How to create a writing routine?
There are some days when the last thing I want to do is write. I’m not in the mood I don’t have any ideas, I’m tired, there’s a new series on Netflix. The list of excuses is endless.
But I don’t have a choice. Writing is my job, so I have to show up every day (well 5/6 days a week at least) and write whether I like it or not.
Writing is like working out for me. If I get into a routine where I do it every day even on the days I don’t want to it’s easier to get up and do it. And I never want to workout. It’s just a necessary task since I love to eat.
Most writers I know feel that their writing routine is important for the same reasons. Writing isn’t always fun. It takes mental energy and focus. So how can you get into a routine, so you write even when you don’t want to?
1. Make your writing a priority. If you want to be a full-time author, then this is tantamount to anything else you might do unless it’s family-related. Family always comes first. I’m a big believer in balance. You want to have time to work, for play, to exercise, and spend time with friends and family. But if sometimes you do need to make a choice and put your writing first. That’s life.
2. Set small goals and work toward bigger goals. Don’t set yourself up for failure by setting a goal that’s not realistic. If you’re struggling to get into a routine, then start small. After you can maintain a small goal, you can increase it slowly until you’re at the place you want to be. Again I’ll use the working out analogy. You don’t go out and try to run 5 miles a day when you start out. You might run a half mile for a week then bump up to a mile. Slow progression will make it more likely to stick to it.
3. Try to schedule your time, so you write at the same time daily. We all have different times of the day when we’re more alert and creative. Mine is in the morning and I also know writing when my kids are home is almost impossible. I need uninterrupted time to think. So I schedule my weekday writing as soon as the kids leave for school. Before I check email and get distracted with other things.
4. Write every day even if it’s just 5 minutes. 100 words. I was at the RWA conference and one of the authors speaking said if you have a hard time finding time to write aim to write 100 words a day. You’ll often find yourself writing more and knowing you only have to write 100 makes it less daunting. And you’ll be less inclined to put it off. When I went to the conference, I was in a bit of a writing slump. I tried this technique to get myself back in the groove, and it worked. Within a few days, I was back in my normal routine.
5. Feel good. Sometimes we are so hard on ourselves. Yes it’s important to have goals, it’s important to meet a certain word count to meet deadlines, but you’re only human. Sometimes you’ll have a bad day and not get in the writing you want. Or something will come up totally not expected, and you’ll miss your goal. It’s ok. If you beat yourself up, you won’t be in the right frame of mind to get your writing done.
What tips and tricks do you use to get a routine going?
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