Establishing a writing routine can be a challenge for many newer writers. There’s plenty of advice out there on how to establish a routine, so I decided to compile a list of the strategies that worked for me.
Make Writing a Priority: If being published is your goal, then you must make writing a priority. About a decade ago, when I was pondering the idea that became Angel of Mercy, I lamented the fact that I didn’t have time to make-a-go at fiction writing. Then I was given some advice: If it’s important to you, you’ll make the time. For years, I only worked for my freelance writing clients Monday-Thursday, so I could work on fiction all day on Fridays. Eventually, I began writing during the rest of the week as well.
Treat it Like a Business: Treating writing like a business gives you the proper mindset and the kick in the butt to stop procrastinating and get working. I have set hours that I write and very specific locations where I write as well.
Write Down Your Goals: I commit all my goals to paper, not an electronic file. I have quarterly goals and a daily to-do list in addition to calendars for social media and blogging/vlogging.
Plan Your Stories: Many writers prefer to just “wing it.” However, I have found that planning out my plotlines before I write them makes me more productive, prevents writer’s block and allows me to pick up right where I left off should I ever need to take a break.
Give Yourself a Deadline: I never give myself a deadline for research or a rough draft. However, I do give myself a deadline for each subsequent draft and when I feel the manuscript is ready, a publication date. A deadline helps hold me accountable to the project and, ultimately, reaching my end goals.
Add a Ritual: For some it might be mood lighting or a certain drink or snack. For me, it’s music. I can’t write without it.
Don’t Get Bored: Writers can suffer a decrease in creativity if they get bored with their manuscripts. To avoid this, I started working on multiple projects at once. And guess what? My productivity increased and so did my motivation.
My Writing Routine
My writing routine has been established for years. I conduct two set writing sessions.
Day session: During my day writing session, I first tackle client work. When that is complete, I move onto historical fiction. During the day is also when I pen blogs, format manuscripts and tackle social media. This routine is kept Monday-Friday with weekends and holidays off.
Night writing: Evenings and nights once were when I did research and wrote rough drafts by hand. About a year ago, I switched from handwriting drafts to typing them. Currently, nights are devoted to my contemporary fiction project.