What’s your writing routine?

Do you have a routine for writing? A way of doing it which has become habit and which you know will get the best out of you? I was thinking about this having read a recent article on the subject.

Many famous writers seem to have these habits. I think the reason is that, to write a novel you need to get your backside on the chair and your fingers on the keyboard – regularly and for long periods of time, just to get the work done. I know only too well that novels don’t write themselves.

Murakami_Haruki_(2009)Here’s what the brilliant Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami had to say on the subject in an interview:

“When I’m in writing mode for a novel, I get up at four a.m. and work for five to six hours. In the afternoon, I run for ten kilometers or swim for fifteen hundred meters (or do both), then I read a bit and listen to some music. I go to bed at nine p.m.

I keep to this routine every day without variation. The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind.”

The idea that the routine almost hypnotises you, puts you in a changed state of mind, is interesting isn’t it?

That kind of focus and dedication perhaps isn’t an option for us writers who also have to do a day job – but I suppose when I am in the midst of writing a novel I do something similar in my own small way. I make myself sit down in front of the computer each evening and work for an hour, an hour and a half, without distraction. If you do that every day then pretty soon the words start adding up.

I’d say that for me the formal side of it – sitting in front of the screen, goes hand in hand with a more freeform, casual, approach, where I carry a notebook around with me on my journey to work, or at the weekends, and jot down scenes and ideas, chunks of prose, to be typed up later on. I find both approaches get me where I need to be. But I really do need the discipline of sitting at the desk for a set ‘work’ period in order to make real progress.

427px-Ernest_Hemingway_1950_cropHere’s Ernest Hemingway talking about his writing routine:

“When I am working on a book or a story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write. You read what you have written and, as you always stop when you know what is going to happen next, you go on from there.

You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again. You have started at six in the morning, say, and may go on until noon or be through before that.”

So the same idea of a definite routine, a time for working, a focused period of hours in which you get the words down on the page.

Personally, I don’t think it matters very much whether you think those words fabulous or so-so at the time you write them, you will come back and rewrite them later anyway. The point is to make progress, and to do so in a structured way. When you think about it, a novel is a large undertaking which takes place over a period of months. It’s like building a house. And, though you might not see much difference in the construction of your house from one day to the next, if you keep at it methodically you know that after a certain amount of time it will be done.

Sometimes full-time writers have a separate place – an office say, which they visit to work, even though it might not be far from where they live. I suppose the idea is that you need to be in a work place, a work frame of mind. The painter Magritte apparently used to dress in his suit and tie, as if for the office, then ‘commute’ on foot a mile or so round the block before returning to his house to work in his studio.

Maya_Angelou_speech_for_Barack_Obama_campaign_2008Here’s a surprising quote from an interview with Maya Angelou about where she works:

“I keep a hotel room in my hometown and pay for it by the month. I go around 6:30 in the morning. I have a bedroom, with a bed, a table, and a bath. I have Roget’s Thesaurus, a dictionary, and the Bible…

I have all the paintings and any decoration taken out of the room. I ask the management and housekeeping not to enter the room, just in case I’ve thrown a piece of paper on the floor, I don’t want it discarded. About every two months I get a note slipped under the door: “Dear Ms. Angelou, please let us change the linen. We think it may be moldy!”

But I’ve never slept there, I’m usually out of there by 2. And then I go home and I read what I’ve written that morning, and I try to edit then. Clean it up.”

Do you have a particular routine for writing? Let me know in the comments.

Song of the Sea God visualDon’t forget if you get a moment to take a look at my book Song of the Sea God.

You can look inside to read the first few pages free and download a free Kindle sample for UK readers here. And for readers in the USA here.

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172 thoughts on “What’s your writing routine?

