On Writing: Establish Your Writing Routine

One of my goals for May is to write a blog post every Monday and Thursday, for a total of 8 blog posts this month. Due to last week being my first week of substitute teaching, I quickly strayed away from this goal.

Not only have I fallen behind on my blog posts, but it also hasn’t been my best week for writing. I didn’t get quite as much done as I’d wanted to (and by “quite as much” I mean NOTHING).

My week in a nutshell:

So, my solution? A writing routine!

This past semester, I had a very loosely structured writing routine for school where I would write for 1-2 hours per day around my college schedule. It was good enough to at least get something done. But now that I’m working full time as a substitute teacher and a waitress, I’m struggling to weave writing time into my schedule. Enter the writing routine!

Here are a few tips to help you establish your own writing routine, but a quick disclaimer: writing routines are definitely not one-size-fits-all. Take these tips and make it your own! Let’s get started!

1. Combat the “I don’t have time” mindset

It’s an age-old excuse. Many of us will believe that we don’t have time to squeeze writing time into our day. However, it’s important to understand that if writing is going to be a priority in your life, you need to make time!

Scrolling through social media is a huge culprit in this case, in addition to Netflix browsing, daydreaming, etc., etc. When we’re conscious about how we’re spending our time each day, it’s easier to recognize when we could make time in our schedule for something more productive (ahem, writing).

2. Make Time

When making time for writing, if your schedule doesn’t allow you to carve out a few minutes of each day, that’s okay! What matters is that you’re creating a consistent writing routine, whether that be every day or a few times per week.

Personally, I like to use Google Calendar to track my week and schedule my writing times. This way, I’m able to visualize which blocks of time would be most appropriate for each day. Then, I follow it.

Set a reminder. Turn on your alarm. Do whatever it takes for it to be difficult to avoid this chunk of your day. The only way your WIP is going to get done is if you sit down and write it.

3. Set Goals

I like to set mini goals for each day, such as a word count goal, chapter goal, etc. For example, I like to write at least 1,500 words per day or at least one chapter. Hitting your goals gives you a spike in dopamine, making you feel good about your progress!

When you reach your goals, remember to reward yourself! If I meet my daily goal, I reward myself with a cup of coffee, an episode on Netflix, a candy bar, etc. For achieving bigger goals, I buy new books, treat myself to a yoga class, or enjoy a trip to Chick-Fil-A 🙂

4. Turn off your cell phone

This goes for any and all electronics that are bound to distract you from your writing process. Put away your cell phone, turn off the internet, and let your family and friends know not to contact you unless its an emergency (maybe that’s a little extreme, but its helpful).

Productivity apps can be especially helpful for writing purposes. Two of my favorites:

  1. Forest – for every 25 minute interval that you stay focused and don’t look at your phone, a tree is planted! But if you pick up your phone, the tree dies and, honestly, no one wants that 😦

  2. Flat Tomato – this app works off of the Pomodoro technique, in which you work for 25 minutes and take a five minute break. For every three 25 minute intervals, you take a ten minute break.

I hope you’ve found these tips helpful for your own writing process! Let me know in the comments below about your writing routine! 🙂

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