I recently wrote about being a productive writer, and part of productivity is having a routine.
Maybe you want to write the next Great American Novel, or be the next big blogger, or do something that requires you to write. Maybe you feel like it’s a lot of work.
That’s because writing is a lot of work.
How do you find time to sit down and write hundreds or thousands of words per day in the busy, modern world? Between social media, dating sites, reading blogs, and doing a million other things, it can be hard to find the time to sit down and crank out the next chapter in your novel.
The key to your productivity is developing a writing routine.
What is a writing routine?
A writing routine is the combination of steps you take every time you write, including, but not limited to, the time of day you sit down to write, the music you listen to, and even the snacks/drinks you have on hand.
Your writing routine should be combination of your environment(s), time of day, and behavior that helps reduce your anxiety and increase your creativity and productivity.
For example, part of my personal writing routine includes:
- Writing in the mornings before client work AND writing in the evenings after client work
- A fresh cup of coffee in the morning
- My favorite notebook and pen nearby for note taking
- A Pinterest tab open to refer back to my inspiration boards
I seriously wouldn’t get anything done without the above routine, especially the fresh coffee! Your writing routine will probably look completely different than that, and that’s ok. Every writer has a different process, different preferences, and different needs.
How does a writing routine help you be more productive?
Getting and/or staying focused is difficult, and having a routine eliminates those problems.
A routine forces you to focus and eliminate the non-essential tasks that otherwise distract you. If you know that your routine includes writing at 7 AM, drinking your fresh coffee, and looking at your Pinterest board, it’s easier to get in the zone and start pumping out your writing.
If you just try to fly by the seat of your pants, it’s easier to get distracted by Facebook, Twitter, and the plethora of other distractions both on- and offline.
As you go to develop your routine, consider what works and what doesn’t. Try different things. Jot down what’s helping and hindering you. This will help you refine your process and find your groove faster.
Writing routine ideas
So, what goes into a writing routine?
As I said above, your writing routine is very personal. But, I’ve got some ideas to get you started!
- Create a writing retreat. Your writing space should feel good and have everything you need. Have good lighting, the notebooks and reference books you need, and a comfy place to sit. Bonus points if you decorate the space with your favorite and most inspiring things!
- Keep your favorite drinks and snacks handy. Writers need fuel, and you might as well have your favorite food and drink while you work! I like to eat healthy snacks while I write to keep my energy levels up, and I always have coffee around.
- Reduce distractions. Yes, Netflix is great, and so is Twitter, but both distract you. Turn them off!
- Write when you have the most energy. If you’re a morning lark, get up a little earlier and set aside time to write. if you’re a night owl, set aside time to write in the evenings.
Want to learn more?
My book Productivity for Creative Writers: Refining Your Process and Building a System that Works for You visits the subject of productivity, including how to build a routine that works for you. You can also read more about productivity here on the Between the Lines Editorial blog.