Writing Tips

What Is Your Writing Routine?

When I first discoveredLetter Writing writing, mostly through reading books written by dead, drunk French authors, I thought I would emulate them. Mind you, I was twenty-two. After work, I’d sit at my table with a glass of red wine and write for hours, watching my handwriting get sloppy. Then I took a writing class, read Natalie Goldberg, quit red wine and took to writing at least an hour a day whether it was in my diary or a story.

Over the years, I became less disciplined, writing in mind-numbing spurts–a 500-page book in two months, then nothing for a year. Keeping a blog was easier and my usual regime of writing after work changed to morning scribbling. Now, I try to write before work, a little at night, then double my schedule on the weekends. I could blame my lack of routine on a cluttered desk, but really, there’s no excuse. Getting the butt in the chair is a daily battle.

I’m always curious about other writers’ routines–when they write, how long they write, and what their writing spaces look like. Do you time yourself or just write until you can’t bear it anymore? Some write longhand first, then transfer to the computer. What is your preference? Do you reward yourself for writing a certain number of pages? Lastly, how do you procrastinate?

Please tell me.


10 thoughts on “What Is Your Writing Routine?”

  1. I wrote a blog post in response to your blog post! #blogpostinception

    The things that worked for me include disabling my wifi, waking up early to write and not writing on weekends. Thanks for the prompt! πŸ˜‰

    1. Zoey, I love the idea of giving yourself a break on weekends. Some writers write every day and some don’t find it necessary. Disabling/shutting out the interruptions is so important. I hope this is an especially productive time for you. No pressure. Maybe a little. πŸ™‚

  2. Wow–dead AND still drunk! That’s pretty impressive. Of course, that’s the French for you.

    I aim at writing every day. That way I usually get 5-6 days in a week. Generally, I work for 3-4 hours every night, after an early dinner and a few games of Words with Friends (see “How do you procrastinate,” above). On weekends and days I don’t work, if I’m in the middle of a major project, I sometimes on one 2-3 hour stint in the morning, and another in the evening.

    And although I have a desktop and working area (that bears a remarkable resemblance to my dining room crossed with an exploding office), I do all my “actual” writing in the living room, usually sitting in my magical writing chair. (i.e.: the comfy red recliner that supports my back the best).

    As for procrastination, sometimes I read and comment on other people’s blogs πŸ™‚

    1. Ha ha, Deborah! I’ve gone and pickled those deceased 19th century French novelists. A magical chair? How cool is that!? Your routine obviously works. I love the idea of having a lot of space to spread out one’s writing (i.e. exploding office), but unfortunately, this isn’t realistic in a NY apartment. I have a little corner and make the best of it.

  3. I write 7 days a week. 8am to noon, and 3-4 cups of coffee. After lunch, I deal with galley proofs or edits on a book, or editing a rough draft mss that is in process. Everyone has 2 peak creative times in a 24 hour day. There’s a primary one and a secondary. My primary is 8am to noon. My second wind is 8pm to 11pm. I also take time out to unglue my butt from my chair. I have a wonderful cross trainer and do 30 minutes until good and sweaty to neutralize the butt-sit.

    I also take our Golden Retriever and husband for a mile-long walk down our dirt road every evening unless dark winter hours. Or bad weather. Gets me out into fresh air and get my sunshine Vitamin D for the day πŸ˜‰

    I have an office where I work. My husband knows when I’m in the “writing harness” and do not disturb me unless it truly is an Act of God–and someone had better be dying to disturb me in the middle of my altered state where I’m “there” and not “here” on Earth. And it’s especially critical that I not be disturbed while writing a love scene. I hate interruptions at any time and turn my phone off, shut the door so the dog can’t come in and give me moon eyes while he puts his head in my lap, looking up at me with that “pet me….” look in his huge brown eyes.

    I lose track of what day it is, what month it is, sometimes. My other world in my head rules. Even if I’m fixing dinner, I’m thinking about a character, or some dialog or a plot….or how to get myself out of the corner I painted myself into. It’s a 24/7/365 for me. I’m the most highly entertained individual in the world because I have all these cast of characters in these books to keep me riveted to their world. It’s far more exciting than my mundane world, haha.

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