When most people think about developing a writing habit, they imagine having to spend countless hours in a quiet room isolated from the rest of the world.
Project or Idea
This keeps them from trying to develop a writing habit at all. But you can accomplish remarkable things in just one focused hour a day of uninterrupted creation time.
We overestimate what we can do in a day and underestimate what we can do in a year. An hour a day doesn’t sound like a lot of time when we look at it in isolation. But when you add it up throughout the year, it’s the equivalent of 15 full days. Just imagine what would happen if you committed 15 full days to one project or idea. You would make a lot of progress.
In writing for a just one hour a day, I come up with ideas for blog posts, sections for the books I’m writing, and reflect on the key insights I’ve gained from conversations with guests on The Unmistakable Creative podcast. Writing for one hour every day produces an exponential ROI and an infinite value that can’t be measured. Writing for one hour a day can improve the quality of both your personal and professional life.
Improvements in Mental Health
It might seem strange that a daily writing habit could improve your mental health. But as I wrote in an Audience of One, “If I plotted out my levels of happiness on a graph, the peaks would always be when I was writing or working on a creative project of some sort”.
- Anxiety is mostly the result of feeling that we have no control over our lives. The beauty of writing every day is that we have an element of our life that we can control. At the same time, the blank page always contains a mystery that will unfold.
- Presence: Most of our suffering is the result of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. But when we do deep work like writing for an hour a day, it pulls us into the present moment. We’re able to live in the moment while keeping our eyes on the horizon.
- Something to Look Forward To: According to most happiness researchers, having something to look forward to has a significant impact on our well being.
- Healing Trauma: While I wouldn’t consider it a viable substitute for therapy and counseling, writing about our painful experiences can cause them to lose their power over us. By getting things out of our head and onto the page, we’re able to see the circumstances of our lives more objectively.
Before my daily writing habit, there were days of the week when I dreaded getting up in the morning. Now, my mornings are my favorite part of the day.
Figure out Where You Currently Spend Your Time
Chances are you already spend an hour a day doing something that is not aligned with your essential priorities. Download a tool like Rescuetime and let it run in the background. At the end of the week, you’ll have a strong sense for where and how you’ve spent your time. Was it time well spent or was it time wasted on shallow, temporarily intoxicating digital validation in the form of likes and hearts?
Commit to the Easiest Part of the Process
The biggest obstacle most people face when it comes to developing new habits is getting started. So rather than commit to an hour a day, commit cracking open a notebook or sitting in a chair. The inertial will eventually carry you into following through on the habit.