15 May Establishing a Productive Writing Routine
W hen are you going to write? It is a question I ask myself daily. Forget about the obvious distractions: social media, TV, cleaning(yes, you read correctly). Anything breaking you from your writing stride needs to go. Rip it out, NEVER TO RETURN!
And that’s it…
If it were that simple, why isn’t the average Joe putting fingers to keys and publishing and get’in stuff done?
Well, those average Joes are getting stuff done. Right? I’m not saying it’s all good, but there is a plethora of fiction being published… someone’s got to be writing all that. I know that someone isn’t you. I know this because you are here and although you might think you trudge diligently through your daily writing routine, I can assure you, you can do better and master a productive writing routine.
Good Writing Habits. Bad Writing Habits.
We are creatures of habit, and I’m the worst of them all, I’ve got some extra “habitism” inside me for some reason. I’ve allowed Netflix to fill my nights and then some.
My wife and I met new friends for dinner, we talked the normal – ‘what do you do?’… that kind of stuff. We learned that the couple was halfway through Lost on Netflix, in which they were addicted and loving it. Good for them.
I proceeded in telling them that my wife and I have watched all six seasons twice, joking as if it were a yearly tradition with us like it was nonchalant or comparable to spring cleaning. I’ve even tri-peated longer running shows before, but let us move on and spare the shame.
Looking back, I probably sounded like a dummy who spends all his time binging TV shows. And I was. I felt like a loser when I added up the time I wasted. Ninety hours just on the Lost show.
Let’s Look at 5 Ways You Can Master a Productive Writing Routine and Get Productive.
1. Cultivating Daily Writing Routine Habits
GET THAT EXPERIENCE.
You need to write every day, well almost every day. I would suggest six days out of the week you need to be writing. If you can do it seven days a week then do it! Let us say you write three thousand words every day. The extra day over a three hundred and sixty-five-day span would add so much to your writing and would give you a huge leg up on the experience chart.
The more you do something the better you will become, but make sure you are using deliberate practice when you write, I give a lot of credence to this belief. So it just makes sense that you want to get into the habit of writing every day.
2. You Might Suck at Writing
Yes, you very well might be awful at it. Maybe you are a storyteller, using writing as the tool to tell your stories. This is fine for now. Shoot, even if you aren’t hitting your daily writing goals, just sitting down at your computer and typing about anything is enough to build a lasting habit. If you’re at this level, the reason why you suck is due to the lack of experience. Simply, you can’t write because you’ve never written before. Try using your mouse with your nondominant hand. It’s hard. But with time and experience, this won’t be so foreign.
If you commit to doing this daily and truly try committing to meet your daily writing goals, I think you will be writing regularly in less than one month.
3. Write in a Comfortable Place
For some people, they just need to have a comfortable place to write in. It all depends on your personality. Some writers function best when writing in a quiet room at home away from distractions, others prefer to write outdoors. Yet other writers find they get inspired and can write anywhere and strive surrounded by the ambient noise of a crowded coffee shop.
Find your place. Literally, spend a few days thinking of places you can write and go right there. See what works and what doesn’t. Just don’t let amenities become a crutch for you. Learn to adapt.
4. Inspiration and Discipline.
Just as allowing yourself to think that the lack of a routine will give you the control to write, for most, unfortunately, it doesn’t work out that way and is a tightrope to walk. You very well could be on this path right now and are blinded by the procrastination that has been occurring in your writing life.
Does this sound familiar: you basically end up writing when you are ready to write, and unfortunately this doesn’t get things done. It doesn’t put words on the page. The common belief that ‘you are waiting for inspiration to hit before you can start the writing process’ is a lie you are telling yourself.
What you need, is to get in the trenches and dig deeper, get some grit and get to it. Writing fiction is hard work, it is brainstorming and pushing through. If you want to be productive, disciple yourself, because there will come a day or a spread of time when you just don’t feel like putting in the hard work that day. That is fine, but you are only cheating yourself by waiting for inspiration to hit. So get out and find it. It is there at all times of the day. Some days, you might need to try a little harder. But it is there.
5. Daily Word Count
This is my favorite thing to talk about, and I saved it for last because it is very important. It is how I determine potential weakness in my routine. You will get the Writers Productivity Log when you sign up below. This is just one of the resources that come in The Writers Productivity Toolkit. The log is in excel format. I know you’re drooling over the sound of a boring spreadsheet, but I can assure you this super dynamic document will change your writing routine. You will see what days are giving you trouble – maybe, you find that on Monday’s you just aren’t hitting your word count, and this happens consistently. You can narrow down what might be the cause and come to a resolution to win.
Even successful authors waste time. Take Chris Fox for example, in his 2017 earnings video, he blatantly states that year he spent some time playing World of Warcraft, and he still did good in his opinion as far as earnings and published work. I consider that he did better than good actually, but that mutes my point. So we will just say he did good;).
But what if he stuck with it, all year round, day in and day out. Imagine his success with more publications and more potential profits.
It isn’t a bad thing?
I would never condemn anyone for spending valuable time playing an MMO. I would simply say “Ok”, and go on with my day, but the next time a friend or spouse urges you to spend time other than to better yourself as a writer or a storyteller, ask yourself: is this going to further my writing goals? If not, DON’T DO THEM. Simply say no, or even better yet, explain to them why you choose to say no. It doesn’t have to be cruel, and if they truly cared for you, they will understand your sacrifice. My wife rolls her eyes when I smart off something regarding how I need to focus on something writing related. But what I want you to understand is that this is the reality in order for you to produce fiction for your audience. You have to put in the work, and it is hard.
Is it ok not to write?
I’m not saying don’t watch movies or TV shows or devote time spent on things other than creative writing, but try to implement your writing goals into everything that you do. Shoot, I take turns with my wife driving so I can get some extra reading time in.
You must be the deciding factor and create specific habits if you are going to want to be the best writer that you know you can be. By organizing your life, getting rid of the waste of time, it will only benefit your routine, and build a better habit for when you just don’t feel like it.