To make any kind of progress as writer, you need a routine. Every great writer of history has had some sort of pattern they followed which allowed them to make steady progress on their works. This is a job that takes discipline to get anywhere.
Without a routine, you will likely just be trying to get your writing done wherever or whenever you can do it. This is not ideal because then you can’t get into a normal flow of work and contribute steady progress to whatever it is your working on. The nice thing about writing is that with only 1 or 2 hours a day working on, say, a novel, you can still get a decent amount of work done. This is different from other art forms like music or painting where you typically need to invest a lot more time per day to develop the craft.
Whether you’re a bachelor (like me), or raising a family, it is still possible to squeeze some writing into your day. For me, I get up at 6 a.m., make breakfast, spend 60-90 minutes on writing, and then head off to work. In the evening I make time for reading, fitness, and socialization. I might take a little more time to work on a story, or a scribble a few poems, but in this case it’s all gravy because I have already gotten the day’s writing out of the way.
It would be nice to be able to spend my entire day working on the Great Canadian Novel, but due to financial constraints that is impossible unless you live in your parent’s basement, are a trust fund baby, or are awarded an arts grant.
Before I got into my set routine, I was trying to do my writing at night. This resulted in weak progress and uneven writing. When I started a regular routine and made daily progress on my works, I noticed that the quality of my writing increased and there was also the added bonus of not having the nagging thought in the back of my mind all day, “I need to get some writing done…” Getting it out of the way first allows me to go about my day more comfortably.
Having a routine is helpful everywhere in life, not just with writing. No matter what your profession is, no matter what your lifestyle is, having a routine will make things much easier on you. Your circadian rhythm must be synchronised to a specific schedule in order to get the best performance possible out of your mind and body.
So, what’s your routine?
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