#SOL23: Writing Habit

It’s January. I check my email. Some days I read a specific email message before morning coffee. On other days I wait until the brown go juice has squeezed the sleep out of my brain. Then I copy the quote for the day and check for the mentor text. It’s #ASDWWrites. It’s a 30-day writing challenge. It’s response writing. (@shelfietalk and wakelets from chats at https://wakelet.com/@shelfietalk )

I don’t have the topic in advance.

I can’t store a couple of blog posts as drafts if the writing doesn’t come easy.

I’ve missed some days.

I’ve gone back and filled in the gaps because I’ve left blank pages in the notebook in my Kindle Scribe. The empty page with a day and date reminds me that I’ve missed something. Something that I committed to doing.

Daily reading and/or writing is a habit. Since the pandemic, I’ve made it a habit to start my day with reading, writing, or both. The writing may be blogs, tweets, DMs, or notes to myself. The reading also varies from saved documents, blogs, research, books, directions, and quilting tips.

Dictionary.com offered this definition of HABIT.

As I reflected on the first 20 days of this daily writing, I wondered if writing was truly a habit. In other words, if I missed a day was it still a habit? How many days could I miss and still have it be a habit?

What if I missed a day or two because I was involved in other writing work?

So it wasn’t that I didn’t write . . . but just that I didn’t write to the daily prompts because I was writing a lot “to take action” for another project?

And I did go back and write LATER.

Reading and writing are customary practices. Daily habits. Some days don’t allow for an early morning response and my schedule is discombobulated and the habit does not demand completion before I sleep. Postponing to another day helps keep some people/tech/device balance in my days. It’s not about “having to write right now” but about completing the task.

Hmmm. . .

Am I hedging my “Habit”? Does a habit have to be 30 consecutive and distinctly different days? Who decides? What does this say about agency and choice for our readers and writers in school?


Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.


11 responses

  1. Like you, I try to make writing a daily habit, but if it doesn’t happen, am I a failure? I tend to be that judgmental with myself and it’s not good for developing a habit. I think intentions are well spent. What would you tell me? Give that same advice to yourself.

    1. Margaret, I would tell you to give yourself grace. Perfection is not the habit we’re after. There is so much room between the “yes, I wrote” and the “no, I didn’t write” that we mush embrace the grays in between. Not writing does not equal a failure! Thank you fo sharing such wise advice!

  2. Fran, I’m with you – – I like the option to post ahead when it is there. Those habits definitely can be a double-edged sword. I think there is always a gap between perfection and progress, and the way I see it, progress is the attainable stride. Go you!!

    1. Kim,
      I love the satisfaction of polishing up a piece in advance and being able to post early. Thinking of your image of the double-edged sword adds more meaning today.

  3. You have me thinking about the nuances of “habit” and whether we can call something a writing habit when it’s a type of homework generated by someone else that we assign to ourselves.

    1. Glenda,
      Habit. Practice. Routine.
      So many nuances!
      I’m still thinking!

  4. There is a bit of pressure on Tuesday, I admit, and I think a lot about the demand (self-imposed for the most part) to produce something. Writing (for an audience and even for myself) almost always adds stress even though I love it when it works, like grit+pressure+time= diamonds?!

    1. Trish,
      What’s the balance? How much writing should be personally driven vs how much should be personal choice? Thinking again about what students feel when choices feel limited. . .

      1. I absolutely feel this tension. Choice, yes, but the choice NOT to create…hmmm…on any given day, perhaps, but every day with students denying that opportunity or denied that?

  5. Part of a habit for me is if I miss doing something am I out of sorts with myself because I didn’t follow through. If I don’t feel this way that to me it is not really a habit, although that is open to discussion. I try not to be too hard on myself because as we all know, life happens.

    1. Totally that “out of sorts” feeling. I don’t want to miss out on the learning. And yet, did I give it my “all” when I don’t follow through? So many questions as I think about this!

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