I am working on a first draft of a novel. What are some of the best ways people have found to build a writing habit? I have tried the writing marathon approach and run out of steam. I am now heading into the final portion of my novel and am looking to establish a regular routine that might result in less productivity, but more reliable output to get me to the finish line, so I can get going on my second draft.

  • Hi Erin! We've had people ask this before; I hope our existing answers are helpful :) I'll mark this as a duplicate of existing questions; if you have anything you feel remains unaddressed, just comment (or write a new, focused question).
    – Standback
    May 26, 2016 at 10:15
  • Additional related questions: Best Way to Develop a Daily Writing Routine, and our discipline question tag.
    – Standback
    May 26, 2016 at 10:16

1 Answer 1


There are two ways to right: a) Write for someone else. b) Write for yourself.

Great artistic work can only come when you're writing first and foremost for yourself. And forming a "writing habit" is in conflict with that.

To put it this way, I began working on an idea last week. I am so enthralled by it, that in 10 days I've written 150 pages of text. I write only for myself, and yet the text is among the best I've ever written. I go to sleep at night and can't wait to wake up so that I continue writing - scenes that I'm composing in my head before going to sleep.

When you force yourself to write when you either don't feel like it or you don't want to, nothing good can come of it.

Of course, you do mention that you're heading into the final portion of your text, so the largest volume is presumably already behind you. My advice is still the same: Don't try to be consistent and produce a certain amount of text per day, or impose deadlines on yourself. It will be ready when it will be ready. If it takes 1 week so be it, if it takes 1 year, that's fine.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.