Not many of us can say that we are full time writers, not even most published writers. We are often trying to fit our writing around jobs, family and life. It’s important for the writer to establish a routine, to commit yourself to a time and place that suits you. Whether it’s getting up an hour before everyone else in the house, not watching the nine o’clock news on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so that you can dedicate that time to write, is all part of establishing your routine.
Routines keep our writing flowing and can help us when we’re stuck. Do you sit in a café on the other side of town? Do you light a candle before you start? Do you leave a sentence half-written from the day before? Whatever you do, routines are important.
Here are some articles and podcasts with some great advice about establishing your writing routine.
This excellent article talks about being realistic when setting yourself goals and advises you to build your routine around these goals. It has some really important advice about making time not finding time. If your writing is important to you, you have to prioritise it and commit to it.
You have the option to listen or read this article. Kristen Kieffer introduces habit tracking and tells us that by tracking your writing routine, you can identify key insights and areas that you need to improve, such as: where and when you complete your best work, what circumstances zap your creative energy and what interrupts your focus and motivation. She believes that by doing this, you can improve your focus and efficiency.
Masterclass gives the writes five benefits of having a writing routine and ten tips for creating one.
Writer Mag explains the importance of starting a ritual, setting yourself targets, self-care for the writer, and focusing. It emphasises the need to debrief, improve and repeat your writing routine to help you find and adjust to one that works for you.
In this podcast/ blog, setting realistic goals as part of your writing routine is emphasised. Tiered goals: maintenance, stretch and recovery goals are set according to your creative energy levels.
We are always talking about learning from other writers. Take on board what they’ve tried and tested. What works for them might work for you too, or you might be able to use some of their tips. In this great podcast series, Dan Simpson looks inside the daily routines of published writers such as Liz Nugent, Ian Rankin, Shari Lapena and Val McDermid.
Another blog/podcast by Kristen Kieffer. Here she talks about five principles to help you make a more conscious effort to prioritise your writing.
The most important thing about writing is to keep doing it. Whether you can carve out half an hour during your lunch break or a goal of three hundred words a day, it’s all about keeping going. It might be a time goal that you set, a word count or a particular scene or chapter. Find a routine that suits you and stick to it. I hope this week’s column has been helpful for you. If there is any particular writing topic you want me to cover, please get in touch.
(c) Lucy O’Callaghan