  1. I really enjoyed reading these. What luxury some writers have had! Maya Angelou’s account is wonderful! Like you, Chris, my day job prevents me having such regular routines, but I try to make sure I write two to three times a week, even if it’s just a few hundred words at a time. It’s the feeling of moving the book along that matters. I also put everything I write on a blog. In the past, others have read my books as I’ve developed them. I did that right up until my current WIP, but I found fewer and fewer people followed the more Facebook took over from Blogger. Now I still put my chapters on a blog, but more as a means of storing the chapters and having a different medium in which to read them. I rarely print things out these days (save the trees and all that) until it’s at the final proofing stage, so I find the practice of seeing my work in a different font on a different background really helps to highlight problems, mistakes, repetition etc. A great post as always, Chris!

    • Yes you’re right – I suppose the more successful you get the more you can afford the luxury of shaping your world to suit your habits. In some way though I think most writers probably try to create and environment or routine which helps them work effectively – I know I do.

      • I recently read a biography of Lucy Maude Montgomery and was struck by the discipline with which she approached her writing, despite having endless responsibilities and a very difficult personal life.

    • Thank you for sharing your practice of storing your chapters on your blog. I had actually started doing the same but was unsure of whether it was a good idea. Thanks. You just never know which small detail will help someone. Have A Great One!

  2. I remember reading that, as James Baldwin got more and more famous, he found it more and more difficult to write without interruption. Everyone in New York knew him, and wanted to call on him. So did everyone in Paris. If I recall correctly, he wrote some of his later work in Turkey.

    • Ah, now that’s a problem most of us won’t have to contend with isn’t it? I can’t imagine very many authors having to worry about being pestered in public these days. JK Rowling aside, the age of the celebrity author seems to be a thing of the past – and most of them can walk the streets unmolested. In fact, many members of the public would barge past even the most celebrated author to get to a cast member from The Only Way is Essex.

      • I don’t know if it was being pestered in public as much as it was the number of drinking buddies he had ;- ) “Jimmy, let’s go out to dinner! Let’s go to this place and that place!” IIRC, he and William Styron were great friends, and writers are great at distracting each other…

  3. I agree with Val – some of these writers are lucky! I ahev at least 3 jobs (looking after BH and cats is one) and about to be blessed with an extension to the family, which is going to take up a lot of time, I’m sure…so have to write as and when. Full of admiration for those people who get up at the crack of dawn to fit in a few hours before the rest of the household awakes!

    • Yes, all the ‘first I have a cold shower, then I write 10,000 words, then I do four hours of Ashram yoga’ stuff does seem a lot of hard work – no mucking about on twitter and playing Angry Birds for these guys

  4. I think we can get a bit too hung up on how the famous and successful have gone about things. But perhaps I’m just saying that because I’ve just done a post on this myself and I don’t measure up very well against the so-called creatives! On the other hand, I’m really lucky to have the space to be flexible and years of training in self-discipline to render me not overly avoidant.

  5. I wish I could keep a writing routine. Unfortunately, being a full-time student and having a part-time job makes that somewhat difficult. Still, if I could I’d set up a writing routine similar to the ones mentioned above. I might even have a separate room to write in. For now though, I’ll continue what I’m doing: writing as much as I can during the evenings and when I have a lunch break, making progress little by little.

  6. Thank you for sharing this, Chris. It’s interesting to know what others’ writing processes look like. But, in the end and as you have mentioned, it’s important to honor “your own way” and not get hung up on the ways of others. Sadly, I know many who have.

  7. I wrote a blog on a similar vein recently (take a look if you fancy). It is difficult to be precise on a location when starting out. I have a lovely office well set up that I just use for admin. Writing goes on anywhere but there. Agree to the need for routine though. Crucial

  8. Simple. I stopped using words like routine, work, schedule, office, process, discipline, deadline, etc. and inspiration blasted open like a fire hose.

    Applies to everything, really.

