Welcome writers! Whether you come here all the time or you’re new, we’re glad you stopped by. September’s topic was all about “Creating Your Writing Routine.” September often means a time of return—whether it’s kids returning to school or fall is on its way for us Northern Hemisphere folks—and many people's routines change after summer. That's no different for writers. But getting into a routine can be a challenge, especially if you don't know where to start. Here are some tips and suggestions we hope you’ll find helpful:
- Discover what time of day you are most creative. Are those creative juices flowing best right after you wake up in the morning? Or are you an evening person? A total night owl after everyone is in bed? If you aren’t sure, try out different times and see if there’s one that’s best. Once you know, own your creative time and use that to your advantage.
- Be intentional with your writing space. As silly as this is going to sound, but do something intentional when you sit down to write. Light a specific candle. Wear a hat you only wear while writing. Have an “only when writing” coffee cup. If you’re someone who needs to get some movement in before you can write, have a specific walking path you take before you dive in. All of those can aid in framing your mind that it's time to write.
- Prepare your writing space beforehand as much as you can. Have what you need prepared well before you write. If you’re a morning writer and need some coffee, set your coffee up the night before. Brew Later is a magical feature my friends. Get your computer or notebooks or whatever you use to write with where you write. Leave your headphones there if you use them. Eliminate as many obstacles between you and your writing as you can.
- Learn your pacing. Discover what pacing works best for you. Do you thrive with huge chunks of time? Block some off in your schedule! If that sounds overwhelming, think about smaller sets of time with breaks as you need them. One key thing to remember from this is that we all work differently. There’s no right answer on how to pace yourself.
- Write every day. Or at least try to. Even if it’s a sentence, that’s still writing and it’s still more words than you had the day before. Every day might also not mean literally every day. It’s every day you want to set out to write—maybe you need one day a week that’s a writing break. Have that day be a specific day that is consistently your day off and write the rest of them. There will be days where writing is harder than others and that’s completely normal. And remember, the words don’t have to be perfect, that’s what editing (and revising and editing and you get the point) is for.
- Have a dedicated writing space. Have a specific place that’s for you to write (hopefully mostly undisturbed at that). Where you write doesn’t have to be fancy or even at a desk—it might not be a space you technically own, like a specific coffee table at a local shop—it’s your space for you and your writing! It falls in line with the whole being intentional bullet point above. It’s a cue to your mind that it’s time to write.
Okay, so those were all tips for starting your routine, but it’s just as important to have consistent ways to end your writing session. Here are some ideas on how to end:
- Stop mid-sentence. Some writers stop in the middle of a sentence so that when they come back for their next writing session, they can pick up where they left off. Who knows, it could even help boost your excitement for diving back in later! Other’s leave notes to themselves in the margins. Try it out, see if either of those are helpful for you.
- Track your progress. If you’re familiar with NaNoWriMo, the idea of progress tracking may not be so new to you, but this isn’t a tool that has to be limited to NaNoWriMo! If something like that is motivational for you and helps you maintain your routine, there are some fun ways to use tracker charts to do this. Some writers do it by word count goals or by recording a daily writing habit. There have been some very creative ways to use trackers too. Some writers have a picture that slowly gets colored in as they meet each goal. Bullet journals can work well for this!
- Have a little self-care. As part of your ending routine, have self-care in there. Keep that well of yours full by taking care of you. It can be something simple, like listening to your favorite music or song, a quick meditation—whatever makes sense to you and leaves you feeling good. And don’t skip it.
Well, that sums up our September tips around building a writing routine. Thanks again for stopping by and we hope you found these ideas helpful!
Next month’s theme is Creating Spooky Atmospheres and Moods. Tune into Instagram and Twitter for helpful tips on writing characters that feel real. See you in October!