Once a week I press Publish, and I haven't had any exceptions. I have been writing this blog fairly short time (since the beginning of this year), but I'm quite sure that I can keep the same pace for many years to come. All this because writing has become a habit.
The Power of Habit
There is a book called The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life & Business by Charles Duhigg that contains practical information about patterns. An important part of the book was a psychological pattern called, "habit loop."
Habit loop is a three-part process that is well-summarized in the interview Charles Duhigg gave to NPR.
First, there's a cue, or trigger, that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and let a behavior unfold.
For me, this is a Friday morning walk to a cafe, opening a laptop and seeing the Ghost blog post editor in front of my face.
Then there's the routine, which is the behavior itself," Duhigg tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "That's what we think about when we think about habits."
The third step, he says, is the reward: something that your brain likes that helps it remember the "habit loop" in the future.
I can eat a sweet bun, piece of cake or something similar. It's a once a week thing, so it doesn't affect health, pick a more healthy reward if you have a frequent habit.
The habit itself is worthless if you don't occupy time for the routine part. Like brushing your teeth is a routine that you have reserved time for, you should do same for the blog writing. Wake-up earlier than usual to get that extra-time. Create a cue to trigger the routine: special breakfast on a certain day, writing in a specific (maybe unusual) place in your house, etc.
Some bloggers say that when you start a blog you should write, for example, three times per week to get the SEO (search engine optimization) benefit, practice and to get initial content quickly. This is fine if you actually have resources to do it, but most of us don't. You should start with a realistic goal, get gratification for achieving it and not get depressed by not reaching your goal.
Tools - we all like to get external help
There is an app called Couch.me that lets you define goals (think it as a new habit) or pick from a list. The goal can be a physical activity you need to do with a certain interval such as do pushups each day, do yoga once per week, etc. or it can be writing a blog post once per week.
Once you have defined the goal, you can get a reminder of the task and inspirational daily quote. The actual business is in the coaching. You can hire a person to coach you, for example, on writing.
When you have finished a task you can check it completed, and you get surprisingly big satisfaction by doing it. The micro-successes that the application gives is the main thing for me in the Couch.me.
I highly recommend reading the book as it has valuable information also on getting rid of bad habits instead of just creating new ones. By understanding the nature of habit loop, we can change things in our life because we know more what triggers us to do a particular behavior.
Try twice a month at the beginning and increase the frequency if you feel that twice a month is too slow. Start slow, get gratification from being on time and getting things done.
If you have tips on getting a writing habit, I would like to hear them!