Starting a Writing Routine

We all want to write. After all, we aren’t writers if we aren’t writing. But life happens. You work extra hours at your jobs, your kids are home and running rampant, you’re just exhausted and brain dead and writing is the last thing you feel up to. That’s why a writing routine is so important. We’ve all been there, but establishing a writing routine will not only lead to more writing but to better writing. Let’s look at what we should do to start one.

First we need to figure out a few things. What time do you write best? You may be a morning person who gets a few hours of work in before everyone else in the house wakes up. Or maybe you’re a night owl and get your best work done when everyone else is sleeping. Figure out when you’re most inspired and set aside time to write.

Where do you write best? Declutter your office and shut the door. Or get outside to your local park and find a bench. Or find your favorite local café and settle down for some leisurely writing as you people watch. Figure out your favorite places to write.

Customize your environment. Do you need absolute silence or some ambient music playing? Do you like it a little chilly when you write? Pay attention to details and set up the perfect surroundings for your writing.

Remove distractions. Turn off Facebook and Netflix. They will be there when you’re done writing. Instead turn your guilty pleasures into rewards. We all know you want to binge watch the last 5 seasons of your favorite show instead of writing, but don’t give in. Your writing time is important so you should treat it as such. Instead take breaks between writing and reward yourself with one (only one) episode of your show during your breaks.

  1. Write every day. This should be rule number one. Make writing a habit and show up every day to write. The words will come because you showed up. This may be hard at first, but as it becomes a habit, you’ll start writing more and writing better every time you sit down. This is what you’re working towards.

2. Do not edit as you go. This would be rule number two. Don’t edit yourself when you’re getting a first draft down, editing will come later. This is the time to let yourself create and try new things. Don’t censure yourself.

3. Set a goal. Write for an hour or for 1000 words. Set a goal for each day and meet it. Then reward yourself. Watch an episode of your show, spend twenty minutes playing that new game, go on Facebook, but then get back to work.

4. Protect your writing time. Make it a priority and don’t put it off. Life happens, but if you’re always setting your writing aside, you’re not a writer. Writers write, so hop to it.

5. Organize your time. Set aside time for research, planning, or other writing related tasks so your writing time is for just that, writing.

Write for an hour or for 1000 words. #writing #advice @hijinkswriter #ourwriteside #amwriting Click To Tweet

These things will help you set up a writing routine to improve your productivity and get you writing. What writing routines and rituals do you have? Share below and happy writing!


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J.K. Allen

Columnist/Illustrator at Our Write Side/OWS Ink, LLC
Julia Allen received her BA in Creative Writing and English from Michigan State University. She did her senior thesis in poetry under the tutelage of Diane Wakoski, but has been focused primarily on fiction as of late. Common writing themes that can be found in her work address identity and the type of strength that can be found in ordinary people. Julia is currently working on a Young Adult fantasy novel and can be found at local cafes in her hometown when writing, and painting, drawing, or reading when not.
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8 thoughts on “Starting a Writing Routine”

  1. Wendy Siefken says:

    Now, if I could just drill this into my head and do it religiously, I would be happy.

    1. Stephanie Ayers says:

      I know, right? That’s the hardest part!

    2. juliakyong says:

      This is something I have to force myself to do at times as well, but if you keep showing up, it does get a little easier. Thanks for reading

  2. Stephanie Ayers says:

    This is such a well-written and informative article. Thanks for helping me keep my writing routine in check!

    1. juliakyong says:

      Glad you found it helpful. It’s something I’ve been focusing on all week.

    2. Wendy Siefken says:

      agreed, thank you!

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