Writing Routines

Writing Routines

Have you ever tried a writing routine? These can be great in helping to keep writer’s block at bay and keep the words flowing. It’s important to create a habit and stick to it. If you can’t make a habit, let’s just work on being more consistent. You absolutely do not need to write every day to be a writer or author. There is no such thing as should, but if having a routine will help you write more, it’s worth the attempt. Let’s look at some tips for starting a writing routine.

Give up your guilty pleasures, at least while you are writing. Close the Netflix and sit down to write. You don’t have to give up your favorite shows for good. Instead schedule in breaks from your writing where you can indulge in an episode, just don’t devolve into watching the entire season instead of writing. So work for twenty minute increments, taking a five to ten minute break in between, until you reach an hour of solid work. Then take a 30-45 minute break. It’s the perfect time to watch an episode to reward yourself for your hard work before getting back to it.

Just write. Don’t spend hours or days daydreaming about your story or fall into the researching rabbit hole. At some point you actually have to write. Set aside specific times to research each week that are separate from your designated writing time. If you are writing and need to research something for it, leave a comment like “rabbit” in brackets to be able to search and find later, or mark it with a comment or write in italics, research this later.

Find the space and time where you work best and show up to it consistently. It will be difficult at first, but the words will come if you do set aside time as specific writing time. But make sure you  are setting realistic goals. Goals should not be lofty, as we will train ourselves to give up when we fail to meet them again and again. Get that dopamine rush by accomplishing your goals. A goal of 500 words is a great start and can always be built upon later.

Be organized. Schedule your writing and researching days each week and stick to your schedule. Organize all your notes and character sheets for easy use and access. This isn’t always easy, but knowing where and how to find your notes will make your life much easier. A series compendium or book compendium is a great thing. I use a binder and have it organized by characters, setting, notes, and more. It makes finding all my details when I need to much easier.

Schedule in breaks either by time or word count. Get up and stretch, take a walk, scroll on social media, or watch an episode of your show. Reward yourself and then get back to work. Your brain needs breaks, and you will be more productive and feel less fatigued if you take breaks intentionally. Look into the pomodoro technique specifically. And get up and get your blood moving. Grab a snack or drink so you don’t get distracted by hunger or thirst later. Your brain needs blood, so consider brief walks to get the blood and ideas flowing.

Protect your writing time. Life happens for sure, but if you’re letting everything else keep you from writing, you’re not helping yourself or your story any. Writers write, so make writing a priority. This may mean telling your loved ones and friends you will be unavailable for the next two hours, then turning your phone to airplane mode to avoid distractions.

I do not recommend editing as you go. Get the story down and save the critiquing for later when it’s time to edit. Just create. Because creating and creativity take lots of ideas and not being judgmental of those ideas to come up with something really great. Editing is the opposite. It is a time to be analytical and judgmental and critical of your ideas to perfect your story. It’s not easy to go between the two, so create when it’s time to create, and edit when it’s time to edit.

Have a goal. Whether it’s to write for an hour or getting 1000 words down, a goal will help motivate you to get started and to accomplish your goals.  Aim for something tangible and get started. But remember to keep it realistic! We do not want to consistently fail to meet our goals. It programs us to give up. Meet a realistic goal consistently instead, and build up if you need to.

Remember, not everyone can build a habit, but if you schedule intentional time to write, you will get your story down. And having a writing ritual, like listening to a certain playlist, lighting a certain candle, and having tea can help you get into the writing mindset more easily. Do you have any writing rituals or routines? Comment below and happy writing.


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