Time and time again as blog hop, I discover that many of my fellow book bloggers are also aspiring writers. I say aspiring, because although many (like me) have the urge to write, think of stories, and plan writing projects, we all struggle to sit down and put words on the page. We find ourselves coming with up reasons to not write.
It’s not the right time. I need to finish my outline. I’m too busy. I’m not feeling inspired. All of these excuses pile up and it becomes easy to work on anything but our novels.
I find myself wondering all the time how people like Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo do it. Obviously, they are super successful authors who can afford to make writing their main priority and they have deadlines which publishers, editors, agents, etc. hold them to those deadlines. But how do they do it? Do they have more fun when they’re writing? Is there something mystical that sets them apart from us?
The more I think about it, I think the answer is alarmingly simple; they have writing routines.
Why Develop a Writing Routine
When I say writing routine, I mean these established know when they are going to sit down and write each day. They know where they will work. They know how they are going to work. They may have a quiet part of their home where they do nothing but write. They may turn off their phones and wi-fi to eliminate distractions. Maybe they go somewhere more conducive than their homes for a productive work environment.
It’s important to know where you need to go and what you need to do to to avoid being distracted. Just the way you could explain your whole night-time routine (everything you use and explanations for why) you should know your ideal writing routine.
It may take some experimenting with different times of day or locations. You may find it necessary to get everything else that needs to get done in your life first (e.g. homework, chores, errands) so these things are not in the back of your mind.
Once you have your writing routine down pat, you will find that it’s easier to get into that writing mindset where you are not waiting for inspiration to strike or for divine intervention to somehow produce your novel’s words with little effort on your own part. Writing is work. It takes time. You need to put in the time if you ever want to be able to hold your book in your hands.
The main reason to develop a writing routine: If you are sitting down to write regularly, you learn how to diagnose the problems that may easily set you back right now.
- Don’t like your story anymore? Think about why you feel that way now. Brainstorm options to fix whatever caused you to see your story differently from when you first decided it was the story you wanted to tell.
- Don’t know what to write next? Think about a scene that sounds more fun that the one than the one that might technically come next. Maybe you can stop writing and jump back into planning mode. If you didn’t have an outline before, make one now so that you can think about your story from a more holistic perspective. It all counts as working on your novel.
- Don’t like how the words have come out? Remember that it’s easier to edit a bad draft than no draft at all! If there’s no rush to finish up your current draft, maybe you could spend some tie editing the words you just wrote. Make them pretty and you might find it motivating to continue writing because you’ve had a glimpse of what will ultimately be.
Finding Your Writing Routine
We are all different. We all lead different lives, have different home situations, and different life commitments. Everyone will need to do some experimenting until they find the writing routine that works best for them.
I’ve always found it easiest to write in the early mornings before most people are awake and when I am working with my writing buddy. But she’s not always available, so I have needed to think about why I find it easier to work with her. For one, it keeps me on task. I couldn’t very well watch YouTube or pick up a book when she can see and hear what I’m doing. I also like our breaks where we’re able to talk about what we’ve written and bask in our excitement together.
I’ve found writing these Novel Progress updates are similarly rewarding to talking to my writing buddy. I can share my excitement and progress with you all, feeling encouraged by your feedback in the form of comments and views. I also get the satisfaction of knowing that others out there may find themselves inspired to write by reading about how my own writing is going.
So that’s additional motivation to write, to keep having stuff to share. ^_^
I don’t really find it very easy to go out and write in cafes anymore now that I’m living a suburban lifestyle, so finding a good place to write has been a little tricky. I prefer quiet places. I don’t really prefer to listen to music or hear T.V. in the background while I write, so my bedroom is the main place I have. But my bedroom is also where I sleep and lounge about, so it can be hard to transition from relaxation to work .
I’m thinking about tidying up some of the other spare rooms in my house where I can work and find it easier not to think about all the other stuff I’d rather be doing.
So I’m in a weird stage of writing right now. I’m not really plotting this novel in great depth at the moment. I have some short paragraphs that provide a path for the story to take. I know there’s a lot of room where I could expand it with more scenes and plot points, but a part of me wants to discover these things as I write.
I’m using a Scrivener document so that I can more easily see each scene I write and move them around later when the novel begins to take a real shape. It also helps me start each day, knowing if I don’t like what I’ve written, the words are not set in stone. I can move the scene out of manuscript, but keep it for proof that I did write that day.
❧ ☙ END NOTE ☙ ❧
Something new that has begun to take up some of my free time is the creation of a bullet journal. I wanted it to be specifically related to writing, but as I did more and more research I realized I ought to also use it to keep track of my blog work. I wanted to make it the subject of next week’s Novel Progress, but I’m not sure if I’ll be ready to share it!
I only want to share it if I’ve found it valuable to my writing and feel like it’s something you all would find useful, so I may sit on this idea for a while longer. That being said, I’m not sure what the subject for next week’s Novel Progress will be sure to check out my little writing update in my weekly Week in Review post for any news ahead of next Wednesday!
Do you have a writing routine established yet? Have any tips to share?