Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

The Secret to Developing a Regular Writing Habit

This is the year you become a writer. And what do writers do? They write, of course.

The Secret to Developing a Regular Writing Habit

There’s nothing mystical or magical about it. You just have to show up and do the work: place butt in chair, fingers on keys, and start typing.

And this is where most people fail. They never actually write a word. They talk about writing, think about writing, even read about writing. But they do not write.

Bonus: Join my free, 31-day writing challenge and get a daily writing prompt for the next month. Click here to sign up.

How writing (really) happens

You told yourself last year was going to be different, that you were actually going to do NaNoWriMo this time. That you were going to work on that book or get back into blogging.

But none of that happened. Why? Because you attempted too much. You tried to eat the whole elephant in one bite. And that never works when it comes to writing.

Here’s what I know about writing: It happens in small bites. Step by step. One little chunk at a time.

You don’t write a whole book. You write sentences that turn into paragraphs. And paragraphs turn into sections that, then, turn into chapters.

In other words, it all begins with words.

You don’t control the outcome, just the process

I’m in the middle of writing my next book right now, and it’s scaring me to death. It feels so important, so audacious, that I’m locking up, completely paralyzed.

I don’t want to mess this up (it’s supposed to be the best thing I’ve written so far). And because of that fear I’m having trouble starting. So what do I do?

Do I try to write the whole thing in one sitting or keep fixating over the book concept? Do I continue obsessing over getting the table of contents just right or worry about what critics will think of this sentence or that paragraph?

No. I just get up and write my 500 words. Turns out, that’s all writing really is — showing up. Not worrying about the outcome, just honoring the process. (You may tweet that.)


Join the 31-day challenge

My 500 Words

500 words is short enough that you can usually find time to do it daily, and it’s long enough that if you stick to a schedule, you’ll have something substantial in no time.

It takes me anywhere from 30-60 minutes to write 500 words. And if I keep up with that pace, I’ve got a book in 90 days. That’s my plan for finishing my next book: 500 words per day, every day, until it’s done. And I want you to join me.

If you’ve ever wanted to develop a daily writing habit or need help getting back on the horse, then you’ll want to get in on this.

My 500 Words is a 31-day challenge designed to help you develop a daily writing habit and become a better writer.

For 31 days, we’ll be writing 500 words a day. These won’t be great words, but they will be written. We’re not trying to reach perfection; we’re just trying to get more ideas out of our heads and onto paper.

And if you want to be part of this, we can keep each other company.

Click here to sign up!

The rules

  • Write 500 words per day, every day for 31 days.
  • You can write more if you want, but 500 words is the minimum.
  • Don’t edit. Just write.
  • If you miss a day, pick up where you left off. Don’t make up for lost days.
  • Encourage, don’t criticize (unless explicitly invited to do so).
  • Blogging counts, but email does not.
  • All of this is totally free.

How it works

  1. Leave a comment at the end of this post, saying you’re “in.” Feel free to include a link to your blog.
  2. Write every day, and record your progress.
  3. Join the Facebook group for extra accountability and encouragement. You can also follow along via Twitter with the hash tag #my500words.
  4. Sign up for the free challenge to get writing prompts and nudges sent to you via email. Just click here to sign up.

So… are you in for this free writing challenge? Share what you’ll be writing and where you’ll be writing in the comments.

About Jeff Goins

I write books and help writers get their work out into the world. I am the best-selling author of four books, including The Art of Work. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity.

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  • 8strings
  • Kathryn Dawson

    I’m in. I’ll be writing either in my book or on my blog: crushingwalls.wordpress.com

  • Advinthekitchen
  • Mayra Calix Lopez

    I’m in

  • Amanda

    I’m in. I definitely need to change my writing habits.

  • Heidi Gossen

    I’m in. 🙂 inpoweredlifecoaching.com
    Starting off with blog. The timing for this is perfect. Thank you! Moving from books and books of written journals to sharing. 🙂

  • Great advice: practice.
    Simple rule for great results, develop the right behavior.
    Exercise, it is like going to the gym… You will need time to get fit, time and constance… It’s like we lost the old advice… Thank Jeff to remind us this gems of wisdom.
    I will try to blog more often and I am sure that will help a lot also my SEO.

