The Really Bad Habit Every Writer Should Break

I don’t know about you, but a really bad habit I have is checking my email and Facebook notifications first thing when I get out of bed in the morning. As soon as I wake up, I do my journaling and intention setting for the day, but once I’ve stepped out of bed I grab my iPhone and immediately check my emails and Facebook stuff.

Maybe you can relate?

A lot of people do this. It’s just a habitual way of being for most. But it’s a really bad habit that writers (and creative people, in general) need to work on removing from their lives.

The reason is because instead of starting your day with intention and purpose, you’re being reactive to whatever is going on in the outside world (emails, Facebook messages, etc). And when you do this, it essentially sets the tone for your whole day.

I never even really thought of it that way until my mentor said it the other night on a call I was listening to. She said, “do you really want to set the tone of your day by being reactive to other people’s shit?”

And it really got me thinking, because I’ve had a lot of days where I thought I was in for a good day and then I ended up instead being reactive to a hate-mail that came in or to something that someone posted on Facebook, and then that set up the rest of my day.

I’d be brushing my teeth thinking about the hate-mail or walking the dog and worrying that everything was a disaster and I needed to be home working and not enjoying my morning walk.

All of that is reactive behavior and thinking that gets you nowhere and puts a stop to your productive thoughts and actions, because your mind will just be reeling all day from the jolt you had first thing in the morning.

I know it’s insanely hard not to be reactive. As a society, that’s how we are—we react to things that are happening, instead of setting intention and creating what we want. We’re taught to behave this way, so it’s totally normal for it to be a habit we have.

Except it’s a really shitty one that we, as writers, need to break ASAP.

As a creative thinker, you need to give yourself a boost of inspiration and motivation first thing in the morning, to get the juices flowing and keep you thinking creatively all day long. But when you get out of bed and first thing jump into the outside world stuff by reading emails and checking Facebook or watching the news, you’re instead doing the opposite: pushing your creative juices away.

It’s really hard to think creatively and to feel inspired all day when you’re thoughts are inundated with the outside world.

And the truth is, the world doesn’t need you to be there first thing in the morning. We sometimes think it does because everyone wants instant gratification, but the reality is, it can wait.

There’s no difference between checking your email at 7 a.m. when you first wake up, and checking it at 10 a.m. or 11 a.m., AFTER you’ve done your creative work for the day (or at the very least, done some journaling around creating your reality and setting intentions for your life), except then you’ll have been productive and intentional BEFORE you become reactive to the outside world.

And I don’t know about you, but I always feel better and can handle life chaos a whole lot more when I’ve actually accomplished something in my day.

For example, even if something crazy happens in my life and I get distracted from my work for the day, if I at least started my day with journaling and writing my blog post, then I don’t mind as much if I have to deal with life chaos. But when I let life chaos in first thing in the morning, then I feel grumpy and I probably won’t do my journaling or I’ll make excuses for why I don’t need to write a blog post that day.

Habits are intentional ways of being, so you need to create habits that support the writing life you want for yourself.

An Experiment

You know how much I love experiments (well, maybe you don’t if you’re new to me, but yes, I love experiments). Change is hard for me because I’m a habitual person and habits are hard to break, so the way I force myself into changing is to give myself a challenge. (Sometimes my challenges to myself are totally insane, but I live for that.)

I’ve challenged myself to not check my emails, Facebook or anything else until after I’ve done my morning journaling and written my blog post for the day. I’m doing this as an experiment for 30 days, after that I will decide whether to keep going (which is what happens after most of my challenges) or to change something up.

Share With Us

Do you check your emails or Facebook first thing in the morning? How can you step up and start moving away from that habit?

Ready to kick your bad habits to the curb and instead create habits that support your writing life and align with the writer and author you want to be? Check out the Bestselling Author Mastermind, a kick-ass motivation, get-your-writing-done productivity and success mindset group for emerging authors who want the dream writing life. Learn more here.

Featured image courtesy of Pen Waggener

12 Replies to “The Really Bad Habit Every Writer Should Break”

  1. I definitely do this! Reaching for my phone to check what’s been happening overnight is one of the first things I do. And you’re right- not only is it a time suck in the morning, but do I really need to do it? Probably not!

    1. @Zara Right?! And when you do end up checking it, you’ll find there was nothing life-threatening in there that needed to be taken care of immediately. Or at least that’s been the case for me 🙂

  2. Jennifer,

    You didn’t have to write a blog especially for me, but I appreciate it. 😉 It is the kick in the butt I need. I’d love to post this on my website/blog. I did share it on Facebook with my author friends. And, yes. Here I am, first thing in the morning, as usual, checking emails and Facebook. 😉

  3. You are absolutely right. I only have a short time before work in the mornings to do some writing. Yet here I am answering your blog…because I checked my emails and facebook first up. I could do it on my mid morning break at work. Yep. going to do it for thirty days and see if I am more productive. Great blog.

  4. Exactly right on! This is probably the hardest habit for me to break, but when I do, it really feels good (and gets things accomplished). Thanks for the reminder!

  5. I know it’s a habit I need to break. I turn on my tablet and take it to the kitchen with me. I read Facebook while eating breakfast and get steamed over the latest political posts. Okay, I’m in for a 30 day challenge. Instead of my tablet, I’ll take a book to the table, one that is uplifting and motivational. I have plenty of those on my bookshelves. I used to do “breakfast books” before I bought the Android tablet. I’ll stop turning it on first thing. At least I don’t have a cell phone problem. I have a small one I only turn on when I’m leaving the house. And I never use it for Facebook or email.

    1. @Barbara I love the idea of taking an uplifting, motivational book to the table. I’m guilty of watching Netflix during breakfast, so I’ve been trying to either sit in silence or read a book.

  6. Guilty as charged! But not only do I end up checking e-mails, I jump on Instagram, and play Words with Friends and/or a trivia game. I used to wake up, immediately get my journal entry written, then dive right into writing… I need to get back to that. I’m in for the challenge!

    1. @Adan I hear ya on that one! Before I took on this challenge I constantly checked Facebook and Instagram and my emails before I even brushed my teeth in the morning! So bad! LOL … definitely keep me posted on how it goes for you.

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