  9. I’m closest to Ernest Hemingway. I write first thing in the morning. Only, when I do it, it’s over a big, plate of bacon and sunny-side-up at my favourite local greasy spoon. Terrible for my arteries and my wallet, but hey, with writing out of the way, I can go for a run at night and burn it off. Whatever works, right? : )

  10. Though I’m not very experienced in writing, I’d like to add something in this discussion. I had made some routine in writing but without any intention of making it. As I’m a college student the only free time I get to sit in front of my laptop is during night. I got used to this routine and even in vacations, I could write only after my dinner. During the day hours sitting in front of the screen was just waste of time. (Unlike the other authors who likes to work in morning hours) It’s just what happened without any intention. Another thing is that I need music in ears while writing. Again, it’s just what happened. Without music I can think but I can’t portray those thoughts on paper. Even the place where I sit matters. I need to stretch my legs over my bed while writing. Without that words don’t come out.
    So I guess, this ‘Writers Place and Writer’s Time’ plays some role in every story.

  11. Thank you for writing this post. As someone who is taking a self-imposed break from a promising career unrelated to writing, I have found that I love to write. So, currently I am trying to develop a writing routine while ensuring I keep the passion which has been lost to me for a very long time. And, while I hope one day to publish, in the meantime, my theory is write, write and write some more, and eventually I might just create a gold nugget. And, your ideas about a writing routine really resonate with me. Thank you for the inspiration.

  12. I find Hemingway’s idea that you should stop writing when you know where you’re going very interesting. You always hear people talking about writer’s block, and how they might do something away from the computer to get their thoughts flowing again. But I think I agree with Hemingway, that the only way to get through what you don’t know is to continue writing and revising until you make sense of where you’re going. For me, I write until my thoughts on a particular subject or experience are done. I haven’t had too much experience writing novels, but for longer works, I like to break my writing up into sections. I set a goal for a certain day and don’t stop until I’m done. It’s very important that the goals I set are reasonable though, as writing can slip when I lose focus. Great post. If you like sports at all, check out my sports blog – http://wildamericangooner.com

  13. Hemingway is right when he said “write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next”. I guess it holds true for anyone—novice or professional. Writers write at the time of day or night when words flow like water in the stream.

    • A lot of scriptwriters including my film tutors recommend this technique. When you see the light and a path begins to clear, you can relax, chill, breath. Just remember to jump straight back on the wagon until you get to the end!

  14. Interesting topic. I find when writing a novel of 80,000 words or more, I spend the first half hour of my writing time going back and re-reading the previous chapters, just so I can keep the flow going. I could never sit down and write immediately. Each to their own method I guess.

  15. I’m too indisciplined to have cultivated a writing habit yet. When I do write, I sit and scribble or type for hours, writing and editing and re-editing as and when the fancy comes. I try to write at certain times, but it’s difficult. I’m so lazy 😦 Anyone got any tips?

  16. I wonder did any of the writers still stick to their routines when they were unable to write and if that made it better or worse?
    Can the routine itself stifle creativity?

  17. I’m a morning typist. And that is how I see it because as a former secretary, I can type faster than I can write. So I type stream of consciousness and try for a thousand words a day.

  18. I don’t really have a routine, other than the night is when my writing seems to improve. But,
    I write when the moment strikes me, when I’ve been inspired by something I love, and can’t resist writing about. Sometimes if the topic I’ve started does not seem fun mid-way through, and I’m no longer inspired – I often come up with a new topic, a new direction and work with that.

  19. I don’t have a writing routine either and most of the time I feel guilty for procrastinating. Anyways, this is a great blog. I had a good read. Thanks for sharing!

  20. I write for a living–but a different kind of writing. That’s my nine-to-five job, but then for my personal writing I have a different routine.

    I prefer the late hours of the evening, right around this time. It’s quiet, serene, and I have all the day’s events to serve as prompts if I’m at a loss for words.

    Thank you for writing this, I really appreciate it. It’s nice to know that other people have writing routines too.

