Discover how building a writing habit can transform the writing of weekly articles, newsletters or social posts from energy-sucking tasks into satisfying moments of creative bliss.
If you’re like most surf tourism, board shaping, surf hardware or surfwear brand owners, you’re probably wearing a lot of different hats.
One day you might be checking people in, the next you could be running surf lessons. Some of you might work as boutique shapers, handling everything from design discussions with clients to glassing and even ding repair.
In short, you’re most likely one busy mofo. And that’s great.
In most cases, a busy work life means that you’re doing something right. But it does beg the question: with all of those chores, menial tasks and responsibilities (see: getting your saltwater fix), where does writing fit in?
Chances are it doesn’t.
In this article, I’ll show you how to use James Clear’s Four Laws for Behaviour Change from his bestselling book Atomic Habits to build a writing habit that works for you and your business. So continue reading if you want to learn the not-so-secret techniques for churning out quality articles, newsletters and social posts on the reg.
Trust me… it’ll make your life (and your interns) way easier.
Rule 1: Make it obvious
It’s difficult to sit down and write a long-form article every week or craft compelling newsletters once a month if you don’t have a system in place that makes it easy to do so.
The first step is to make it obvious that you want to write. This means setting up a dedicated writing space, whether it’s a physical desk or just a folder on your computer, and making sure you have the tools you need (a good grammar checker, an online thesaurus, etc.) within easy reach.
You should also set aside some time each day or week specifically for writing. This doesn’t have to be a large block of time; even 30 minutes will do. But it’s important to make sure you’re not trying to fit writing into an already busy schedule.
If you’re still struggling to make your writing habit obvious, you could also try something called Habit Stacking. This is where you stack a new desired habit on top of an existing one. For example, if you want to commit to posting a daily Instagram, you could say to yourself, “After I finish my morning coffee, I will commit 20 minutes to publish a post on Instagram”.
By doing this, you’re not exactly creating a new habit – you’re merely pigging back on an old one. This can be a great way to get your ass moving. But it only works in conjunction with the next few rules.
Rule 2: Make it attractive
Once you’ve put aside time to write each week and created a workplace conducive to tapping away at a keyboard, the next phase of building a writing habit is to make it attractive.
We are more likely to do something when we believe it will be fun and rewarding. James Clear suggests bundling the new habit with something very rewarding. So if you love dessert, allow yourself to have a special treat after each writing session. Or maybe you can buy yourself a new book once you’ve written X number of words.
Another way to achieve the same effect is to ask a mate, spouse or family member to hold you accountable. If this is someone you don’t want to let down, you’ll be motivated by the thought of having to tell them you didn’t do it. And, when you tell them you did, you’ll feel extra special.
Check-in with your accountability mate regularly, whether it’s once a week or every day. Set specific goals together, such as writing for 20 minutes each day or completing a certain number of words each week, and then celebrate your successes along the way.
Before long, you’ll find that writing has become a habit that you actually enjoy. And the best part is, you’ll have a whole body of work to show for it.
Rule 3: Make it easy
Do you know why people fail when it comes to keeping New Year’s Eve habits? It’s not because they lack the desire. It’s because they set lofty goals from the get-go that are impossible to maintain.
The solution is to make it easy for yourself. Yes, you have to put in the work, but if you can remove any barriers between you and your goal, you’re more likely to succeed.
For example, if your goal is to write one article per week, don’t try to write a 2,000-word, 1,500-word or even a 500-word article. Instead, aim for between 100 and 250 words – no more, no less – and write short updates about your business or brand.
Or, if you want to start working out more often, don’t make it hard on yourself by going to the gym across town. Join a gym that’s close to your house or wind it right back and start by doing 10 pushups a day at home.
Take small steps. The smaller the better. And before you know it, you’ll be building a writing habit in no time.
Then once you’ve done that, you can start thinking about levelling up and adding more pushups or writing more words. But like I said, the key is to make it easy for yourself to succeed. So ask yourself, what can you do today to make it just a little bit easier to reach your goal?
Rule 4: Make it satisfying
Last but not least, you need to make building a writing habit satisfying. This means finding ways to enjoy the process.
Simply think about what makes writing enjoyable for you. Maybe it’s the feeling of crossing something off your to-do list or the satisfaction of producing something that’s going to be useful for another person who was once in your shoes. Maybe it’s the opportunity to flex your creative skills and come up with something new.
No matter what it is, you need to ensure that it fulfils you. Otherwise, you won’t keep it up.
I use a nifty combination of various chocolate-related vices and surfing as my reward. For example, if I’m working after dinner, I’ll make sure to brew a cup of tea and grab a couple of squares of chocolate. Alternatively, if I knock over a hard task first thing in the morning, I allow myself to enjoy a guilt-free surf session later in the day.
My best bit of advice here is to use something you love as a reward.
It’ll make writing infinitely more satisfying.
Building a writing habit is way easier than you think, but only when you apply these four principles for behaviour change. Sure, it might feel hard at first, but if you stick with it, you’ll be surprised at how quickly it becomes a part of your life.
Start small, make it easy, ask someone to hold you accountable and reward yourself for a job well done. Do that, and I have no doubt you’ll be churning out high-quality content regularly.
If you’d rather poke yourself in the eye with a hot stick than sit down at a screen for hours on end to write a blog article though, I’m your guy. Reach out or leave a comment below if you require copywriting or content writing services for your surf tourism, surfboard shaping, surf hardware or surf apparel brand.