Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Set up a Routine

Do you have a specific time that you devote to writing? Or do you just write whenever you get the time?

Setting up a routine allows you to automate certain actions, freeing you from having to think about it. But more importantly, routines creates expectations for your mind about what to do next and can help you get writing done.

Writing every day is one of the best pieces of advice there is. Not only does it allow you to get in constant practice, it also lets you create a habit. Ergo, every day – after you’ve made a routine – your mind will switch into creative mode (hopefully) in preparation for the creative work that it expects to come.

If you don’t have the time to devote specific times in your life to writing, and you just cram in as much as possible in the spaces in between, you can achieve pretty much the same effect through use of a ritual of kinds.

Let’s say that you finally get time to yourself. Before you start writing, do a series of things that you will repeat every time before starting to write. Say, making yourself a cup of coffee and putting on a specific playlist or lighting a candle. Anything, as long as its unique. Sharing the ritual, per se, would lower the effect when you need it. So create a unique sequence that you can learn to associate only with writing.

In the same manner, you can also create a bad routine. Say you get into a routine of skipping your writing for the day. By doing that, you are conditioning yourself to not write. Obviously, this is not a desired result unless you’re a recovering writaholic. If you realise that you made such a routine, you have to consciously break it and create a new one (preferably one where you write more) in its place.

In the end, a routine can help you a lot, especially if you have a thought-demanding day job that distracts your mind from thinking in creative ways or whatever the case may be.

What routines do you use to get your mind into a “writing mode”? Or are you just permanently in that mode? I guess that’s the difference between the two types of writers that Charles Peguy mentions: “A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket.”


  1. i do try but things just get in my way. Wish I had a garden shed I could go lock myself into.
    Moody Writing

  2. Haha, a garden shed would be very useful for me too. Sometimes you just have to separate yourself from the world.