  21. Reblogged this on liferph and commented:
    I am actually establishing my own routine for everyday productivity. No distractions, with an end in mind and continuous focus to what I have to do. It’s not easy in the beginning, but I will get in the same mode as them.

  22. Wow, so good to read this – I have just come home after being at a bloggers lunch meeting and we were talking about this very thing! I am such a night owl personally but this could be because I am also a nurse, but with the fact that I have now begun working more kind hours I might just have to mend my ways and get up early in the morning to do my writing.

  23. Thanks to everyone for their lovely and thought provoking comments on here today – always a thrill to connect with fellow members of the writing and reading community from round the world 🙂

  24. Thank you so much for this very practical nudge to establish a routine! I believe I am not alone here at being grateful to you for sharing. Best wishes!

  25. Reblogged this on hope1394 and commented:
    Writing has become a stress reliever for me. In one way or another, I have developed a habit to write about my thoughts all the time especially when I couldn’t find some other way to express what I truly feel.
    I become more genuine and carefree when I write. I couldn’t think of another activity which could bring out the best in me.

  26. I live in the deep south, and am mom to a busy house full of boys so rising at the dawn’s first light, cup of coffee in hand I take my Bible, my notebook and my pen and sit outside in the cool of the morning. I always write my books by hand, in a composition notebook. I just like the feel of the pen in my hand moving across a blank piece of paper. When I feel like the flow has stopped, I breathe in the beauty of the morning air, close my eyes and listen to the sounds of the woods around me waking up and pray. Then I get back to writing before I hear the unmistakable sounds of another kind of wildlife ( my boys) waking up and wanting pancakes!

  27. This is very timely for me. I am trying to create my own writing routine and figure out what works, especially as I write non-fiction as my day job. It’s hard to develop good habits!

  28. Thanks for this post. Georges Simenon, one of my favorite authors, was very routinized in his writing. He would mark on a calendar the end date. He’d then work daily from early morning to midday, crossing-off the days on the calendar – a chapter a day. He spent the rest of the day drinking wine (although he may well have started that while writing!) and carrying-on with his life.

  29. I know someone who is into writing, and only taps away at his laptop keyboard when he is inspired and wants to write. If you force yourself, in my opinion, the writing seems stale and not original if you get what I mean.

    • I find this to be very true. But, some of the best works come out of and through those tumultuous seasons. I find it therapeutic to write through it in hope that it will help my prospective; Because, sometimes, that mountain is just a mole hill, that hurricane wind is really just a breeze, that light rain is not the beginning of a tsunami, it’s just rain. Try it. You may be surprised how the real and the raw translates when you add your creative impulses to it (shameless plug but it fits, right?) Happy writing tessadoghor!

  30. What a great read. I love writing and ever since I started my blog, I have been tied down and have not found anything to write about. This was great to read and apply! Thank you.

  31. This is so true… I believe each writer has a process by which they reach a different state of connectivity with their creativity. And Murakami states it so well: “I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind.”

  32. This is brilliant and well timed…there was a time when I would write every day…(never a book or anything but some random thoughts) and some of them might result in a blog or something. Now, I’ve given that habit up and havent posted anything in nearly a year…I guess I need to make it a routine for me…
    Thanks a lot for sharing this. Good luck with your book.

  33. I write when the moment arrives. My self writers rule is to write out what thoughts come to me until they are all out on paper.
    Because I have found that if I try ignore the words at that moment that I am risking losing the majority of those sets of words.
    I write poetry mainly (and short stories also) and have had words come to me in my sleep. Startling me awake while at the same time my fingers are searching for the pen in the dark and writing the words out while turning the lamp on to see.

  34. Reblogged this on The Write Time, the Right Place and commented:
    Establishing a routine is extremely hard in our fast-paced society. This blog post gives great insight into famous writers’ routines. In order to become successful, a writer must continually practice and revise.

