Since May 2020, I’ve been trying to establish a writing habit. I’ve been inconsistent, though I did have a few months where I would publish some kind of blog post every day. And I actually have published over 140 posts on Medium this year, which is certainly something. But in the last month I’ve been in a slump.
It might sound easy to simply publish one piece of writing every day, but it’s tricky to do something as demanding as writing consistently. I’ve seen a lot of advice out there. The best I’ve seen it all crystallized is by Dickie Bush with his Ship 30 for 30 project. He encourages people to write “Atomic Essays”, short articles of about 200–250 words, every day for 30 days. This is a small enough task that it’s easy to start and continue and build a streak.
I myself have found that 200–250 words is where my attempts at writing tend to end up. It seems like a comfortable level of output for a novice writer. So this is a key element in installing a writing habit.
The other big one is accountability. Writing is hard enough that rationalizing skipping it for one day, then one week, then one month, will always be tempting. The 30 for 30 program emphasizes social accountability, including an accountability partner. I have had some success with working with an accountability partner on several habits including writing, but I wasn’t focused enough on writing that time.
I’ve played with a few related products this year, but am very intrigued by this one. It seems to have nailed the two crucial aspects of establishing a writing habit: starting small but consistent, and maintaining accountability. This is a promising effort in the trend of democratizing creating online.