It can be a struggle to sit down and write. We want to get writing done, but there is something scary about starting. We’ll go through our emails, look through social media, do the laundry, or get a snack before we can get ourselves to start writing. This procrastination becomes a habit, but we can get rid of it, and to do that we need to replace it with an intentional routine.
We all have routines in our day. We go to work at a specific time, have coffee in the morning, eat lunch at noon, and watch TV at night. When we have too many days of the unexpected, we often get tired and long for routine, because a routine is comfortable, isn’t scary, and that is why a routine for writing is exactly what we need.
A synonym for the word routine is schedule, and to schedule when we write is a great idea. When I don’t know what my day looks like, I get stuck on deciding when I should write, or, really, when to do anything.
My usual schedule is to write in the afternoon and sometimes in the evening. When I was writing my novel’s rough draft, I would work on it for two hours every evening.
When we schedule a time to write, that cuts out the time in our day when we are deciding when we should write. That question is already answered, so we can just follow the schedule.
And soon enough, we will get used to writing as a normal activity in our day, and it will be easier and less scary to do. Like anything else you do on a daily basis, your brain will start to tell you that it is time to write and will switch to thinking of that activity.
As with time, it can benefit you to have a specific spot where you write. Whenever you come to that spot, you will know that it is time to get down to work.
It can be your desk, kitchen table, or coffee shop table, just someplace you go to write. My normal workplaces recently have been my desk for blogposts and my bed for story writing.
I do believe your spot can be changed up as you see fit, but it is helpful when you’re starting a routine to have a designated spot for writing. Then when you come to that spot, you will know its time to write.
A routine also goes beyond the where and when, it reaches to what you do leading up to your writing.
I will often make tea, coffee, or get water before I write. I don’t only do this out of thirst or need for caffeine (though that is certainly true), but I use it as a way to intentionally prepare me for writing. When I am making up my special mug of tea, I am doing so intending to write.
The second part of my routine is picking a music playlist off of Youtube or Spotify to listen to. I love to find good music, so it is an incentive on the hard days to write when I know I can pick music that I’ll enjoy listening to.
Maybe you already do similar activities as you procrastinate. Now just take those activities and do them intentionally for writing. Take a walk, make yourself a snack to munch on, whatever you look forward to doing, do it as a part of your writing routine.
When you enjoy the process in preparing to write, you are more likely to start writing.
When we have a routine we cut out the indecisions of when we should write and when we should check our emails. We can begin our day knowing when we will write, and look forward to the little things we can do beforehand in our preparation.
While doing the unexpected can be a boost to our creativity, a routine is key in writing consistently. Save the spontaneity for special occasions, and get down to business on the rest, and enjoy it.
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Take ten minutes today to make a writing routine. Now try it out. Remember to be consistent. It takes time to build up a routine, but if you keep it up it will become a part of your everyday life.
What is your routine? Share in the comments and take a look at your fellow writer’s routines.