If you are looking to write a novel or a screenplay, the only way to finish your tasks is to create a routine that is both comfortable and sustainable.
Without a steady writing routine, you can’t accomplish your goal and improve your writing skills.
Just like any other skill, writing needs to be worked on, trained and pushed to the next level. Only then you can achieve greatness. It might sound contradicting to one of my previous posts about the daily word count, but a routine shouldn’t be hard or annoying to keep, on the contrary.
The most important elements of a writing routine:
- You need to really want it. Without the goal in mind there’s no point in winging it. I recommend having at least one person who is willing to read your fist draft when it’s finished. This is how you will know you are not writing for nothing.
- Find the time of day and space you are most comfortable in. program your mind to start being creative in a specific time and place every day or every week. When you are less concerned about errands and atmosphere you are open to inspiration.
- Start small; usually it takes about 30 days to start a new routine that sticks. Don’t rush yourself. You have to build inspiration and motivation over time. Trust me it will grow with momentum. In the bottom of this post you will find a TED talk that address exactly this point.
- Tell people about your mission. It makes writing a real obligation because they are going to ask you in a few weeks about your progress. Don’t tell them you’re going to write a novel or that you’re preparing for it. Use the present tense. “I am, writing my novel”.
- Don’t edit yourself yet. Let your ideas flow and write them. When you edit yourself while writing you break the flow of creativity with self criticism. There’s a place for that later after you’re done and have some time off and away from your words.
- If by any chance you miss a day, compensate as fast as you can. It might happen that your doctor appointment is scheduled right on your writing time. Fill the gap on that day even for a few minutes to keep the routine alive and your mind engaged.
- Let yourself rest and enjoy other activities while you are not writing. Your routine can’t become another “job”. It can’t be a boring, predictable, pointless and demanding task that sets you as an assembly line worker. Have as much fun as you can and don’t be so hard on yourself. Meet your friends and family, Vent, get inspired, talk about your process with other writers and have one day off a week.
Try it for 30 days
Matt Cutts is a computer developer for Google that is used to try something new every 30 days. He insists on using your precious time to grow and learn something new even if it is small and stupid.
“The next 30 days are going to pass whether you like it or not, so why not think about something you have always wanted to try and give it a shot for the next 30 days?”
Watch Matt’s TED talk here:
Feel free to share this with other writers.
Comments? Post them under this article.