4 Easy Steps to create a Writing Routine that works

It took me a long time to figure out what the best writing routine was for me personally. But I’ve done a lot of adjusting and evaluating and I took the most important things to consider when creating a writing routine and put them all together in this post! This post is all about creating a writing routine that works for you.

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Writing routine

Creating a Writing Routine that works

Creating a Writing routine that works takes time. It takes trial and error, re-evaluating and re-adjusting. But once you’ve gotten past the stages of figuring out your best practices, you’re set for a really long time! I also want to stress that you should allow yourself some time to try things out. Don’t settle on a writing routine at your first try. Look at what works and what doesn’t work. Be fair and kind to yourself and try not to set unrealistic goals for yourself. And don’t fall in the comparison trap. Everyone’s writing pace and schedule looks differently.
There are full time authors (yes, that earn their money through writing books) that write 10k a day and there are full time authors that write 2k a day. You might only be able to write 200 words a day or you might be able to write 5k. In the end, all that’s important is that you write. The pace doesn’t matter. There are only the timelines and deadlines you set for yourself. Quality over quantity. You don’t have to finish writing a book every 3 months and you don’t have to finish a book every 5 years. Be kind to yourself, alright?
Alright! Let’s go.

Writing routine
My Erin Condren Life planner

Step 1: Create a Writing Schedule for your writing routine

The first thing to consider when creating a writing routine, is to create a writing schedule. You will be way more likely to write if you know when, where and for how long. There are some things to consider when creating your writing schedule:

  1. Your writing goals: What are your goals? Is there something specific that you want to achieve with your writing? Do you have a deadline you want to hit (again, be kind to yourself)? Or do you have plans for a book and you want to target specific word counts in your sessions?
  2. Your writing pace: How fast do you write? Time one of your writing sessions and see how many words you write in an hour. Times 0.75 will give you your words per hour, because when aiming lower you’ll be able to write more and put less pressure on yourself.
  3. Your existing weekly schedule: Do you have a full or part time job? Do you still go to school? Have a family? Someone to care for? Know what part of your weekly, monthly or yearly schedule is already assigned to other engagements.
  4. Your optimized writing time: When do you thrive best? More on this later!

Writing Schedule Template

To fill in your writing schedule template (linked above), you’ll start by writing down how many words per hour you manage. If you have a certain deadline you want to hit, you’ll write that down as well.
Then look at how many hours or moments per week you have to spare for your writing. You’ll also know the word count you’ll be able to hit that week and then calculate whether you’re able to reach the deadline, if you set one for yourself.

Fill in the daily boxes for the hours and word counts you’re able to reach. Put your writing routine somewhere where you’ll be able to see it often. Your motivation might flail at times, but we are in the business of persevering!

Then, schedule the time into your planner. For digital calendars I use Ical, and my paper planner is the Life Planner from Erin Condren. But in order to do this properly, you will need to know your optimized time frame.

Optimized writing time

Step 2: Know your Optimized Writing Time

Your designated writing time has the power to make or break your writing routine. Knowing when your prime time is, will make your life a whole lot easier! Of course it is possible that you do not have any choice in the matter, but in a lot of instances you’ll be able to move your schedule around and try to optimize your days and weeks as much as possible.

Your optimized writing time not only encompasses when in the day you write best, but it also means the amount of time you will take to write. You will learn this about yourself when you try out different things. It can take some time to know how your concentration works and when you do or don’t do well. For example; you might want to write 6 hours per week. There are a lot of ways to tackle this. You might write 1 hour a day, for 6 days straight. Or you might write best in two hour blocks and write 2 hours a day for 3 days a week. You might even work better when you batch your time and take 1 day a week to write for 6 hours.
Whatever works best for you is the best thing to do! This all comes back to trial and error.

