Success doesn’t just happen to us, especially for aspiring authors. Someone has to write the book! Often, though, that’s the biggest challenge. We ourselves are often the biggest obstacles to our own goals. How to stay focused when there are so many Netflix shows to watch instead, or to barrel through the writer’s block even though it seems like you can’t write a word? Figuring out an ideal writing routine takes experimentation, commitment, and patience, but these tips will help guide you.
Any good writing routine focuses first and foremost on productivity. To maximize your own ability, you must use your strengths, and safeguard against your weaknesses.
For example, when do you feel most creative and energetic? And is there free time, in your daily schedule, that corresponds with your creativity?
Use your answers to those questions to build a daily, weekly, and monthly schedule. Simply planning a writing routine makes it easier to follow one, especially if it fits well into your life.
Additionally, by creating both short and long-term schedules, you create goals to work towards. Add a word count goal to this. How many words can you fit into the hour a day, and what does that add up to at the end of the week, the end of the month? Setting these goals as part of a writing routine gives you both motivation and satisfaction as you get closer to accomplishing them!
Of course, with any writing routine, you have to actually follow it—that means no distractions. Cultivate a writing space for your writing routine and method that helps you to write and not one that blocks your focus. Your time, atmosphere, and even your software are also essential parts of your writing routine.
Time-management methods, such as the Pomodoro method, can be invaluable when writing. It’s a simple technique: work for 25 minutes, rest for 5, repeat. At the end of the fourth cycle, you can take a longer 15 or 20 minute break. The Pomodoro method maximizes focus by breaking work into bite-sized pieces, while also offering your hardworking brain a rest.
Additionally, while we all love a good Word or Google document, word processing software developed specifically for writing novels can be invaluable. These kinds of software typically limit screen distractions and offer more linear organization options. Such programs might completely transform your book and your writing routine.
Lastly, what’s around you is just as important to your writing routine as what’s on your page. Consider whether silence or music helps you focus better, or whether working in public or at home is more conducive to productivity.
Last but not least, don’t forget your creativity! Integrate research and idea development into your writing routine as well. Diversifying your ideas, and challenging yourself to think bigger and better, matters just as much as writing a certain amount of words every day.
A great way to brainstorm is to join a writing community. Talking through your ideas with fellow creatives and aspiring authors will vastly improve your own writing. It’ll also keep you accountable! You can motivate and challenge each other to follow your writing routines and finish your books.
Above all, the goal of any writing routine is to make focusing as painless and easy as possible, so that you can do what’s most important: write.