  35. What a beautifully quirky routine from Angelou! Great to see a variety of writers’ accounts of their work habits–it’s too easy to think there’s just one way to get great work done.

  36. Very interesting piece. As my day job as a Technical Writer consumes a large amount of my day (usually 10 hrs or so), I can’t be too picky about when I write fiction, blog content etc. But, I do my best work early in the day, whether it is documenting a software app, or writing a poem. I usually start work between 5 and 6 am. I have always been in awe of these writers who are pounding away on the keyboard into the wee hours — me, anything I write after 5 PM is certain to be garbage.

  37. Dear Ms. Angelou,

    I first wonder if I am writing to You.

    If so, I will tell you that my preferred routine is to get up just after my hubby leaves for work, approximately 5:04am/PST, run warm water in my jet tub, grab my current composition book, 99CENT reading glasses, rolled up towel to place on the rim, adjust my inflatable bath pillow and excitedly jump in! As soon as the globes of soap begin to flourish and the warmth of my aquatic world cloaks me, I close my eyes and entrust my heart and head to creativity.

    I eternally remember where I left off and my emotion at the interim I put my Journal aside. It is at that instant that I wipe the bubbles off my fingers, collect my pen, and begin to write.

    This is my routine…

    MsSOS2014
    xoxo

  38. Interesting that a routine is prompted. I have always thought that writing is spontaneous and is raw when it comes directly from the moment in time when the thought sprouted. This piece made me rethink about how to write. Maybe I should switch up my non-routine for a regimented routine? However, even if a routine isn’t scheduled, it doesn’t mean you don’t have a natural flow of writing. It just means that time does not factor how your creativity should expand. Interesting read.

  39. Reblogged this on Puke Draft Central and commented:
    Something I didn’t think about when I started writing. I just thought I had to learn the best way to get the words on the page. So I wrote easily and abundantly.

    Then I read what other people did, began to imitate them. Writing stuttered, productivity halted.

    I reflected. Realised I wrote better at certain times than others. Began to ritualise. Productivity fluctuated.

    In the end? I figure you do whatever you’ve got to do to get the words on the page. Don’t spend so much time thinking about it that you don’t get to do it.

    And for some of us, those who work full-time, writing is simply the thing you do when you can. A routine is a luxury.

  40. Super interesting post.

    I do have a bit if a routine. I wake up, read blogs with my morning coffee, hit the gym for an hour and a half and think about what I’d like to write about. When I get home, I grab a bite and start typing.

  41. Very interesting these habits for writing inspiration and focus. I haven’t figured out my writing habits. But suffice to say, on the day that I do write (and I don’t even blog that often), would have been a day I would have done some cycling or walking before or after writing. I would have or have at my side, some tea with milk.

    Then I write-draft directly on my computer for a few hrs. I rarely play any music at all. So I am composing in silence, peace…which is how I work anyway. (With painting, I do play baroque music.) The walls around in front of me, behind the computer screen, are bare, no photos, paintings. So I understand Maya’s preference not to have visual nor audio distractions.

    I do interrupt myself whenever I need to which might include preparing a meal or taking out the garbage.

  42. I love the routines these writers have, but can’t really say I have one of my own. There are a few ways in which I sit down to write and they vary, depending on the time and day. I never stick to just one method because I know full well I would never be able to keep to it.

  43. This is a very enjoyable read! It’s nice to hear some tips from writers. I myself am very new to the blogging world and am finding that difficult enough. I cannot really fathom the huge undertaking a novel would be. Sometimes I find myself writing a few blog posts a day and forcing myself to stop or sleep. Other times I just cannot find the words.

  44. Thank you for writing this! I’m new to formal writing and have just started my blog. I find it difficult to write when I know I should be doing my day job. Currently sat in a cafe with a pad and pen hoping people don’t think I’m a weirdo!

    Think I could do with a routine – will let you know how it goes.

