What are we? writers, what do we need to do? write 😅.
Hey guys, I am back with rock solid writing routine 101. There are so many kinds of writers, from published ones to sad ones, to old ones and happy ones and those who struggle every day to write because whether you believe it or not writing is hard.
Before I dive into writing routine building, let me share some writing tips that some writers always ignore.
- Writers Need To Write; You know it, I know it. A book doesn’t write itself, but so many writers prefer to read writing memes on Tumblr or Instagram than actually writing. So while this fact is always ignored, it would burn your writing journey down to the ground.
- Be Deliberate; You need to build a deliberate writing practice by studying the collective experience of other writers.
Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.
- Systems Work; I think what stops us in our tracks as writers is lack of confidence, the doubt that there’s someone out there that will read our work, so this leads to procrastination. Having a writing system set up will enhance your creative process, so trust the system.
- Being Optimistic Rewards; Some writers get up and produce masterpieces immediately while this doesn’t happen for everyone you need to be positive that your writing will get better and your writing goals will be accomplished.
- If You Can Do The Work You Can Do It; if you can put in the hours behind the computer, you can be an efficient writer, that’s exciting 💃
Now Let’s Dive Into 9 Steps To Your Rock Solid Writing Routine
1. Kill Procrastination
If for anything, writers are masters of procrastination. It’s rather easier to scroll through the feeds of Instagram than writing.
Use the Pomodoro challenge, Pomodoro is the Italian word for tomato. Pomodoro challenge is the time management technique that increases your productivity and enables you to complete your tasks in an efficient way.
The Procedure Is Simple;
- Choose one task to do.
- Set your alarm to 25 minutes.
- Work on the task until the timer rings.
- Take a short break of 3-5 minutes.
- Continue the task after setting the timer again.
- Take a longer break after each ring than the previous one.
Don’t let the muggles get you down.
2. Tackle Writer’s Block
There are different variations to what writer’s block actually is, but in simpler words writer’s block is when your writing grinds to a halt, a complete standstill. This is not a disease and is completely normal to lose steam in your writing projects.
Free Write; This simply means jotting down rough sentences or phrases, basically everything that comes to mind about a possible topic. This lasts for a limited time of 5-10 minutes, when free writing write whatever comes to mind regardless of it’s relevance to your topic, don’t worry about finding the right words to deliver your message. Freewriting is writing without censoring, editing or judging yourself, your initial ideas and impressions will become clearer after you have put them on paper which may lead to other ideas later.
Read: Read the last paragraph, page or chapter of your writing, that will inspire new ideas to keep you writing.
Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down.
3. Schedule Your Writing Time
We all want to be published authors, but we also have our daily lives to attend to, work, school, family, kids, and even some unfortunate events that occur from time to time. So how do you find the time to write? You plan, plan your writing time and make it a non-negotiable fixture in your schedule. That is the greatest secret to writing consistently. The hardest part of writing is sitting down to actually to write. Creating a routine and schedule is extremely essential for your growth. Building a schedule could be your least favourite thing in the world, but they work.
Create a spreadsheet, fill in your no writing time, this is the time you cannot afford to write, highlight it red. Secondly, fill in your maybe writing time, this are times you might be able to write in, highlight it yellow. Thirdly, fill in your write now time, this are the times you definitely will be able to write, highlight them green. Looking at your spreadsheet, create a writing schedule and stick with it, you can be flexible as well. As time goes you can adjust your different times or alter your schedule to suit your current life patterns and activities. Focus on when you feel the most productive and creative and fix your schedules around these times and don’t forget to be kind to yourself. Write when best suits you, if after work works for you, schedule that time, if in the morning at 3 am is your Write Now Time, schedule it as well, whatever writing routine suits your life is what’s best for you.
TIP: You can use sticky notes if you are not very good with spreadsheets or if you are just old fashioned like me 😉.
Some daily routines of great writers are:
- Stephen King writes 6 pages a day.
- Ernest Hemingway writes every morning.
- Haruki Murakami writes for 5-6 hours every day from 4 am.
- Maya Angelou writes for 5 hours every day.
- Alice Munro starts writing at 8 am and stops at 11 am.
- John Updike writes every weekday in the morning.
- Leo Tolstoy writes every day.
- Charles Dickens wrote from 9 am till 2 pm.
4. Make Your Writing Time Sacred
Let your writing time be as sacred as your mealtimes.
