Useful Tips for Establishing a Writing Routine
Updated: Jun 13, 2021
A daily writing routine is necessary because it gives writers structure to develop good work habits. Even if you're the most creative individual alive, nobody else is going to know if you never finish anything. If you ever expect to become a published author or respected copywriter, commitment and discipline will help you get there.
Useful Tips for Establishing a Writing Routine
Even though every person is different, establishing a writing routine helps curb procrastination. For instance, some people write full-time, while others only write part-time. If you're a single parent, it's a constant juggling act between your personal life and work. By scheduling a routine that fits your personal schedule, you will become more productive. Check out the following useful tips for establishing a writing routine.
Change Your Mindset
First, let's get something straight. You don't "have" to be a writer. You don't "have" to write a blog, books, or anything else for that matter. If you have even the tiniest smidgen of talent, consider yourself fortunate. If you have the opportunity to work remotely, consider yourself lucky. Some people would give anything to be in your shoes. When you see writing as something you "have" to do, it can seem like a detested chore you'd rather put off until tomorrow.
Change the way you think about writing. You "get" to be a writer. You "get" to create a magical stream of words that help your clients sell their products. The best part is that they pay you for your writing! You, the wonderful person that you are, "get" to set your work hours. You don't fight rush hour traffic or worry about pissing off your boss because of a missed deadline. Sure, you have deadlines, but you get to determine your own schedule to meet them. Remember, you chose this. If you don't like it, you can always do something else.
Create an Exclusive Workspace at Home
Every freelancer, especially writers, should create an exclusive workspace at home that is free of distractions. If you're working with the television or radio on, it may negatively impact your writing productivity. Whether you choose to work at a desk or while sitting on the couch, find a comfy spot where you can focus on writing.
Figure Out Your Best Writing Times
Part of establishing a routine is figuring out when you write better. Some writers find it easier to crank out the words early in the morning, and others write better in the evening. Writing every day during your peak writing times is immensely beneficial. If you're not sure when you're most productive, try writing at different times of the day over a few weeks. Take note of your progress to help you determine your best writing times.
Personally, even though I'm fully capable of writing during the day, I'm far more productive after I've put my kids to bed. It's dark, quiet, and completely free from distractions. Unfortunately for me, my writing groove is not conducive to my personal life because I have to get up pretty early to get my kids off to school in the morning. If I stay up past midnight, it tends to be a painfully exhausting day.
Making Writing Goals
Speaking of creating a healthy daily routine, set writing goals. Figure out your main word target and break it up into smaller daily writing goals. For example, if you're writing a novel and would like to hit about 40,000 words, divide your target word count into sections.
Be realistic about your daily writing goals. If you work a full-time job and only have an hour to spare for writing, it's impractical to set a daily goal of 5,000 words. Plus, word volume is not always an indication of productive writing. You could crank out 10,000 words in a day but only end up with 2,000 words of useful writing. Create goals that fit your needs.
Write Down Your Goals
After you've decided on short-term and long-term goals, write them down. Write them on a whiteboard or write them on sticky notes. You could even write them on large sheets of paper to hang up on the well. Put them in a place where you can see them every time you start to work.
Also, it's helpful to write down the exact number of words you've written every day. Total them up to compare your target writing goal with your actual numbers. This will give you an accurate picture of whether or not you are surpassing your goals.
Find an Effective Writing Method
Planting your rear in the chair to crank out a ton of writing is not as easy as it seems. Test out a variety of methods to find a writing method that works best for you. For example, set a timer for 15 to 30 minutes and write until the timer rings. You could even set the timer for an hour, but remember you need to stay focused when you begin.
This is really more about getting out of your head to put something—anything—on the page. It's daunting to stare at a blank page with its blinking cursor, taunting you and seemingly laughing because you haven't written anything yet. When you set the timer, start writing. It could be complete garbage, but at least you've got words on the page. It's not nearly as intimidating at that point. Plus, once the time is up, you can take a break or move on to a different task.
Stick to Your Schedule
Once you've gone through the effort of establishing a writing routine, stick to your schedule as much as possible. Life happens sometimes, but overall don't waiver in your discipline. There is nothing wrong with taking a day off here and there, but if you want to be taken seriously, then you're going to write even when you don't feel much like writing. Your daily habits determine whether you fail or succeed. If you want to be a writer, then sit down somewhere and write.