    Sophie

  45. Great read. I was pleasantly surprised to find my own writing routine similar to the brilliant Murakami’s routine. I find that structure is the best thing to have when you’re seriously working on a novel. I like to wake up and run for an hour or two before the sun comes up, get in an hour of writing before work, then return to write another chapter or two after work. I find that if I start to slip from this routine I get lazy and turn on the TV and find it hard to really concentrate again.

    I really enjoyed reading this.

  46. Hi, I am Danyealah and I am a young writer/blogger/poet. Writing is definitely a passion of mine and I have always thought of the importance of applying a “writing routine” to my own life. Often, I catch myself writing on-the-go – I’ll be sitting in a library and a thought may hit me. Then, I pull out my phone, open the Notes application and quickly type in my thoughts. Last summer I had established a great writing routine. I would go out onto my lanai (a screened in porch) in the afternoon, listen to the sound of the rain, and sit and write for about an hour or two. I think I may pick up that habit again. Great reading your post!

  47. Thank you for sharing. Comforting to know that many of us go through days when the will is just not present! I had read about Maya Angelou’s routine and was honestly very envious about the complete independence of her routine. I’d love to just be gone for a few hours but ….! Speaking of routines and special places for inviting the muse, I read in a book “Creative Non-Fiction”, about a teacher of writing who had a few Latina women with a burning desire to write. However their various jobs and the fact that they had very young children plus their cramped living quarters were a stumbling block for them. The teacher suggested that their next assignment would be to dedicate a small space in their apartment to writing or come up with the most creative solution to this problem. The next week, there were a few solutions! One managed to write on top of her son’s head in a small notebook while he was watching television. Another set up a table and chair
    in a corner and absolutely threatened her kids if they touched her writing materials etc. I loved the third one. This young pulled out from the pocket of her jeans, a small notebook that she fashioned herself. She had cut two pieces of cardboard to the size of her jean’s pocket, cut blank paper the same size and after making three holes, she had bound them with a piece of twine. “I carry my desk with me”. Where there is a strong desire, the solution is always present. Now if only I can come up with one for myself…I mean on a regular basis.

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  49. well dear I’m still a junior high school student,i have to go to school and do the homework and study for the tests et cetera,how can I have a writing routine?I love writing but there isn’t enough time for me!!! x_____X

  50. I’m still finding my routine. A habit is one thing I do need. I’m probably between Maya and Haruki: I need to be active for inspiration but also in complete isolation for flow. Thanks for the continual reminder that a habit is of utmost importance when it comes to production:)

  51. Thank you for that post. I am trying to find the time to have a routine. I try early mornings since everyone is still asleep and I have peace and quite. Hopefully my persistence pays off one day and I can finish a book 🙂

  52. Such great ideas. I have a meditation routine which I stick to as much as possible (new baby is making it hard though!) Maybe I can add a writing period to that block to make it happen.

  53. Great story and really made me think about my own writing routine. While not as formal as many professional novelists, I definitely have a routine. Unfortunately mine usually involves chasing kids as I am trying to put words down on the paper 🙂 That quiet hotel room sounds fantastic 🙂

  54. Thanks for the read! I’m just starting off writing outside academic forms and I’m trying to figure out when and for how long I should write for. At the moment I’m just going with the flow but this article provided some nice insight the writing habits of accomplished authors. Thanks.

  55. I love this post. It’s always so interesting to see the process behind the art of so many literary masters. My own process could use some work and more regularity I’m afraid. If a person, such as myself, does not write full time, it is sometimes difficult to be as dedicated. But I would say my process is to wake up and write, a blanket on my lap and a heater at my feet. I have a desk that must be cleared and I love the morning silence to keep my mind from wandering. Two cups of coffee or a pot of tea and one light on the desk, the rest of the room dark.

