How to Create a Writing Routine & Stick to it
A writing routine is an essential for any writer. It’s the number one tool a writer can rely on to get them from draft one to the final manuscript. Like a good morning or evening routine, it’s something you find through experimentation and knowing your habits.
Here are some simple steps to create your own writing routine. To make the routine sustainable in the long run, you need to be really honest with yourself and give yourself more time than you think you need. That way, there’s no stress or pressure to keep to something that doesn’t quite fit.
Step 1: Identify Your Time of Day
Do you work best in the morning or evening?
Do you have lots of time in the morning before work, or after work?
More importantly, when are you the most alert?
Identify whether you’re a morning or evening person to ensure that you’re working at the time of day that’s going to be most productive for you.
Step 2: Modify Your Existing Routines
So you’ve picked either morning or evening, now it’s time to look at what activities you do at these times.
Early bird: Do you get up with only a little bit of time before your day’s activities begin? Do you workout in the morning, journal or meditate? Writing is now going to be your top priority, so this means as soon as you get up, it’s writing time. I’m a big fan of meditation in the morning, so for me, I meditate then get straight into writing.
Write out on a piece of paper what your morning’s activities look like at the moment, then decide how long you’re going to write for every morning — anywhere between 30 - 60 minutes is good. Then look at what you currently do and attach times. For instance, you start work at 9am so you need to factor in what time you leave for work, how long it takes you to have breakfast, etc. Then right at the beginning of your day, put in your writing time slot. You may have to get up earlier to write and that’s OK, in fact, that’s good. Now viola, you have your writing plan!
Night Owl: Ask yourself, how much time do I have in the evening before I feel so tired I need to sleep? Know yourself well enough to see when you are most alert in the evenings. Remember, you need enough time to have dinner and relax for bed before you even consider writing.
Write out on a piece of paper what your current evening routine looks like, and attach times for how long everything usually takes. Next, determine how long you’re going to write for — 30 - 60 minutes is a good time frame. You’ll now be able to see what you do in the evening and also, how long each activity takes. See where you can slot in writing when you’re still alert. Then finish off by writing the times at which you’re going to do each task, for example, 6pm get home from work, 6.30pm make dinner, etc. What you’ve got now is your writing plan!
Step 3: Pin Your Routine Up
Pin this lovely routine up where you can see it each time you write. You might like to put an alarm on your phone too when your writing time is ‘up’ so you don’t accidentally keep writing and make yourself late for other tasks.
This way too, you’ll be more inclined to stick to it because you can’t forget about it!
Step 4: Have Days Off
As a general rule, I would always keep weekends off from writing, unless you’re really getting into it and want to of course. Our minds and brains need a break, so keeping your working week for working and your weekend for resting will create balance and harmony in your life. Rest also encourages imagination and innovation, so your writing will be better with rest.