When I started as a journalist, I wanted to be lucky enough to be ‘discovered’ and catapulted into the big-time. I’d read that’s what happened to Jana Wendt, my role model at the time.

But as exciting as that sounded, it also left me feeling there was something unseemly about having to apply for a job. 

As if it was far better for someone to approach you than to aim for it yourself.

As if aspiring to bigger roles was presumptuous. 

Over time, I moved up the journalism ladder with the usual combination of working hard and gaining experience, plus support from mentors. I ticked off a few goals, like getting into the competitive Sydney news scene and producing for the Today Show and A Current Affair.

Luck played a part but mostly it’s been preparation meeting opportunity.

Preparation = good writing habits.

Habit One: Go into the territory every day – writing becomes part of your consciousness.

Habit Two: Bring something back (and file carefully) – raw material gives something to start with.  

These habits can jumpstart momentum. 

The next will keep it going.

Habit Three: Ask, What’s Next?

Before you stop work on anything writing-related (including research, administration, filing) note down EXACTLY what you need to do next. 

👉   Leave time to think about what you have to do next. 

👉   Write it down – be specific. 

👉   Refer to your notes when you start again.

It only works if you’re specific.

❌ Don’t put, ‘Finish writing’ 

✅ Do put, ‘Fact check statistics in the opening paragraph’.

❌ Don’t put, ‘Add image’ 

✅ Do put, ‘Add photo of seagulls from 2019 Bondi Beach folder’. 

Because I’m rather a goldfish, I use What’s Next even for short breaks. It has made a huge difference to my productivity – and my sanity. I hate wasting time trying to remember where I was.

Five Simple Writing Habits.

These writing habits help with focus, overwhelm and distraction. They are the habits I lean on to be more prolific, more confident and altogether happier with my writing.

I’ve written about each of the habits in a short series of blog posts. 

I’ve also created a free one-page reminder for you to download and print.

Here’s to happier writing and content creation. Your voice matters.

Feel free to get in touch to talk about how I can help you. Email me, sherene@sherenestrahan.com

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

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