  56. Great post! There is quite a bit of diversity in writing styles, which is encouraging. It validates that there is no right or wrong way to write. I tend to enjoy writing first thing in the morning too. I feel like my mind is more clear. I keep a notepad near by so I can jot down ideas to either research or write about. Thanks for the great post.

  57. Good stuff. Wish I was a morning writer, but I have to crank up my brain. By noon I’m raring to go and snarl at anyone who comes near my office (in my home) until dinnertime. Even the dog has learned to cross her legs and be quiet.

  58. Hm…I don’t have my own routine, not yet. But so far, I do find that I write best when I have something more pressing to do. When I have laundry, dishes, and writing, it’s a bit of a toss-up, but if I have, say, homework (which I don’t anymore), I’ll write instead of do the homework. And if I’m at work and I have a project which I should be doing, but I can afford to write a little bit, I’ll write. But put me up against writing or playing the newest game I got off the Steam summer sale and I’ll have that game beaten before I’ve typed a word. It’s a game of procrastination where I need to be procrastinating something by writing, which means I need to have something more important to be doing.

    It’s interesting to me how many writers perform their craft in the morning – you’ve even listed two! I could never do that. Night owl to the end. I can even bypass procrastination’s pull better late at night when I should be sleeping – or maybe I”m just procrastinating sleeping.

  59. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts! It is definitely a comfort to know neither habit nor habitat are determining factors for success as a writer. Writing is something I’ve always loved to do. Sharing my work, not so much..until now. For me, sitting down with the intent to write is usually not how it starts for me. As strange as it sounds, inspiration seems to walk up slowly a few lines at a time as if to give me time to get pen to paper. In this new age of technology, I have started using the recorder on my cell phone as thoughts sometimes start on my long drive to and from work. One place I absolutely love to go to write is the park near the water and the ducks (that I’m just the tiniest bit afraid of). Writing outside seems freeing (when I’m not watching for the ducks, of course). Whether cleansing or purging, the bathroom is also an excellent place for a single mom to write (maybe it’s just me). I am launching my blog soon, Creative Impulses (rjohns029) as an venue to share my work and others. I hope you’ll lend your thoughts and views, lines and verses to interface and enhance my space. I look forward to hearing from you all again in the bloggesphere!
    Thanks to all!

  60. Thank you for all the interesting inputs…..I have just started writing in jan this year,and writing comes to me not on a daily basis,wonder if this happens to everyone?

  61. Thanks everyone – if I’m honest there’s too many comments here for me to reply to you all individually as is my normal policy – I’m thrilled you all enjoyed my post and please do take a look at some of my others – most deal with the writing process, reading fiction or the reality of having a book in print and how to make the most of that in terms of marketing etc. there are some great comments here and very interesting points made – I will be exploring as many of your blogs as I can soon 🙂

  62. I loved reading this. I am an aspiring writer, and I just started working on my first book a month ago. I don’t really have a writing routine yet, because my life has been very chaotic. I have a day job, but I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder two weeks ago, so I’ve been off work and spent some time in the hospital. I wrote the first 12,000 words of my book in one setting, on the bus from Toronto to Montreal. I wrote them all handwritten and by the time the seven-hour bus ride was over, my hand was cramping up. The next week, I typed up all of my notes, editing as I went. Since then, I’ve written an additional 20,000 words but my process has been sporadic. Generally, i write down in a notebook random thoughts about stories I want to include (I’m writing a memoir). Then later, when I get to a computer, I’ll type out all of the stories I’ve thought about, and generally write for about an hour-hour and a half. I often will get inspiration at the most random times, so I text myself so I don’t forget a brilliant flash of creativity.

  63. Reblogged this on Adept Rules and commented:
    This is very refreshing. I am just now setting about writing my first book and some people seem to think that it can be done easily in a loud house or café with people jutting about. It is a form of deep meditation which requires solice – at least for me.

