful at writing, focus more on the system and not the goal.
I worked on dialing in my system for quite some time and still make tweaks to it, but the results are pretty amazing. I went from making nothing to making over $1,000 a month in passive income on my blog. I’ve written several posts that have been picked up by larger brands, which has resulted in month-over-month increases in traffic to my site and revenue earnings. You have to implement a system to win at everything, even writing.
The System I Set Up To Become a Successful Writer
I make writing a priority every morning. That means I don’t go through email, and I don’t look at social media.
My prime time for writing is from 8:00 am to 11:00 am.
I wear noise-canceling headphones with some type of non-distracting playlist going. Good writing requires deep focus. Deep focus results from uninterrupted thinking for several hours. Deep focus is achieved when you focus on one task and nothing else. Interruptions, like notifications, email, texts, and people interrupting, interfere with deep focus. You’ll get more accomplished if you focus on one thing for a few hours than if you focus on that one thing all day while being interrupted (Parkinson’s Law).
During those prime morning hours, I’m in my ergonomic gaming chair in my home office with the door shut. Having a dedicated space set up for productivity contributes greatly to deep focus.
I keep my iPhone turned over so that I cannot see the screen.
I don’t get up out of my chair for at least 90 minutes and then take up to a 20-minute break to stretch and let my mind and eyes reset.
When I’m not writing, I’m reading or listening to podcasts for content ideas to hack and put my own spin on. When you’re reading and listening to podcasts, be sure to have a small notebook and pen close by to record any ideas or thoughts that could turn into your next big article.
Do The Following Every Day To Stay At The Top Of Your Writing Game
Find your particular topic. Everyone has something or many things that interest them, write about those topics.
Your readers will feel your passion when you write what you know or about something you want to know more about. Write a list of topics you know a lot about or want to know.
Some writers learn on the page. Meaning that they research a topic they don’t know anything about and learn it through reading and writing, then share what they learned with their readers. This is something you’ll need to get used to if working for a marketing agency with multiple clients in different industries.
If you are stuck and don’t know what to write about, ask yourself these questions.
When I go out with friends, what do I like to talk about?
When I look up things to read on the internet, what are those topics?
What podcasts interest me most?
What have I had schooling/training in?
When I’m scrolling Facebook, what topics make me stop and read?
Treat Your Writing Like a Job, Not a Hobby
Writing is hard, and it takes discipline. Discipline needs to be there on the days you don’t want to write. Writers who make money at their craft write on the days they don’t want to write.
Write every day. Even if it’s only brainstorming ideas and topics.
If you only write on the days you want to, you will write a few times a month at that, and most likely, your writing will read like a journal entry because you haven’t flexed your writing muscle in a while. Writing is a perishable skill. If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.
Wrapping It Up
To take writing seriously and earn an income, you have to make it your identity and not let anyone or anything interfere with your writing time. It must become an ingrained habit.
Successful writers have a routine, and they don’t allow others to interfere with it.