Establishing a Writing Routine


  In spite of all of my intentions, I am already behind in this year’s writing goals. Sadly, one of the things that I’d planned was to have a set writing routine. As of now, I do not have a writing routine meaning that I do not have a set time, place or structure to my writing. Today I want to talk about my own difficulty in setting a routine along with what I plan to do to set one for this year.
   In undergrad and even when I began my MFA program there have been numerous articles with advice about establishing and maintaining a writing routine. Some people say to write uninterrupted for two hours. Others suggest writing for thirty minutes at a time to equal two hours. I tend to write when I get a bit of dialogue, narrative or inspiration. That’s not really working for me anymore and in my quest to become more productive this year I am finally trying to establish a routine that I can follow every day regardless of myschedule, my location and my lack of inspiration/productivity. 
Although it’s nearly March, I still haven’t figured out how to do it but I might be close. I’ve been revisiting some Writers Digest articles about writing routines in the hopes of finding what works for me and I feel more confident now that I will be able to settle on something that will work for me. For now, my plan beginning on March 1st, is to write for an hour in the morning and an hour at night. I think that the relatively short time will help me remain committed and able to write uninterrupted. Hopefully, the hour at night will help me purge all of my ideas and allow me to rest when I turn off the lights.
Lately I’ve been working a lot on my tablet as opposed to my laptop because of portability. However, I want to start writing at my desk at least 2-3 days a week which will mean sitting at my laptop and working. There are a few resources geared to help writers focus while writing but I hope that I won’t have to use them. I do plan to use the timer on my phone to track my writing time.
Do any of you have a set writing routine? If so, do you find it useful? How did you set it? I need all the help and support I can get.


8 thoughts on “Establishing a Writing Routine

  1. Di Roach says:

    I feel your pain! I wish I could say that I have a set writing routine. I’ve been trying to establish one for the past couple years or so, and just like you, I made it my New Year’s resolution and haven’t even begun to figure it out. (I work retail where my work schedule is different every week, so that doesn’t help.) It’s surprisingly difficult, but I think a goal of two hours spread out in a day is a good start!

    I did NaNoWriMo for the first time last November and that really forced me to get writing done. (50k words in 30 days, oy!) I found that thirty minutes of uninterrupted writing was enough for me to get about 850-1000 words down. Maybe instead of focusing on time you could focus on word count? That new approach was helpful to me, at least.

    • southpawscribe says:

      Hi Di,

      Thanks so much for your comment and suggestion. I failed epically at NaNoWriMo last year and had a few meltdowns about the fact that I couldn’t finish. I could actually go for word count especially if I’may writing fiction which I want to spend more time doing this year. I think that 850-1000 words is a nice chunk of writing to accomplish in one setting so I could definitely be satisfied with that.

      • Di Roach says:

        Hope it helps! The 50k that I wrote for NaNo isn’t really salvageable, but the challenge taught me to time manage a little better. Showed me it’s doable. Either way, good luck!

  2. Juni Desireé says:

    I struggle to find a set writing routine as well. I try to write every day and that’s all. Sometimes I aim for half and hour, an hour, or more. But if I just write something, then that’s okay, no matter how long it takes.

  3. Quanie Miller (@QuanieMiller) says:

    What works for me is getting up early (and presetting my coffee pot) so that I can get the writing out of the way first thing in the morning. My typical schedule, when I’m working on a novel, is 5am-7am Monday – Friday and the first two hours I get up on weekends. I don’t always get into a groove right away, but it comes eventually. I find that as long as I sit in front of the computer and write something, even if it’s crap, it gets me going (and I can always revise later).

    • southpawscribe says:

      This is great! I’m nowhere near as busy as you so I should definitely be able to work a routine similar to yours. Congratulations on the new addition to your family! I feel like as long as I establish some kind of routine then I will be more prolific.

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