On building the habit to write every day, when's the best time for you?

Let me start by saying that this post should have been written yesterday for reasons you'll understand if you keep reading... Truth is, I've been wanting to write more for a long time.

I've always done quite some writing but mostly with an introspective purpose. Be it an intermitent journal on paper when I was young, short stories later on, wikipedia articles when I had the time (yep, I got to be top 100 contributor on the Catalan wikipedia, which back then was the 13th biggest :P), travel journals and finally more technical writings.

Always pretty late at night. Unless I was in the middle of nowhere in Bulgaria and someone had just tried to rob me, but that's another story.

In the last years, I've mostly seen writing as a way to learn. For example, when I'd write superlong technical guides to help me better understand what I was doing or my Thesis. Applying the Feynman Technique to learn made sense, you don't learn anything until you can explain it, and putting it down on your own words requires a lot of that understanding.

But getting to the point here... in 2018 I set the goal to write more, to write EVERY DAY.

This is how I did:

I wrote quite a lot in 2018 thanks to everyday.app!

Not bad eh? 3 of every 4 days I wrote something relevant. Relevant to me of course. I'm quite happy with everything I wrote, even though growing old is also learning that you probably won't ever have the time to read everything you've written again. Let's not get existentialist here... but having just landed in the year where Blade Runner was set to be in the far future, well... let's move on.

A big part of my relative success with writing in 2018 is due to Timeline, another sideproject I'd like to grow in the future. I like to call it a threaded microblogging platform, but really, it's just a very convenient way to write long pieces of gibberish or ideas that'll get forgotten as soon as they are typed. Thankfully, I implemented a private option where all that stuff is saved away for you. My initial idea was to write everything publicly, for full transparency, as in an exercise to become superjoan (super-me). To be able to write whatever I thought without worrying what others would think, without sharing my doubts, worries or ignorance. Precisely because noone would give a f*** about my thoughts. But hey, we are human and we are designed to defend the idea that we are unique at all cost!

Anyways, my goal for 2019 seems obvious: To write more, and better, and more openly, but most importantly, to distinguish writings that need to be perfect from writings than need to be written. Written is better than perfect. And the more I write the closer to (my) perfection my writing will be. I hope everyday.app will keep helping me in that regard! Just write, every day.

Writing is a very clear example of where the more you write the better you get at it, and so the habit to write really makes a difference. That's why I thought about how I could improve my writing habits and decided to ask Reddit's r/writing.

I said:

I'm quite happy with my progress this year. I've managed to find a moment to write in 3 of every 4 days. Some days I'd be more inspired than others though, but it still made a difference to try to sit on it every day, even when I failed to accomplish the daily goal. This resulted in a few essays, still far from my goal of writing a fiction book.

Since 2019 just started and I've got great expectations for this year I was wondering what are your habits at the time of writing? Do you have a specific time set to write every day? Or you just sit when you feel inspired? Do you follow some sort of ritual or routine to get in the flow?


So, what's something that worked for you?

I got a ton of useful answers.. The easiest detectable trend was that writers can also be divided between morning people and night people (oh hi! it's 1am). Many would say "I'm a night person". I always understood that sentence as a "Oh, my genes decide that I perform better at night" but the truth is probably that the habits that person had in her early days had a strong impact in her being a "morning/night person" today. I can't refer any science behind this statement (or better, I'm not gonna go search for it) but it makes a lot of sense, doesn't it? What we know for a fact, and what many users stated too is that you can change from being a night owl to an early riser. Yep, by simply changing your habits.

someone writing
Just added this photo of someone pretending to write, so that you don't get overwhelmed by two big paragraphs in a row! - Photo by rawpixel

Another idea that I got out of the post, was how early risers try to get their brain in a functioning state in the morning. As a strong night person my brain doesn't fully operate (if it ever does) until enough hours to watch a full baseball game have ellapsed. For those who don't know, a baseball game can take several hours. That's what they told me at least, I never watched one. Some start the day by reading. Like imagine your alarm is on, you wake up and start hating on everything, then you pick "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" from your nighttable (or should it be called morningtable instead?) and start reading. Sounds like torture. A torture I'm willing to give a try to, at least you get more time in bed. Jokes aside, I loved the idea because you start your day with a relevant experience that already makes the whole day worth it. It's like starting on the right foot and that certainly builds momentum for the rest of the day.

For now, it looks like writing is still going to be a night thing for me but it really doesn't matter while I write a little bit every day. To finish this write-up off, on a more business-y vibe, writing more content for this blog is also a challenge aligned with the idea of writing more. Max and many other marketers that made an impression on me have insisted on the importance of creating content (they probably didn't mean this content... so be excused guys!) in the long term. I totally believe in the compounded value content marketing (it's the value of habits brought to marketing!) can bring for a business but creating it is time-consuming, especially if you want to be thorough, so this is my why to approach it: Just openly free-writing in the intersection of several topics of my interest (habits, personal growth, business, product, code) hoping someone will make any sense of it! If not, it's already served its purpose of defragmenting my brain.

P.S: Despite the chaos above, I still spent too much time thinking for this one, so expect more chaos and more chaotic.