How to start a daily writing habit (even if you’re already too busy)

Content Marketing Writers
21 min read
In this Article

Writing is an important cornerstone of building an audience as a digital creator.

Your words are how you get found by your people—the people who will become fans of your ideas and work.

But to reap the audience-building benefits of writing, you have to write consistently…ideally every single day.

Writing every day has benefits that extend beyond the professional and into your personal well-being. It helps you get clarity around your thoughts, process your emotions, clear your head for the day, express yourself creatively, and ultimately, feel happier.

And of course, writing every day can also help you chip away at a large-scale project (like a book or online course!) which can lead to even more authority and recognition in your career.

All of this sounds good in theory, but putting a consistent writing practice into action is easier said than done—especially when you already have your hands full running your business.

So where do you find the time and motivation to add writing to your already busy day? Are there tools that make it easier? Practices that help form a habit? Communities to cheer you on?

That’s what we’re here to answer.

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How to start writing every day

How to start writing every day

Starting is often the hardest part of creating any new habit.

Fortunately, there are lots of tools and strategies that can help you get over the hump of getting started with your write-every-day goal.How to start writing every day

Write what you know (even if it’s super niche)

At first, it might seem like writing should tackle a profound truth or universal topic, but writing habits can actually be easiest to start around an everyday topic that you know a lot about. This might be an industry, podcast, music genre, or show that you’re a fan of.

This type of niche writing (especially in the form of niche newsletters) has become very popular. Even long-time journalists are now leaving mainstream media jobs in favor of creating their own, hyper-specific content delivered via email newsletters.

One example of niche writing that developed a cult-like following comes from sports writer Jon Bois. Bois is known for breaking down obscure sports phenomena in incredible detail, like this article on a single 1986 Philadelphia Eagles game.

Another example: The Washington Post recently released a newsletter dedicated entirely to ABC’s The Bachelorette.

Writing routine example Washington Post
The Washington Post’s announcement of a new, hyper-specific newsletter shows how popular niche writing has become. Image via The Washington Post.

The lesson here: Whatever you’re into, write about it.

Not only will it feel natural to create a daily writing habit around something that you know and care a lot about, but there’s also a good chance other people will find it interesting, too.

Use a writing prompt to beat the blank page

But what if you aren’t a big fan of any particular topic? Then what do you write about?

If you’re stuck, a writing prompt can come to your rescue in an instant. A good writing prompt will spark a memory, elicit an emotion, or bring to mind a strong opinion. It’s fuel to get your wheels spinning and the words flowing.

For example, this writing prompt might stir up a vivid memory from your childhood: “What’s a valuable lesson a school teacher taught you?”

Check out our full list of 50 writing prompts in this article, set a timer and write as much as you can on the topic within that set amount of time.

Join a writing challenge

Having external accountability can help you stick to habits and reach your goals.

But accountability is not just a nice-to-have. It’s essential for reaching your goals.

One study found that having an accountability partner around reaching a goal increases the chances of completing a goal to 65% (compared to the dismal 8% average).

Here are a few writing challenges others have found helpful:

ConvertKit’s February Writing Challenge

ConvertKit’s private Writers Mastermind group did a February writing challenge that revolved around a daily writing prompt and a 100-word daily goal. The challenge came with a built-in community of creators working to support one another and to offer accountability.

This challenge was an ideal option for writers who also identify as creators and wanted to hone their writing habits alongside other creators (instead of alongside professional writers, for example). The goal was to create a writing challenge that felt less intimidating than other options (and was a good first challenge for new writers.)

It’s free to join the Writers Mastermind group and their writing challenges. In February, the group had more than 330 members.

ConvertKit Writers Mastermind
Writers Mastermind by ConvertKit hosts a February writing challenge, which includes thought-provoking writing prompts. Image via ConvertKit Community.

Ship 30 for 30

Ship 30 for 30 is a paid community of more than 100 writers completing a challenge to write one “atomic” (under 250 words) essay per day.

It costs $199 to join, and for some, the paid aspect can offer an added layer of accountability (as not completing the challenge would mean wasting money.)

Additionally, the paid program includes enrollment in a tight cohort of other writers and creators, meaning you’ll get to know other participants well. Finally, the encouragement to share your atomic essays with your cohort (and beyond) means that your chances of getting your work “out there” go up.

Participants not only share their essays within their cohort, but also share their work with their own audiences.

For example, writer Allie Decker shared her atomic essay, “Break Your Habits” with her Twitter following:

Start writing Ship 30 for 30
Writer Allie Decker shares her work with writing challenge Ship 30 for 30 with her Twitter following. Image via Twitter.

NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, is an annual writing challenge that encourages creators to complete 50,000 words (the minimum word count to qualify a novel) during the month of November.

NaNoWriMo is one of the most well-known writing challenges: In 2020, a whopping 552,335 creators participated. Though most people participate during the month of November, you can also choose to create your own timeline using the 50,000 words as a goal and getting help from the resources provided by NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo is ideal for creators looking for a creative writing outlet that ends with a finished (or close to finished) piece, or for those who are currently chipping away at a big project, like a book. Joining is completely free.

This challenge is popular because it’s effective: even published authors like Sylvia Prince use it to keep up their writing.

Start writing NaNoWriMo
Novice and published writers alike use NaNoWriMo’s writing challenge to finish big writing projects. Image via Twitter.

Use online writing tools to make writing easier

Online writing tools can help you stick to the practice of writing every day because they often include accountability and motivation. If you’re the type of person who needs more than a blank paper journal to jumpstart your writing habit, online writing tools might be the solution.

Here are a few of the most popular options.

750words.com

750words.com is an online journal designed specifically to help you write 750 words a day, which is about three pages.

But unlike most online journals, 750words.com also analyzes what you write to generate insights into who you are as a writer, what you tend to write about, what mood you tend to be in, and more. This is helpful for writers who want accountability and would enjoy discovering what their voice or style is along the way.

For example, wellness coach Penny Silver found that the app created a record of her emotional and mental space over time.

Start writing 750words
750words.com analyzes your writing to create breakdowns of what you tend to write about, what your mood tends to be, and more. Image via Twitter.

Penzu

Penzu is another online journal, and it’s main draw is the ability to customize the design and add visual elements. It’s also more open-ended than 750words.com, allowing you to write as much or little as you’d like, just like a tangible journal.

The visual elements make Penzu ideal for people who often express themselves visually (like designers, artists, and photographers.) It’s also a good option for writers who want the experience of a physical journal but also the ease of typing.

There is a free option, with an upgrade available for even more visual features.

Start writing Penzu
Penzu is an online journal known for its visual elements like background colors and photos. Image via YouTube.

Hemingway App

Like having an English teacher on-call, the Hemingway App tells you the reading level of your writing and offers specific suggestions to make your writing easier to read and more powerful.It’s is especially useful for creators who want to use their daily writing habit to improve their writing.

Unlike the other tools, though, the Hemingway App does not save your writing. Instead, you copy/paste your writing into the app to get feedback, make changes, and then copy/paste your new piece back into where your writing lives full-time.

The best part? It’s free.

Start writing Hemingway App
Hemingway App reveals specific ways to improve your writing by making it clear and powerful. Image via hemingwayapp.com.

How to maintain a daily writing habit

Maybe you’re wondering, “Okay, this sounds good. But how do I make my writing habit actually stick?”

60 days is the magic number that author and habit expert James Clear recommends for making a habit “stick.” After 60 days of doing something, the habit starts to feel automatic—you don’t have to use as much willpower to keep it going.

If you can maintain your writing habit for 60 days, you’ll find that it’ll get easier. Here are some tips for getting past that 60-day mark.

How to maintain a daily writing habit

Squash writer’s block with proven techniques

Writer’s block might be the most dangerous adversary to your new daily writing habit. So when it arises, waste no time in squashing it.

Luckily, there are proven techniques for overcoming writer’s block.

Change your environment

Changing your surroundings has been shown to boost creativity, likely busting through any writer’s block you might experience.

This could mean actually changing locations (like going to a coffee shop or new coworking space) or it could be even simpler. Small actions like rearranging your desk or moving to a different place in the room can be helpful.

Take a break to reduce stress

Dr. Wendy Suzuki, a neuroscientist at NYU, shared with Forbes that stress, fear, or a “lack mindset” kills creativity. If you’re feeling blocked with your writing, it could be a result of having a stressful day, feeling insecure, or perceiving a lack of time.

To remedy this problem, Dr. Suzuki recommends doing (or even just thinking about) things that you know make you feel better, like getting a massage or watching a favorite television show. Give yourself a break and come back with a fresh start.

How to start writing every day

Take a walk

One study found that walking had a strong effect on creative production, whether indoors or out. In other words, taking a walk can seriously boost your creative output…including your writing.

The researchers hypothesized that the reason for this could be that walking is like doing a mindless task that frees your mind to think deeply, that the movement itself improves your mood, or that walking usually introduces you to new stimuli (or a combination of each of these.)

Regardless of why it works, it works. Next time you’re facing writer’s block, try simply taking a walk and see what happens.

