When trying to build a daily writing habit, setting creative constraints can immensely help in your game. When I’ve challenged myself to write every day for one year, privately, and then to publish for 30 days, publicly, I’ve found helpful the strategic use of limitations.
Set the creative constraints to write no more than 250 words. Or 500 words. Or to write for at least 30 minutes and no more than one hour.
Define the template for your article. Think about the usual storytelling format: introduction (stating the context), development (raising attention on one issue, proposing solutions), conclusion (wrapping up with observations).
The 1-2-3 format is what I’ve used at least 30 times in my challenge, Shipping 30 Atomic Essays for 30 days.
While I’ve rejected the screenshot format because highly inaccessible and unusable, I come up with a three-parts (plus the title) format that I’ve immediately found workable:
- Clear and concise title giving a direct direction
- Introduction. The writing challenge’s broader context and one sentence summarizing the issue as if it were a subtitle.
- Development. Treatment of the topic with a logical and incremental progression in supporting the initial statement. Sometimes it’s a short story, and others are a list of examples, evidence, or applications.
- Conclusion. Further reinforcement of the initial statement, reworded with an effort to build a punch line closing in a crescendo.
Having a format to follow, even when flexible and loose, gives the quick sprint of taking care of the topic without worrying about the structure. It gives pace and logical flow. When you get fluid with the format, you can become very efficient in writing 200-300 words in less than 30 minutes.
And when you look at what you wrote in that nicely formatted article, with exact steps in your narration, going from a punchy title, an immersive introduction, an engaging development to an impactful conclusion, you feel good.