Everything I’ve ever read about writing routine says that you’re better off when writing becomes a habit; find some way to carve out some time each day to write. I would definitely say this is true for me. The more habitual my writing becomes, the more productive I am with it and the more creative and satisfied I feel.
Sure, there are times of much higher productivity: those times when an idea in my head won’t shut up and, for my own sanity, I am forced to sit down and write it every single day. But I am not always lucky enough to have such a pushy idea bumping around in my brain. And, at the same time, I am lucky enough to not always have such a pushy idea bumping around in my brain. It’s both invigorating and exhausting, inspiring and stressful.
Lately, I’ve not had many pushy ideas bumping around. And when an idea isn’t so pushy, I am less likely to carve out a time to write. Additionally, my favorite time of day to write -early morning- is no longer a choice, and I’ve struggled with that over the past year. But it was finally time to get back into a solid writing routine. I used to spend 10-15 hours a week writing, and I know that this might not be possible right now, without a pushy idea and mornings free until 8:45. But I know I need to at least try with the time that I have.
So, out of this came my resolution to journal at least 5 days a week, and my ‘Tuesday Night School of Writing,’ so to speak. Alex is at work until 6:30 on Tuesday nights, so I have a few hours of alone-time to kill after work. What better way to spend it than invested in my writing?!
Knowing that 4:30-6:30 on Tuesdays is blocked off for writing helps me immensely. It becomes just as important as Wednesday yoga, or going to work, or anything else in my schedule. I’ve found that setting specific times makes it less negotiable to myself.
I’ve realized also that without a pushy idea hangin around, I needed to give myself some structure. I thought that this ‘lull’ time would be a good time for some extra learning. So I chose to read and complete the exercises in ‘Courage and Craft’ by Barbara Abercrombie on Tuesday nights. I usually sandwich this between at least 15 minutes of free-writing and 10 minutes of journaling, giving the next pushy idea some time to come forward.
So far so good. Even when it feels like there’s nothing that needs written, it feels good to keep writing and searching out ideas.
Do you have any tips for developing a writing routine?