Join an online writing community

A writing community can help keep you motivated to maintain your daily writing habit, and it may even push you to create better work.

Jonah Berger, the author of Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces That Shape Behavior, makes a convincing argument for how much the people around us (i.e. our communities) shape our behavior:

“Any time we’re trying to achieve something, whether we’re trying to lose weight, exercise more, put in extra hours at the office, peers are a powerful motivating force….Social facilitation can increase performance and encourage us to do better. Rather than trying to control or motivate our behavior by ourselves, others are often a better way to do it.”

Let’s look at a few writing communities you can join to support your daily writing habit.

The Write Life Community on Facebook

The Write Life Community Facebook group has more than 27,000 members. Most of the discussion tends to be members asking for writing help for plot/character development for fiction works or asking questions about the road to getting published. For that reason, this group is a great fit for creators who want to write fiction or are thinking of publishing a book.

Though it’s a casual group (without rules or regular accountability meet-ups), it’s always very active, so you can expect your questions to get answered. It’s also free to join.

The Write Life Community
Plot-development questions are typical posts in The Write Life Community. Image via Facebook.

ConvertKit Writers Mastermind

ConvertKit’s Writers Mastermind is a free online community for creators who identify, at least somewhat, as writers. This writing community is ideal for creators who want to:

  • Connect with other writers
  • Find inspiration to stay consistent
  • Share story ideas
  • Publish for the first time (or again!)

Admins keep the conversation helpful and fresh by posing thought-provoking questions, sharing writing industry insights, and delivering how-to content related to writing.

The group is housed within the ConvertKit platform instead of a third-party platform like Facebook. This is beneficial for creators who don’t have a Facebook account or prefer not to be distracted on social media when looking for writing inspiration.

Joining is free, and you don’t have to be a ConvertKit customer to join.

ConvertKit Writers Mastermind
ConvertKit’s Writers Mastermind group is an active group of creators who write. Image via ConvertKit Community.

Insecure Writers Support Group (ISWG)

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group is a unique blogging community designed to allow writers to “express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak.”

This community is ideal for writers who have a blog or plan to start a blog, since many of the challenges and prompts revolve around writing a blog post, tagging ISWG, and visiting other blogs from members. For this reason, the ISWG is perfect for new bloggers who might be shy about starting to share their work or who are looking for blog traction.

The group currently has 170 active blogging members and 4.6k Facebook Group members. Additionally, many members are also active on Twitter, using the #ISWG hashtag to find and support one another.

Members tend to be in the genre fiction writing space, with blogs that focus on romance, fantasy, science fiction, horror, and more.

Signing up for this group is free, because there is no “official” sign-up. Instead, you can simply start participating in the blogging challenges and tagging the group in your posts. However, you can sign up for the newsletter and join the Facebook group if you’d like more direct accountability (both free).

Writing routine example Insecure Writers Support Group
Members of the Insecure Writers Support Group participate in the blogging challenges and share their work with other members via Twitter. Image via Twitter.

Finally, don’t give up if you miss a day

Let’s say you miss a day of your daily writing habit. Life happened—your dog got loose and you had to chase him around town. A family member got sick. Your workday filled up with last-minute, urgent tasks.

Whatever the reason, it’s important to not let any shame of skipping a day ruin the momentum you’ve built. Forgive yourself and know that you can start again tomorrow.

Even bestselling authors like Cheryl Strayed struggle with this:

There were many times for three months in a row I wrote every day, but there are also many times that for three months in a row I didn’t write a word. Sometimes I just put the writing aside and know that I’m not going to feel bad about it; I’m not going to get into some sort of shame loop about what I haven’t written.

If you’ve made it past your 60-day mark, you should feel good. A new study of over 800 million people found that the majority of people quit their New Year’s habit by January 19…that’s only 19 days in!

Keep going, and see how your daily writing habit starts to transform your life and creative career.

How to build an audience through writing every day

Once your daily writing habit is in full swing, you should start thinking about how you can use all the content you’re creating to grow or build an audience of readers.

This is because the bigger the big audience (such as your email list), the greater your chances are for making money in your creative business.

Business coach Jenny Shih breaks it down like this: 1-5% of your audience is statistically likely to buy from you, so if you have an audience of 1000 people, 30 people will probably buy from you.

In other words, the bigger your audience, the more money you’ll make.

Here are a few ideas to build an audience through writing every day.

How to build an audience by writing daily

Don’t be afraid to share your ideas and work

The first step to building an audience through your writing is to share it. This could mean emailing it to friends, sharing it with your writing community, publishing it to your blog, or even submitting it for publication elsewhere.