Gold coil on my Erin Condren Life Planner

Morning writing routine

If you’re a morning writer, the first thing you want to think about is to figure out when in the morning you work best. Is it directly before or after breakfast? I think it’s important to eat before you start writing, because once you get into flow it will become harder to keep reminding to feed yourself. And doing anything on an empty stomach is not the way to go. Or, if you prefer, make your breakfast and eat it whilst writing.
Do you want to work-out before you get your brain in the creative mode? You might want to start waking up before anybody else is awake, and get the writing done first. If you’re more energized and your creativity peaks in the morning or early day, you should definitely try to get your writing done then.
One thing that a lot of people swear by, is to dress up before starting to work. If you feel dirty or lazy, this often has to do with whether you’ve taken care of yourself and put some nice and comfortable clothes on. When you put self care first and get into some comfy – but nice clothing, you’ll see that you feel more confident in anything you’re doing.

Evening writing routine

When your energy levels peak in the evening and you feel more creative at that time of day, good for you! It’s often much easier to find time to work on things in the evening, as society is shaped around having the evenings off (mostly).
When thinking about the evening, does that mean before or after dinner for you? Are there tv shows you like to watch at certain time or do you have kids to put to bed before you have some free time?
What’s important to take into consideration when you write in the evening, is that it’s more difficult to do closer to your bed time. Of course, sometimes we don’t have a choice, but most of the time we do. Or we’re able to spread it out some more. Because when you write close to when you’re going to bed, chances are that your mind will keep running and brainstorming your novel after you’ve finished writing. Your brain needs some time to shut off and relax, before you try to get it to sleep.
However, if you’ve found no difficulties with this at all; do it your way.

Optimized writing space
Personalized Erin Condren Life Planner

Step 3: Create an Optimized Writing Space

Optimized writing spaces may seem overdone, but they’re actually really important. You may even find that your brain can get used to certain places and makes writing there easier for you. Think about your preferences; do you love to have some background noise or does it irritate you and pull you out of flow? Would you like to write in public or do you want to write in the privacy of your own place? Do you want to write in bed or do you want to get out of your bedroom to write?

Switching things up with the spaces you write in may also be a great course of action. Say, you write most of the time at a desk or at your dinner table – you might want to take a day to write on (or in!) your bed. When motivation fails to accompany you one day, you might find the step to write easier when you don’t have to get out of bed. Or you might need to lock yourself away in a room where there aren’t any chances for people to come disturb you.

Create ambiance

One thing that’s super important in your writing space, is the ambiance. The way the place makes you feel. Do you need it to be clean and tidy? Great, clean the place and organize your stuff. Do you want a certain lighting, like white or yellow? Look for a place that has this or fix the lighting in a certain place yourself.
Get some candles and cozy blankets in place for the darker and colder months, and get an airconditioning or fan in place when it’s warmer.
And don’t forget to put some quotes in place or nearby to help keep you motivated and on top of your game! It might inspire you to take the step towards reaching the goals you’ve set for yourself.

The most important thing to me when writing is music. I know that many authors feel this way, so I wanted to include this in here too. Some writing projects are only able to handle movie scores or other types of music without lyrics. And other writing projects can handle some music with singing. Listen from your laptop, computer, through a radio or via headphones (when you want to cancel any other noise).
Tip! Make a writing playlist for your writing project, that you know contains song that fit the mood and ambiance of the project.

Writing fuel

Step 4: Gather your Writing fuel

And last but not least, get your writing fuel! As I’ve said earlier, we humans can’t operate properly on an empty stomach. Plus, it will help you to sit down for a longer period of time without having to interrupt it. Try to get some water (or a lot) in place beside you and some other drink like tea or lemonade. Just in case, for when you don’t know what you like drink. Get some of your favorite (healthy) snacks and make a small tray of goodies to pick from. The best writing snacks are dry, small and don’t require cutlery. This makes sure your fingers, that are typing away, won’t get your keyboard dirty, you won’t need your hands to eat the food and you can get them down in easy, simple bites.

One thing I’ve also found to help, is that certain small snacks you like and eat often (like licorice) help get you into a certain mood. I was getting triggered by small snacks to write, for example, because I ate those whilst writing. Same as chewing gum might get you in the mode to study. Try some of this out and start triggering your brain to work on your writing projects!

I hope these steps will help you create a writing routine that works for you!

Lots of Love,

Britt van den Elzen

Hi! I’m Britt, a 20-something creative entrepreneur from the Netherlands. I’m passionate about all things magic and can often be found dreaming about fictional worlds. The greatest love of my life is storytelling and I’ve been reading and watching stories ever since I can remember. ✨

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