  • Jan Carson
  • Lisa Taunton

    I’m in!
    The goal is to write more this year.

  • Chris Richards

    In the process of setting up a new website with a blog and I want to have several blogs ready to schedule when it goes live. This will give the opportunity to get those blogs ready to schedule. Also I’m working on a devotional book and a mystery book so will be adding to those.

  • Antonia

    I’m in

  • A must follow tips for the new writers. I have just cross 500 word barrier in recent article

  • Annette Bagley-Martin

    I’m in! So in……eye brow deep as a matter of fact.

  • I’m in! Yay! I’ll be posting on my blog: http://www.debkalmbach.com

  • meme grant

    i’m in,

  • Consuelo Zeteo Ingledue

    I’m in

  • Mary Kay Naunas

    I’m in!

  • Kara M

    I’m in! Just saw Jeff’s email about the challenge today, and I’m freaking out a little bit, but I’m in. http://www.realhumansbeing.com

  • Naomi Overton

    I’m in! naomicrameroverton.com

  • Eric J. Thompson

    I’m in. Second time is the charm?

  • Brown Sugar

    I’m in.

  • Tamara Leilani Jackson

    I’m in. Don’t have my website nor blog up yet but no excuses just get going!

  • Denise Green

    I’m in!! I’m in!!
    (Hands waving in the air with excitement while hyperventilating…)

  • Susan Mowers

    Yahoo! I’m in. Thank you for making this an accomplishable goal! (I tried NaNoWriMo, but 1600 words a day was just too much for me! Especially in November!)

  • Rita Graving

    I’m in!

  • John Poehler
  • John Leeper

    I’m in. Do these seven words count?

  • Leah Lesesne

    I’m in! Finally going to write those books and blog posts I’ve been carrying around in my head! http://www.shelemah.com

  • I’m in! My blog/podcast will be entregurus.com — just starting to build it, but the challenge will be a great way to propel me to have a lot of content when I launch. Looking forward and thanks a lot, Jeff!

  • Gabriel McManus Patrick

    I’m in

  • Tina


  • Sunita Rodrigues Saldhana

    I will be posting on this link: http://sunitasaldhana.com/

  • Sharmane

    I’m in!

  • jz

    Im in.

  • Joshua Morgan

    I’m in…

  • James DePriest

    I’m in

  • Teresa

    I’m in!

  • Barb

    I’m in.

  • Sandi Kern

    I‘m in.

  • Shanna Mathews Mendez

    Alright! I’m in! http://www.femmeunfiltered.com

  • Eva Sawyer

    OK, I’m in. My blog can be found at http://alongtheroadtotruth.weebly.com

  • Monika de Neef

    Hi, I’m in! Just got home after summer holiday. This is a great start of my blog at http://monikadeneef.nz (coming soon). Best wishes, Monika (Christchurch, New Zealand)

  • Nis Vinten

    I’m in! Best, Nis from Denmark.

    Oh, and I am writing mainly a screenplay which should be done this June. Also two short movies upcoming. I celebrate the new year with my writing partner, David, with whom I sit at a school he works in for 100 hours between christmas and the 6th of January. This is really kick starting the new year. See you out there. I don’t have a blog yet, but find me on Instagram: ‘Nis Vinten’ or facebook.com/nisvinten

  • ree
  • menat50ish

    OK I am in My blog can be found at http://menat50ish.com

  • David Silset

    Im in aswel. Thanks Nis for setting me up for this 😀

  • Dawn Van Beck

    I’m in! One can find me at http://www.findingfaithinthefabric.com

  • janer

    I’m in.. just late signing in…

  • Nancy Ray

    I’m in! Working on my novel Jitterbug Blues and blogging at http://www.njray.com.

