The Writing Routine

Many times I’ve heard other writers complain that they don’t have time to write. Writing becomes a low priority when life gets in the way. And by life I mean work, family, chores, appointments, and social events. The excuses begin with “I’ll get to it later” or “I’ll start next week.” This is hard when you really like to write.

I found myself in the same trap as those other writers. I put writing on a low priority. I wrote less and less. I became crabby and lost my sense of who I was. I needed to get back on a routine so my writing became a part of my life and not dusty papers in a closet. I set myself two tasks: preparation and time.

For the preparation:

I placed a pen and paper within reach. I keep both pen and paper in my car, my purse, my computer bag, my backpack, and my suitcase to use when I travel. I also keep both handy around the house. I have both in the bedroom (on the nightstand), kitchen, bathroom, and living room.

I created a space. I have an office for all my writing books, papers, notes, and supplies. I have my desk set up with my computer and a couple walls with notes tacked here and there. Before I had my office, I shared one with my husband. We each had a table and a file cabinet. Before that, I used a box to store my papers in, and I would carry that out to the dining room table to write there.

I set priorities. I used to be a clean freak. On Saturday mornings I would clean the entire house. A tidy house was big for me. I didn’t feel good unless the house looked good. Well, I got over it. I’ll clean what needs to be cleaned when it looks dirty. I still have to balance my priorities, I can’t forget about my family, but I keep writing at the top of the list as well. Even if it’s for fifteen minutes, I’ll try to write or think about what I need to write.

I found the support I needed. My biggest support comes from my husband. He knows how important writing is to me. He understands that I need to take time to write. He rarely complains when I bury myself in the office to write. I also have my two writer’s groups – WisRWA, a chapter of Romance Writers of America and Pen and THink, a local chapter of Wisconsin’s Writer’s Association. We discuss writing and books, we comment on each other’s work, and we give each other support.

For the time:

When I first started my writing routine, I got up an hour before I had to get ready for the day. I’d hit the computer half asleep and write like a madman. I heard that this is the best time to write. Your creative voice comes through without having the clutter of the day fill your brain. You also gain a sense of accomplishment, and know that it’s done for the day. You start your morning on a positive note. I liked this method when I first started out. I think writing every morning helped me get into the routine I needed. Now, I find that writing after dinner and on weekend mornings works best for me.

Note: This blog is on my writing routine but this can apply to other hobbies or passions as well. Get yourself into a routine. Play that instrument, work on your garden, build furniture from scratch, or paint that watercolor. Do something for yourself.

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