This month, on my Facebook group for writers, we are challenging ourselves to get back into our writing routines. Now that the kids are back in school and we’ve reached that time of year when we naturally start to draw back inside and be more productive on the mental front (as opposed to the physical focuses of summer), it’s a great time to re-evaluate our routines, and even the process by which we choose those routines.
In the writing world, there are some “rules” that get thrown around often about writing routines. Like “write everyday” and “write first thing in the morning.” We hear them so often, that they feel like gospel. We assume that because the “greats” say them, that they must be right and because we aren’t doing those things, that must be why we are still struggling to reach our writing goals. As you’ve probably gathered by now, I don’t put much stock in the rules, and I don’t think you should either. Here’s why:
You know how we’ve been told our whole lives that we are unique and that we should march to the beat of our own drums? IT’S TRUE. That may seem obvious but often, in our quest to be successful and find the “answers,” we can get so caught up in following what has worked for other people, that we forget to look inside ourselves to find OUR truth. But if you’re looking for the secret to success and ultimate productivity, inside yourself is exactly where you’ll find it.
Not in a book. Not in a “Top 10 Tips for Writers” article. Not even in a blog (this one included).
Find a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted for 5 freaking minutes. (This is hard, I know.) Lay down, close your eyes, and take a deep breath. Feel all the muscles in your body relaxing and let all your worries go for just a few minutes–don’t worry, they’ll be there when you get back. Put one hand on your heart, and one hand on your solar plexus, feeling yourself breathing into both of those places.
Now, when you feel in touch with your heart and your gut, ask yourself the question: When would be my most productive time of day to write?
Whatever it says–that very first thought!–lasso it into submission and brand it onto the back of your eyelids. Do not let logistics in. Do not let what other people might think or might be doing sway you. Just hold onto it for now.
Then ask, “For how long should I write?”
You might get an answer that seems insane, like 10 minutes, or two hours. THAT’S OKAY. Stick with it.
Finally, “On which days?”
When you have all those answers, open your eyes and write them down.
Don’t ask “if,” ask “how.”
The first thing your logical mind is going to want to say is, “That’s impossible.” Your husband wants to watch TV during that time. Your kids have soccer. That’s when your mom usually pops in to chat. Your lunch break is the only time you get to yourself. I hear ya, believe me. And you can listen to all those thoughts because they are incredibly convincing, but my guess is, if you’re still reading this blog, that those thoughts haven’t been getting you where you want to be in your writing career. That’s because nothing about art is logical!
If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll have what you’ve always had. If you want something new (the kind of productivity and success you dream of) you have to do something different.
So instead of writing off these crazy answers, give them the weight they deserve. Remember, they aren’t as random as they might seem–they are coming from your heart, which is also where your writing comes from. (They’re *likethis*) If you listen–if you really find a way to make it work–you will be surprised at how quickly you can become the kind of writer you’ve always wanted to be.
If you’d like some support on creating and sticking with your routines, please join us over at The Motivated Writer on Facebook! Also, check out my Time Blocking Worksheet to help you design your day around being the most productive writer you can be.
Do you have a writing routine that works for you? How did you create it?