  • Ana

    I’m in. My blog is over at http://www.sheisplanted.com

  • I’m in! A little late, but I’ll be posting on captivatingministry.com Happy writing everyone!

  • Charlene Kugler

    I’m in. Finishing my book ‘Bankrupt for Christ’ and blogging at charlenekugler.com

  • Dasha Gaian

    I’m in

  • Stephen Ray

    I’m in. Not sure what I’ll be writing, but it’s time to pick something and start.

  • Carlyn Marie
  • Noah

    I’m in!

  • Christina

    I’m in!

  • Anna Hughes

    I am so in! Newly blogging at http://www.LoveAndOtherDetours.com Thank you.

  • Volkhard


  • Count me in…

  • Charles Noles

    (Back) in…just signed up for a “restart” (didn’t complete last time around). Blogging at charlesnoles.com. Good writing, all! 🙂

  • Lisa Harrll

    Let’s Do This!

  • Becky Ogden
  • Olivia Umegbolu

    Count me in.

  • A Faughnan

    I’m in! GULP

  • mwair

    I am in.

  • Pam

    I’m in

  • Gay Stahr

    I’m in

  • Susan Page

    I did my first 500+ words today. Pretty much stream of consciousness, but it’s a start.

  • Stephanie Hammond

    I’m in! 500 words for my blog which I’ve neglected for a few weeks. Ihttps://www.stephaniehammondauthor.com/blog-1

  • Erica Dehghan

    I’m in! Eeek!

  • Usman Ghani Chishti

    hey im also working on a blog. http://chritmis.com i can write a uniqe seo base 700 words article with good research plz check my blog

  • I’m in…trying to reboot a fictional book I started several years ago. Will be writing various character scenarios processing emotional stress points and events. May be an overflow of consciousness or may bleed into my blog ( https://joshua-asforme.blogspot.com/ ) …we’ll see.

  • JackieB

    I’m in!

  • Peg

    I am IN! Will post blog link when finish post started yesterday. Also doing writing outside of blog that will post via Medium.

  • Glen Daniels

    I’m in!

  • Glen Daniels

    I’m in because i need the discipline to get the writing done. I’ve written on and off all my life but only when I was in the mood or was absolutely inspired. The rest of the time i procrastinated, wasted time, waited for the muse to turn up, stared into space to waste more time, you get the idea etc. Then I’d beat myself up for failing to get anything done.
    Joining Tribewriters has given me the stimulus I needed and with it a community of likeminded souls.

  • Garrett Green

    I’m in!

  • Pat

    I’m in.

  • Pat

    I’m in. I need to get back to writing.

  • Having fallen off the blogging horse I need a good challenge and some accountability. I’m in.

  • Gloria

    I’m in!

  • I’m in! I’m going to focus on email marketing. Emphasis on FOCUS. 🙂

  • Nick

    I’m in! I want to focus on starting my book!

  • Óliver Sanz

    I’m in 😉

  • Mj Shanly Vieweg

    I am in!

  • Michelle Iskra

    Thank you so much for this challenge, Jeff. I already write every morning, but it often isn’t focused on anything in particular, or several things, and I’m not making as much progress on any one project as I’d like to.

  • Jeannie Shaw
  • Sai Preethi

    I’m in.

  • Jana Barclay

    I’m in! I need to figure out what I write best and what feels best to write.

  • Kate Findley
  • Bill Kapeles

    I’m in…been in since before the new year…figure I’d proclaim it here, too. https://www.fortyfiveyears.com

  • Jet

    I’m in.

  • Linda Timney

    I’m in. I will be writing advance posts for a planned property blog.

  • jsako

    I’m in.

  • I’m in. My pathetic blog: https://2017suez.wordpress.com/

  • Carol D

    Yes, I’m in Jeff. I’ve just had the most tragic loss in my life and I am determined that fruit will germinate from all of this pain.

  • Carol D
  • Spencer Wentland

    I’m in.

  • Sherry Hoppen

    I’m in! Looking forward to accountability. Still blogging but need to keep working on the book! Find my blog here https://www.shesurrenders.com/