If you want to be productive when you are writing, a writing routine is absolutely essential. I believe they are one of the most overlooked parts of writing. Why am I so obsessed with routine? There’s a number of reasons why, if you want to be as productive as possible, you should create as strict a routine as possible. In fact, I want to raise awareness of this so I’m hoping in the coming months to get some interviews on this page with writers discussing this very topic. If you’re a writer and would like to be featured on the blog, (via email at the moment) contact me here.
Everyone tells you – write every day! Even when you feel awful, even when the kids have ran you ragged and the house is cold and your fingers are aching… It’s a bit of a cliché by now. Almost every bit of advice you will hear will tell you to sit down at the computer each day and write something, anything. But that doesn’t cover the whole story, the whole battle.
Why you need a writing routine
How many times have you sat down to write and thought ‘I could do with a coffee?’ before standing up. Then you worry about the back door – are you sure you locked it? What about the cat, is she fed?
These are the little voices in the back of your head that will stop you from producing your best work. It is hard to transport yourself and your writing to another planet when you’re worrying about the kettle.
A routine will reduce distractions!
Turn the distractions into part of your writing routine. Trick your brain into getting ready to write by doing the things that would normally stop you from writing. If the cat always interrupts you half way through your writing because it wants fed – FEED IT BEFORE. And not just the once, always feed the cat before.
Write a list (or use a notebook app) if you need to, and cross things off before you start writing.
What about blogging? One of the first reasons I started a blog (back in 2012!) was to give me somewhere to rant before I started writing on a story. It became part of my routine.
Now I use the blog to give myself a break from the usual writing. If I’m feeling a little blocked, a quick trip to the blog will always give me a topic to talk about, or remind me of my own advice.
This sounds like procrastination…
I agree, it does sound like I’m telling you to do everything but write. In reality, though, it’s clearing your mind and the world around you from the things that are going to stop you writing. It’s only procrastination when you don’t write afterwards. Then it’s just doing chores.
What about meditation?
Meditation is a good way to get yourself into a writing mindset. Use meditation as part of a routine. There’s some great apps that will get you in the mood for writing, and push out the stress of everyday life. My favourite app is Stop, Breath, Think but there are loads out there, and a lot are free. I’ve used this app in the past to clear my mind and really get myself in a space where I can concentrate on my writing.
An example writing routine
It can be difficult to come up with a routine that works for you – let me know in the comments if you have anything specific that works for you – so I’m sharing my current morning routine (which leads to me writing on my commute). I do this every single workday morning. Some mornings it’s a little more of a struggle than others, especially if beer has been consumed the night before, but I’ve found that by keeping this routine my mind is now ready and willing to write, no matter the time.
Here’s what I do in a morning (I work full time, so being able to conserve energy is extremely important if I want to get any writing done at all when I get home).
- Wake up – glass of water
- Get dressed
- Pack lunch
- Eat banana
- Brush teeth
- Leave the house
- Commute (this is my writing time)
It’s simple isn’t it? There are plenty of other little fixes and tricks within that that help me get in the mood, but those eight steps make writing much easier. By knowing what’s going to happen I can also concentrate on my workday when I get in, and arrive ready to work, It almost acts as a bit of a meditation (more on that in a different post), allowing me to get my thoughts in order.
What about you?
This is a morning routine, and I’m well aware that a lot of people aren’t morning people. So does anyone have an evening routine that they follow similar to the one I’ve outlined above? Let me know in the comments below.