Creating an email newsletter around your writing is another great way to build an audience. It not only helps you stay consistent, but it also provides consistent content for your fans, too.

For example, Anne-Laure Le Cunff is a creative entrepreneur who launched her newsletter, Maker Mind, in 2019. In her weekly newsletter Maker Mind, she shares her best writing about productivity and mental health.

Just two years later, Le Cunff has built an audience of over 25,000 readers.

Maker Mind newsletter
Maker Mind, a weekly newsletter where Anne-Laure Le Cunff shares her writing, has attracted over 25,000 subscribers in just a few years. Image via ConvertKit.

Identify a niche for your writing

Being known for one topic, style of writing, or medium helps attract more people to your writing and makes it easier to gain traction with a particular audience.

For instance, Jack Canfield, the author of Chicken Soup for the Soul, attributes part of his success to the fact that he carved out a specific niche in the self-help and inspirational book publishing space. In fact, he continued to niche down further into different subsets of the market, with titles like Chicken Soup for the Military Wife’s Soul.

And lesser-known writers are also getting traction within niches. For example, writer and poet Justin Wolfe has built an audience around his niche newsletter of short “thank you notes” that take the form of poetic odes to everyday things.

Writing routine example Justin Wolfe
Writer Justin Wolfe sends a newsletter of “thank-you” notes to everyday things, proving that niche content can help you build an audience. Image via TinyLetter.

Write on a public platform

Instead of writing privately in a journal, you can take advantage of the built-in audiences of public platforms, like Medium, Tumblr, and Quora.

Platforms like these already have readers who regularly search for new content to read, so you’re likely to attract brand new readers. Additionally, most of the platforms also include social sharing capabilities< so your work has a chance to be shared by others (attracting even more attention).

For example, check out the Medium blog, The Grain, by photography buff Thomas Smith. Smith writes about analog photography and has attracted a following of 146 readers so far:

Writing routine example Thomas Smith
Thomas Smith uses Medium to publish his writing and attract more readers. Image via The Grain.

Share your writing on social media

Social media platforms can be ideal avenues for finding new people to share your writing with. Though some platforms seem more visual than writing-based, you’d be surprised at how many writers are using them successfully to grow their audiences.

Instagram

Instagram, though primarily visual, is an easy place to find readers and connect with other writers. Expect to get more reach if you can enhance your writing with visual components, like photos, videos, or graphics.

You can also use popular hashtags to get found, including #writersofinsta, #writersofinstagram, #writerwednesday, #writingcommunityofig, #writingcommunityofinstagram, #writinglife.

For inspiration, check out poet and writer Kate Baer, who shares her work on Instagram and has grown her account to 107k followers:

Writing routine example Kate Baer
Writer Kate Baer shares her writing to Instagram and has grown her account to 107k followers. Image via Instagram.

Twitter

Twitter is a popular social media platform for writers to connect with other writers, making it a great opportunity for building your network of industry insiders.

Useful hashtags include #AmEditing, #WritingPrompt, #AmWriting, #StoryStarter, and #WritersLife.

For inspiration, check out how writer Parker Lee shares their work on Twitter:

Writing routine example Parker Lee
Parker Lee shares their work on Twitter to attract more readers and build their audience. Image via Twitter.

YouTube or Podcast

Get more mileage out of your writing by repurposing it in the form of a video or audio piece. Then, post your video to YouTube or deliver your audio in the form of a podcast.

Some people prefer to listen or watch instead of reading, so you can use these platforms to reach a wider audience of potential fans.

For example: The Minimalists, a creator duo, often repurpose their short essays by reading them aloud on their podcast or turning them into short animated videos on YouTube.

The Minimalists writing example
The Minimalists first publish their writing in its essay form before repurposing it in videos. Image via The Minimalists.
The Minimalists writing example
The Minimalists transform their written work into animated videos to build a YouTube audience. Image via YouTube.

Ready to start writing every day?

Who knows where you could be in a year if you started writing every day today? Starting a daily writing habit not only improves your well-being and provides a creative outlet, but it can also be a strategic step toward building your audience.

Using online writing tools, joining writing challenges, and becoming a member of a writing community are great ways to ensure that your daily writing habit sticks. Once you’ve embarked on your journey, don’t waste all that content. Instead, share it on public platforms, on social media, and in an email newsletter.

Connect with other creators

Our mission is to reach creators beyond ConvertKit to create a network where you can discover like-minds, teach, and inspire each other to reach your goals.

Join the ConvertKit Community

Kaleigh Moore

Kaleigh Moore is a freelance writer who works closely with SaaS companies and marketing teams for content creation.

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