Wednesday Writing Tip: How to Set Up a Daily Writing Routine


Do you write every day? Do you want to?


Here are some ways you can set up a daily writing routine. 


1.    Tie Your Writing To a Current Habit

The first step in establishing a new routine is to tie it to a routine you already do. Pick a time of day you already do something regularly, like brush your teeth at night or go for a jog in the morning, and then remind yourself that every night for half an hour before you brush your teeth, or every morning for two hours after you jog, you will sit and write.


2. Choose the Right Time to Write

Choose a time of day when you know you'll have some uninterrupted time to write, such as early in the morning or late at night. Make this your designated writing time and try to stick to it every day.


3. Give Yourself Space You Enjoy

Set up a comfortable and inspiring space where you can write each day. This could be a desk in a quiet room, a cozy nook in your home, or a favorite coffee shop.

If you write in the same place every day, your body and brain will associate that spot with writing and go into the "writing mode" when you settle down there. 

If it's a spot where you also do a hundred other tasks, however, this association won't be so strong.

Or you might be one of those people who bores easily. In that case, DON'T write the same place each day. Occasionally, mix it up. Go to the woods, to the park, to the beach. Rev your brain up with a new environment.

Know yourself and find what works for your personality type.


4. Psyche Yourself Up

I like to take a walk and daydream a little about the scene I’m going to write before I write it, if I can. Other things I do to psyche myself up for a scene is to go to sleep thinking about it, to read a story in the same genre (and tense) as what I plan to write, and to jot down a phrase or word for each of sections of the scene I’m going to write (using the “Four Block Method.”) I also sometimes look at pictures that make me think of the scene, research anything I’ll need to know, or read the last paragraphs of the preceding scene.


5. Warm-Ups and Writing Exercises

I used to do a lot of these when I was a new author. I don’t need them much anymore, but they can be fun and useful. If you’re starting a new series, I recommend these as a way to write “Seed Scenes.” 


6. Set achievable goals

Set a realistic goal for how much writing you want to accomplish each day, whether it's a certain number of words, pages, or minutes of writing time. Be sure to set a goal that is achievable but challenging.


You can set a Wordcount goal (i.e.: “1000 words), a Time goal (“three sessions of 20 minutes”), or an Achievement goal (“two scenes”). I usually aim to write from nine to twelve every morning, and strive to finish two to four scenes. 


7. Guard Your Boundaries

I can’t tell you how much certain members of my extended family bitch to me that I won’t accept calls during my work hours. Unfortunately, it’s necessary, because some people don’t recognize “writing” as a “real job.” While they would never call you if you worked in an office, they think nothing of interrupting you if you work from home at something creative.


Let the anger roll off your shoulders. Protect your writing time as jealously as if you worked for the meanest boss in the world. Act as if you are in solitary confinement in prison, if you need to. 


Don’t let you distract yourself either.


Turn off your phone, close your email, and for goodness’ sake, stay away from social media


I don’t even work on this blog if it’s not a time I’ve designated to blog.


Protect your boundaries like it was the border with a hostile nation intent on ravaging your home and stealing all your chocolate.


8. Reward Yourself Like A Boss


Be your own boss and be a great boss. Appreciate your own hard work. Celebrate the stuffing out of every little achievement. Hold off on snacks, fun kitten videos and sharing memes until you’ve done something cool, then let yourself enjoy the thing you put off as a reward.


9. Track Your Progress 


What’s measured, improves. 


Let that sink in. Whatever you keep track of... that’s what you will get better at. Track your wordcount. Check off finished scenes. Put little gold stars on your calendar or cute mermaid stickers on your daily planner every day you write. 


Keep track of how much you write each day and celebrate your progress over time. Write a short story a week and you’ll have an anthology after three months. A typical novel has between 50 and 90 scenes. Write a scene every day, and you’ll have a draft in three months. Write three scenes a day or a short story every other day, and you’ll achieve the same in one month.


10. Remember, Writing Includes Other Things Besides “Writing”


If you just want to write for yourself, you can write daily. If you want a writing career, then, ironically, you won’t be able to write every day because the business of writing requires many other tasks. Research, brainstorming, outlining, editing, more editing, reviews of other people’s editing, blogging, professional social media, formatting, marketing and then resting from all of that, because, oh my goodness, right? 


You have to remember to take vacations. (I’m terrible at this.) 


You have to remember to schedule things like... like everything else on that list. (I’m terrible at that too.) Count all of that as the larger field of “writing” and don’t beat yourself up for doing it... track your progress and celebrate your milestones in the entire field.