Okay, I admit it - I like routines! I love knowing what I’m going to do and when I’m going to do it. Having a set time to for work and a set time for fun is really helpful for me. With September right around the corner, and the kids heading back to school, I’m counting the days to get back to a solid writing schedule. Finding time to write is one of the biggest complaints aspiring authors have, so I thought it would be fun to see what tips other writers have for creating a writing routine.
Block your time,
Plan ahead, and
Track your progress.
When you block your time by planning when you are going to write and putting it on your calendar, you are more likely to show up and do it. Planning ahead helps you avoid writer’s block by brainstorming what you will write about before your writing session. Tracking your progress acts as motivation for you to keep showing up and writing during those times you’ve blocked off in your calendar.
The Writer’s Edit website also suggests tracking your progress as a way to maintain writing momentum. A solid writing routine is the one thing that will turn you into a prolific writer and the website provides these seven useful tips for establishing a writing routine.
Set goals and establish your routine around them,
Adopt a “making time, not finding time” mindset,
Determine your most creative/productive time of day,
Create a dedicated writing space,
Try different writing methods to determine which works best,
Set your writing commitment in stone, and
Stick to it!
Number five is my favourite. I get bored easily and mixing up writing methods helps me stick to it. Different ways to write include using writing prompts, word sprints, writing by hand, and the Pomodoro technique.
Setting a small daily writing goal is the first step of the six simple steps to create daily writing habits discussed by Pamela Hodges in a post for The Write Practice website. She also writes about lowering the barrier - our writing doesn’t have to be perfect, we just have to write! Writing whenever you can and getting off social media are also included in Pamela’s tips. I love this quote she shares from Cheryl Strayed.
“Writing is hard...Coal mining is harder. Do you think miners stand around all day talking about how hard it is to mine for coal? They do not. They simply dig.”
If you have a day job and you’re reading this thinking, “Yeah, but…,” Alessandro Tinchini has some great tips for creating a writing schedule that helps you write 1,000 words per day while working a day job. His six ways to keep a strong writing schedule include getting enough sleep, setting up part of your day that’s just for writing and just for reading, using your day job for inspiration (one of my favourites), using other people’s writing as inspiration, taking advantage of free writing courses, and rewarding yourself for sticking to your schedule.
Whether you are writing full time or on the side, I hope you will find some helpful tips to keep up with your writing through a daily schedule. If you have some tips that I didn’t include, please share them in the comments. I love to hear what works for other writers.