Summer is around the corner and you probably are planning to get a lot of writing done. Away from the noise of teaching and administrative work (for the most part), you’re probably looking forward to long periods of time to work on manuscripts that haven’t received attention over the academic year. But going from no writing to all the writing isn’t easy.
If you intend to write, will you actually write? Is intention enough? No, but it’s a start. Having an intention means you’re motivated to try to achieve a goal. But, in order to succeed, you must translate that feeling into action. That translation is what psychologists call an “implementation intention,” or what I call “a plan.”
Even if you intend to write every day, you’re not going to do so unless you put plan for it and schedule it. Rather than having a vague intention to write every day, you should block out a time period to sit down and write every day. You will then want to plan for what gets written during that time. The beauty of a plan is that it helps you form a habit. If you perform a behavior frequently, in a stable context, that behavior will become habitual – and eventually the habit will become more important than the intention. Writing will begin to feel natural – even when you don’t feel like writing!
Developing a habit is important for writers who lack confidence, because you’ll gain a sense of control. If you want to start a writing practice but you’re not confident in your writing abilities, you’ll be less enthusiastic to get on that horse. Yet, the only way to improve your writing is with regular practice. When a behavior becomes a habit, some of the guesswork is taken out of the equation. After all, you don’t necessarily attach a lot of emotion to routines.
Think of writing like preparing for a marathon. You’ll run a lot of short races before you go the full distance. You can adopt a similar strategy for summer writing. Start writing for short time periods right now, even if it’s only ten minutes. Do this consistently, and begin adding minutes. You’ll build your writing endurance, and when summer starts in earnest, you’ll have already primed your writing muscle.
Don’t start your summer without a plan! If you’re ready to turn your intention into action and develop a summer writing plan + schedule, then sign up for the Up In Consulting Newsletter, and you’ll get ten days of daily tips, prompts, templates, and inspiration to create a writing plan that you can stick with AND enjoy. With support, you can take control of your writing.