Are you a writer? I bet you are. A writer is someone who writes. Still, how does a writer write, you might ask yourself, and how can I improve my writing?
The way a writer goes about writing varies greatly from writer to writer. A few writers only write when struck, like a lightning bolt, by the gift of inspiration. However, most writers credit their writing routines with the power to put their words to paper whenever they want.
A writing routine can help you tap into your inspiration at will. But what is it? A writing routine is simply a set of conditions you create in order to improve your writing quality and/or write more prolifically.
Tips for Creating a Writing Routine
When developing your own writing routine, the most important things to keep in mind are trial and error, and listening to yourself. Just try to find out what works for you and your writing. If something doesn’t work, that’s okay. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different elements of the writing routine until you find what works best.
Once you establish a writing routine, however, it might stay the same over decades, like a trusted friend, or it could change over time as you and your life evolve, like moving from one house to another. Either way, it’s okay. Your writing routine is completely yours.
Writing Routine Options to Consider
I like to think of a writing routine like a recipe for cake. Some believe that a cake must involve chocolate, while others swear by classic vanilla or the pleasures of adding fruit, liqueur or nuts. However, the real question is: What is most important to you and best for your writing? Let’s find out!
Here are some different ingredients you might consider when creating your own writing routine:
Time of Day: When do you feel most creative or productive? In the morning, the afternoon, the evening or late at night? Writing during those times could have positive effects on your writing.
Day of the Week: Depending on your schedule, a particular day of the week could be better for your writing. Does your Monday to Friday leave you feeling worn out? Try writing on the weekend when you have a little more mental space to spare. Do you have the house to yourself every Tuesday? You might try writing then.
Writing Goal: Some writers set regular goals for themselves, such as writing for two hours every day, writing 500 words every day or writing one book chapter per month. Whatever goal you might create for yourself, just be sure to set a reasonable one at the beginning. You can always increase the difficulty of your goal later once you’re consistently hitting your writing target.
Wardrobe Choice: What you wear can influence how you feel about yourself and the task at hand – in this case, writing. Do you have a particular outfit or accessory, perhaps a hat, a belt or a pair of earrings, that makes you feel especially creative when you put it on? Once you start to associate better writing with a certain wardrobe choice, putting that article of clothing on will help signal to your brain that it’s time to write. (My ex-mother-in-law wore a visor on which she had written the word “editor” – and that was the clue to the family to leave her alone because she was writing.)
Noise: Does noise distract you or encourage your creativity? If you write best in a quiet environment, make that a central feature of your writing routine. Conversely, if noise tends to bring out your best work, there are many things you could try experimenting with, such as different music genres, volume levels or even if it’s “music” at all. You might find that a white noise machine, chanting CD or a “restaurant sounds” soundtrack does the trick for you.
Other People: While the presence or absence of other people for your writing routine is often associated with noise levels, that’s not necessarily the case, particularly if you own a pair of noise-canceling headphones. Some writers naturally want to write when no one else is around to see them or bother them, cherishing the “room of one’s own” mentality. Other writers thrive in an environment where there are always lots of people around, such as a cafe, restaurant, airport lounge or at home if you have a large family.
Tools: A good writing routine takes into account the tools that will help you get the job done well. Do you write best on your laptop? On your desktop computer? With a pen and a notepad? With a pencil and some loose-leaf sheets of paper? Do you write best when sitting on a couch? Sitting at a desk in an ergonomic office chair? Sitting on a straight-backed chair (perhaps in your dining room or in a cafe)? What about reference materials? Do you prefer to flip through the pages of reference books? Or consult tons of websites? Or fill notebooks with your research? There are plenty of tools you might use to help yourself write.
Time to Experiment
These are just some of the options to consider for developing your own writing routine. Have you tried any of them? I invite you to share with me in the comments what your writing routine currently looks like!