Publicize It; If you are a busy mum and the only time you have scheduled is your kid’s nap time you don’t want to be sidetracked by something or someone, so you want to actually tell close people in your life your scheduled sacred time, so they don’t call or come see you for one reason or the other.
5. Create Writing Goals
Napoleon Hill once said there is one quality that one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants and a burning desire to achieve it.
You have to know what you want and have a strong desire to achieve it, this are your writing goals, what do you want to achieve and how much do you want to achieve that? When you set a goal, you’re simply giving yourself something to aim at, a target to hit. That target can be big or small. Create one and stay focused on achieving it. A goal gives you a sense of direction and it means that you know when you’ve achieved it, that’s progress😎😊.
Setting a goal requires some key traits;
- Clarity: This is the most important concept in personal productivity, you have to be crispy clear about your objectives, this will help you not to deviate from them. To achieve this, decide exactly what you want in your writing, afterwards write it down. Secondly, set a deadline for this goal, afterwards create a list of everything that you can think of that you are going to have to do achieve your goal. Thirdly, organise your list into a plan and lastly take action on your plan immediately.
- Goal Setting: This is a powerful tool to help you achieve your writing ambitions, so use it to move your project forward, you cannot go wrong with goal setting, so start now.
I gave myself the modest goal to be published in a literary magazine by the age of 70.
6. Track Your Progress
As a writer, we pass different phases of writing journey, we learn and unlearn things as we grow. If you want to write regularly you need to take on some new habits and maybe ditch an old one. Tracking your writing behaviour helps you experiment with things. You get to see what works and what doesn’t. It also helps you manage your time efficiently. This is also a great way to get motivated while writing your book or novel.
Get a calender (paper calender/online calender) or a journal (a physical notebook/note apps&softwares)
Firstly, set a feasible goal to track your writing for a week (start small), secondly track all your productive writing times, habits and the frequency of your writing. You could choose to track your word count or the length of time you spend writing.
After the first week of tracking, analyze your progress and assess how you are doing. How exciting 😋. Some patterns have begun to emerge here. After doing this for a while, it is okay to modify your goals as you go along. Tracking your writing is super useful in giving you the motivation to continue, so try it.
A writer, like an athlete, must train every day.
7. Reward King
With every milestone in your story, give yourself a reward, this milestones should not be big milestones like finishing a chapter, it could be small like finishing a page or a scene. When you reward yourself after a mini victory, it makes you look forward to your next writing time.
When you set your writing goals, plan on how you’re going t reward yourself when you achieve it. Set appropriate rewards for each daily increment too, celebrate big wins as well like going to your favourite restaurants to eat after completing a chapter or a major milestone in your story.
Regard every new page as a small triumph
8. Kill Your Distractions
If you are anyone like me my attention span is like that of a child when writing, I could easily get sidetracked by notifications from social media. Having a deep level of concentration is hard when your phone is going off every 10 minutes, it is very easy to get distracted especially when you’re starting out or if the ideas aren’t flowing. It’s all too easy to get sidetracked and let procrastination consume you. This used to be a big struggle for me but here are a few strategies which I will share with you to increase your focus.
- Put Your Phone Away: If you use your laptop to write before you sit down to write put your phone in a different location from your writing space, this will enable you to stay focused when using your computer, away from all the notifications from social media.
- Disable Your Wifi: When writing on your computer, if your wifi connection is on, there are tendencies of email notifications or notifications from social media coming in, so turn it off or disconnect your computer before you start writing. This also applies to your mobile phone if you use it to write as well.
- Take A Break: This applies when you can’t stay focused. Take a short break for a change of scene or to grab a snack. This will help you stay refreshed to get back to writing.
Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.
9. Accountability Is Key
Having some one to be accountable to about your writing goals increases your chances of achieving them by 70%.
- Tell Some One: Tell a close friend or family member about your writing goals so they can help you stay on track.
- Join A Group: Joining a writing group is significant to your writing success, writing groups create great ways to get feedback and stay accountable to one another.
- Join A Challenge: Staying accountable with a group of people in a writing project can motivate your writing and increase your productivity, it helps to keep you on your toes. It also gives a sense of belonging.
- Join A Critique Group: Critique groups are great for constructive criticism and solid feedbacks. If you are looking to join one, start here.
Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.
Yay, you got to the end 💃💃. I am super excited about your next writing project. Now, go write fully armed with your rock solid writing routine.