Hey there, aspiring author. Have you come up with a writing routine? If you’re serious about their craft and committed to making significant strides in your literary career, you’ll want to do that soon. A thoughtfully established routine enhances productivity, sharpens writing skills, and enables the seamless construction of interesting narratives. In this guide, we’ll explore how to create a writing routine that harmonizes with your life and creative endeavors.
This is the second post I’ve written recently about creating a writing routine, but it’s a worthy subject to revisit.
Understanding the Importance of a Writing Routine
Creating a writing routine about fostering a consistent, sustainable practice that cultivates creativity and combats the dreaded writer’s block. It provides a framework that guides you towards achieving your literary goals. Recognizing the value of a routine can transform your approach to writing from a sporadic hobby to a professional endeavor.
Setting Realistic Goals
Setting achievable, clear goals is the first step in establishing a routine that motivates and even propels you towards your larger aspirations. Whether you plan to write a set number of words each day or finish a novel chapter a week, these targets should stretch your abilities without leading to burnout. Goals act as milestones. They’re tangible evidence of your progress, and each goal met gives a sense of success that can help propel you forward.
Designating a Dedicated Writing Space
The space where you choose to write plays an important role, as it will influence your creativity and concentration. Create an environment that minimizes disruptions and also visually and emotionally inspires your writing. The wall I face at my desk has beautiful canvas portraits of my son and me; a digital picture frame rotating art that I like; my Writers of the Future Honorable Mention certificate, framed; a fantasy map from the Hero’s Journal; a Bodacious Creed calendar; a Ginny Di calendar (she’s a Dungeons and Dragons YouTuber); a picture of my D&D character, and various buttons from Disneyland and conventions. All these give me a sense of home and comfort in writing space, which makes me feel at ease and able to write well.
To generalize, tailoring your space to reflect your personal tastes and preferences can transform it into a sanctuary of creativity, where ideas flow freely and distractions remain at bay.
Crafting a Writing Schedule with Flexible Scheduling
The cornerstone of a solid writing routine is finding a consistent time each day dedicated to writing, preferably when you feel most creative and alert. I use a flexible approach to scheduling and write in between other important tasks. When I’m working on a blog, like this one, a short story, or a novel, I often work in writing sprints. That’s where I dedicate perhaps 15 to 25 minutes just to writing, and after that, I take a short break.
You probably have some sense of when you’re most productive. Try to schedule writing for that time, to fit your natural productivity peaks. This can significantly enhance the quality of your output, be it prose, poetry, or brainstorming.
Embracing Rituals and the Power of Habit
Making writing as habitual as other everyday activities can demystify the process and reduce resistance to starting each session. Small pre-writing rituals can act as cues to your brain, signaling that it’s time to shift into a creative mode. These rituals, whether it’s brewing a pot of coffee or organizing your workspace, can significantly ease the transition into a productive writing mindset. I’ll sometimes watch a few recent news videos, or free-write for ten or fifteen minutes in my journal. Since I’ve made it a habit to work on my fiction after, these rituals prime my mind for that purpose.
Using Tools and Resources
The right set of tools can make a world of difference in organizing your thoughts and maintaining focus on your writing projects. From sophisticated writing software that helps structure your narratives to simple timers that keep your writing sprints on track, these resources can ease the logistical burdens of writing. This allows you to dedicate more mental energy to the creative aspects of your work, enhancing both efficiency and enjoyment.
Some that I use include the following.
- 4thewords – If you find video games addictive, why not use that to increase your writing output? On 4thewords, you can battle various monsters and make progress through a fantasy world, all through writing. Create projects composed of individual files, keeping your writing organized here, too. In my 4thewords account, I keep my journal, win battles by pasting in the articles I write for my day job, and even organize and write the first drafts of short stories and novels.
- Scrivener – Scrivener makes it easy to organize all the parts of your books, from non-fiction to novels. It’s a robust software package that’s also affordable. And, if you don’t love the default look, you can switch to another theme. After I write my a scene into 4thewords for whatever novel I’m in the middle of, I then paste it into Scrivener.
- World Anvil – Not a writing site per-se, World Anvil is the ideal platform for world building. You can create multiple worlds, and populate them with characters, locations, and so much more. Get a glimpse at what you can do on World Anvil by checking out the world of my novels, the Creedverse. (Keep in mind that what you’ll get is just a taste of my world. I’ve made enough information public to wet the appetite for my novels, but most of the information I use in my books is private. How much information do I have? Try nearly 400,000 words so far!)
To make writing a non-negotiable part of your day, it’s crucial to establish boundaries and communicate the importance of this time to those around you. Viewing your writing as a paramount task underscores its significance in your life and ensures that it receives the respect and time it deserves. This commitment signals to both yourself and others that your writing is not merely a hobby, but a vital aspect of your identity.
Mindfulness and Breaks
Integrating mindfulness practices into your routine can significantly clear your mind and enhance your creative output. Try incorporating regular breaks and mindfulness exercises, such as meditation or leisurely walks, to rejuvenate your mind and body. These practices not only prevent burnout but also foster a mental environment where creativity can thrive, leading to richer and more nuanced writing. Also, while I write almost every day, I’ll take a day off if I’m feeling overworked, but I’ll get back to my writing the next day.
Finding Your Community
Building connections with fellow writers can offer invaluable support, motivation, and feedback on your work. Whether it’s through local writing groups, online forums, or social media platforms, engaging with a community of like-minded individuals can provide a sense of belonging and shared purpose. This network can become a source of inspiration, challenge, and encouragement, pushing you to refine your craft and persevere through challenges.
Attending conventions, first as a paying member, and later as a guest author, or a vendor, is another fantastic way to meet other writers. I have a lot of author friends, many of whom you’ve surely heard of, that I’ve met at various cons.
Keeping the Well Filled
To sustain creativity, take part in activities that fuel your imagination, whether it’s reading widely, exploring new hobbies, or simply engaging in thoughtful observation of the world around you. These experiences enrich your inner well of ideas, ensuring that you have a diverse reservoir of material to draw upon in your writing.
Reviewing and Adjusting Your Routine
An effective writing routine does not remain static. Stay open to tweaking it to ensure it continues to serve you well. It’s meant to support your growth and development as a writer.
Developing a writing routine is a personal journey that demands a blend of discipline, flexibility, and self-awareness. Embrace realistic goal-setting, create an inspiring workspace, adopt flexible scheduling, and incorporate habits and mindfulness into your practice. In this way, you can craft a routine that propels your writing forward while nurturing your creative spirit.
“Just get it down on paper, and then we’ll see what to do with it.” ~ Maxwell Perkins