As with undertaking any other project in life, being prepared and ready to create a routine, especially a writing routine, takes a bit of planning. Sure, you could hope that by just sitting down every day and writing, you’ll establish an enjoyable habit, but preparing beforehand and ensuring you have all the resources you need will help create the routine and encourage you to be successful.
Take a look at the helpful suggestions below.
Productive Writing Space
- It’s important to have a writing space that works for you, where you feel comfortable enough to sit and dive into your work. This could be a desk, closet, car, patio or bedroom. It doesn’t matter where the space is, so long as you feel open and comfortable enough to write without disruption.
- Experiment to find the right spot, and be sure to consider things that are most important to you, such as appropriate lighting, food, drinks, stress ball, etc. Fun activity: Keep a journal of the different places you try writing in and take note of what works, what doesn’t and why. You never know; the bathtub just may be your ideal working space!
- Figure out when your productive (free) hours are. If you know your family doesn’t wake up until 8 am, then perhaps waking up earlier and getting down to it is best. On the flip side, if you’re a night owl and know you’ll never be able to commit to getting up early, then perhaps carving out time before bed or even in the middle of the night is best. Do whatever works for you, not what others say is best!
- Consider using alerts on your phone or perhaps a to-do list to retain focus.
- Don’t stick to the “norms” or what others say is best for you. You know you best. Just because successful writers may encourage you to join the 5 am writing club doesn’t mean you have to! What’s the point in joining if you can’t keep your eyes open?
- Treat your writing time as a priority.
Disturbances and Connections
- Establish the type of writer you are. Are you someone who can sit for long periods, or do you need to take breaks along the way? Do you prefer to walk and voice record your ideas or just start spilling your story onto a page?
- Try to get rid of any distractions that may pop up BEFORE you start to write.
- Try muting reminders to your phone and computer for a later time.
- Make sure family or friends respect how important this is to you. I’ve met many people who say their friends and family just don’t understand how hard writing can be. Quite often for me, daydreaming is how I create the ideas I’ll write about, but to an outsider, it looks like I”m just sitting and wasting time. It wasn’t until I educated my family on my writing process that they understood when to leave me alone and when it was ok to approach.
- Explore online groups that allow you to connect with like-minded people for motivation and encouragement.
Take Care of Yourself and Take Breaks
- Studies show that taking regular breaks can increase productivity and creativity. Have you ever found yourself struggling to think of word after word because your brain is just done thinking? While it’s tempting to push through, I can almost guarantee you’ll have better ideas and less of a headache if you just step away from the computer for 5 minutes.
- Plowing through and not taking breaks increases the risk of eye strain, exhaustion, and burnout, hindering the quality of the story or piece you are writing.
- The length of the break that you take is entirely up to you. There is no magical number! Examples: stepping away from your desk to stretch, taking a short walk, grabbing a snack, exercising, chatting with a friend, or making a cup of tea.
- Protect yourself from becoming too overwhelmed by maintaining your mind, body and soul with nourishing foods, adequate sleep, exercise and time off.
Why are you writing?
- Understanding why you’re writing. Is it content for your business? To make money? Are you educating others? Is your goal to publish a book? To express yourself?
- Find personal motivation to keep yourself going. Perhaps create a vision board, attach sticky notes to your mirror or find support from other writers.
Reward Good Behaviour
- As well as being your own biggest cheerleader, establish a support team.
- Decide how you want to track your progress. Establish if you will be setting a goal trying to hit a number of words or chapters during each writing session. If this doesn’t work for you, perhaps set goals by tracking how often you can stick to daily writing times or make connections.
- Write it down, scratch off and track these accomplishments and celebrate them as they happen.
Make smaller goals
- Break your overall goal down into more manageable smaller pieces. Have you ever tried to just take on a large project all at once without breaking it down or making goals? Most people will tell you they became overwhelmed, stressed out or just gave up before they really got moving. Taking small bites out of a large piece of work allows your brain to think about specific parts and take on any issues as they come up.
- Set realistic goals and work in coordination with your regular schedule.
- For each goal, take the time to note the steps involved.
Again, figure out what system works best for you, then map it. Maybe you prefer setting up the steps on paper, in a notebook, on a board, or using a scheduling app; whatever you choose, just be sure to stick to the plan and don’t take too much on at once.
Set Your Goals and Deadlines
- Set your deadlines and stick to them BUT amend when necessary.
- Use a calendar, agenda AND sticky notes if that’s what it takes to stay on track.
- Find someone who will be understanding but firm; enlist their help to encourage you to meet your deadlines.
I hope this blog helps you to create a habit.
If you need more support, email me today and let’s chat about it!
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