Setting up a Writing Routine for the New Year

Setting up a Writing Routine for the New Year
January 3, 2017 No Comments » For Authors, Writing Advice J.K. Allen

So the new year is here and you’ve made some goals for your writing in 2017. But life is busy and resolutions are so easy to break, especially when writer’s block hits. So how do we stay writing every day? With a writing routine.

First you have to determine your ideal writing conditions. Do you write best getting up at dawn and getting a couple of hours in before everyone else wakes up? Or do you do best staying up an extra couple hours at night while the world sleeps? Do you need complete silence or your favorite playlist? Instrumental music or vocals you can sing along to? Do you have to be alone in your office with the door closed or in a crowded café people watching in between paragraphs? Figure out what works best for you and incorporate it into your writing routine.

Now that you’ve figured out those details, schedule your writing time and make it a priority. If you are serious about your writing you havce to treat your writing time that way. Treat it as a job or other important task. Tell your loved ones and friends when you’ll be writing and ask them to respect that time by not interrupting you. It’s best to schedule the same time every day to get your brain working on a schedule as well.

Remove distractions. Turn off Facebook and Netflix. Turn off your phone or put it on silent in a drawer. This time is for writing only and Facebook will still be there when you’re done writing. Eliminate your distractions and get to writing.

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Set writing goals. Whether this is to write for an hour or to write for 5,000 words, have something to strive for. This will keep you from giving up early. Even if your goal is small, just to write a page a day, it will give you something to work towards. And those pages add up.

Schedule in breaks. If you write for an hour, give yourself 15 minutes to unwind. Check your phone, look at Facebook, walk around, read a few pages, then get back to work. But it’s important to give yourself breaks so you don’t burn yourself out. The pomodoro technique is based on the concept of taking breaks. You write for 25 minutes then take a 5 minute break. Do this for three or four times then take a longer 20 minute break. This keeps your brain from getting frazzled and keeps you productive and focused.

Do not edit as you go. Don’t censor yourself or limit your creativity by editing while you’re creating. Get the story down. Editing comes later.

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Reward yourself. When you make your goal, treat yourself. Watch an episode of your favorite show or have some ice cream. Treat yourself to something special right after you make your goal so your subconscious will associate the treat with writing and feeling satisfied. Don’t use everyday things as your reward.

Protect your writing time and set up your writing routine today. Writing daily has many benefits, including combatting writer’s block. When do you write best? Do you have any writing rituals? Share below and happy writing.


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J.K. Allen 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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