  64. I do have a specific routine; however, I’ve got some challenges to kick to the curb. One major hurtle is m.s.-related fatigue. Most days I barely get out of bed! When I do write, I have gotten into this: first, post a sign on my door, “do not disturb”, (I reside in an assisted living facility); next, I pop a piece of gum, chomp away on that while read ” Walking on Alligators–a book of meditations for writers” by Susan Shaughnessy, I take a notes of she writes; then, I pray to God that He bless what work I do and that He received the glory first and foremost; lastly, then I pull out my 1st draft of my story, and ‘do it to it’! Not all days are at productive, yet, I do my very best.

  65. A great read. I’ve read about many different ways and habits of writers. I was surprised to find a photo of Mark Twain writing in bed lying under the sheets! Ernest Hemingway sometimes writes on his kitchen counter standing up. I don’t have a strict schedule and I write anywhere around the house, but my favorite spot is the lanai. The best time for me though is when everyone else is either away or sleeping. No distractions.

  66. I try to write as much as I can but I don’t have a routine because I work two jobs and my son is all over. But I wish I had more of a routine when it came to writing. I enjoy it so much. I just need to make time and maybe stick to thay time, a time that I’m in a quiet space and no one and nothing can distract me.

  67. I thinks routine in writing works like discipline. It is the process that breeds clarity in mind and manages time like nothing else. It is best for mental relaxation because writing is never easy. We are obsessed with the outcomes, consequences and mind can be in deep stress. A routine can take care 🙂 Well thanks for sharing this wonderful article, glad reading.

  68. When I was younger and didn’t require as much sleep I used to love writing in the earlier hours of the morning, when the world was fast asleep. Now with a full time consuming job, it’s notes at lunchtime, creating recipes in the evening, trying to remember what I put in the recipes so I can write them and transfer the right photo!! Then for the writing my mind chews over ideas throughout the week, and the weekend is spent after all the cleaning and organising distractions are out of the way, writing prolifically! It’s a cock-eyed routine! But good to read how others handle it 😀

  69. Reblogged this on Hop Aboard and commented:
    I found this article very interesting. I have no routine whatsoever and write only when I feel like it though I do find that having Scrivener software has made the adhoc approach easier. The main thing for me is that my writing space be free of clutter.

  70. A writing routine is important, I mean you want to keep focused as much as possible at your writings , but did you notice any similarities in the great writes writing routine ?
    Its simple most of them start writing early in the morning, why do you think that is?
    Dreams, thats the key word. Our dreams are the door to another world created by us, the next step to create it so that everyone can see it is to write it down, at least thats what I think.
    For my routine though I use a state of bliss to help me out writing, like I listen to a good song that brings me in a good mood or something that makes me happy or motivated and than I just write until I cant anymore, than I do something else and think about what I wrote .

  71. “The point is to make progress, and to do so in a structured way,” that is the most significant take away for me. I don’t have a consistent routine; I am developing it. I believe that is why your post was so appealing to me.
    I love how Maya Angelou invest so much in her art that she pays for a hotel room. My own apartment isn’t conducive to getting work done (thin walls/ roommate/ constant distraction). I won’t be renting out a hotel room anytime soon, but at least I recognize my place doesn’t work.
    I am curious: (you mentioned you have a day job and write for 90 mins at the end of your day) what do you sacrifice to create that time for yourself; how do you preserver?
    Reading this provided confirmation and a kick in the pants. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Bryanda! I don’t really think of it in terms of sacrifice – it’s a important part of my life – though obviously so is my family, work and so on. We all have our hobbies don’t we and spend time watching TV, reading and so on – so I’ve never found it too hard to make a little room for writing even before I was published.

  72. Reblogged this on Anne Simpson and commented:
    I came across this interesting post. Even though these routines are not for everyone, it’s important to find what works for you. You are training yourself physiologically and physically, like with any profession 🙂

  73. Interesting read. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. Developing a writing routine sounds a lot easier than actually doing it but it does sound like a very important discipline on which I might benefit a lot.

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