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Establishing a Writing Routine: Advice from Accomplished Writers

Establishing a Writing Routine: Advice from Accomplished Writers

To help you establish a consistent writing routine and maintain productivity, we've gathered fifteen insightful tips from accomplished authors, editors, and other writing professionals. From capturing daily life moments to setting personal deadlines and goals, these experts share their best strategies to help you stay on track with your writing.

  • Capture Daily Life Moments

  • Keep a Running Text of Ideas

  • Adopt a Structured Writing Routine

  • Utilize Social Media for Practice

  • Set Daily Word Limit and Separate Tasks

  • Embrace Detailed Outlines and Feedback

  • Establish Non-Negotiable Writing Appointments

  • Practice Writing in Public Forums

  • Maintain Multiple Projects Simultaneously

  • Align Tasks with Peak Productive Hours

  • Implement an End-of-Day Writing Routine

  • Eliminate Distractions for Productivity

  • Explore Different Writing Formats

  • Maximize Your Writing Streaks

  • Set Personal Deadlines and Goals

Capture Daily Life Moments

Maintaining the discipline to write consistently is important, but it alone will not miraculously conjure good ideas in your mind.

The practice of incessantly capturing daily life moments is the sole reason I rarely find myself staring at a blank page with no ideas. Knowing that I possess something, even the tiniest starting point, acts as a driver for me. This morning, I wrote ten pages, and my source of inspiration was none other than the word "Dodgy."

Amy Lyle, Author, TEDx Speaker, and the Creator and Co-Host of Sarcastic Mommy, the Podcast

Keep a Running Text of Ideas

The actual answer is, I don't! I don't always have time to devote to writing, but I'm always coming up with fresh stories or angles depending on what I'm doing in my day, whether I'm at work or not.

I keep a running text to myself on my phone, so wherever I am, I can send messages to myself so I don't forget the idea. Then, when I have a moment to focus on writing, I can easily refer to my list.

Linda Zebian, Senior Director, Communications and Community, Muck Rack

Adopt a Structured Writing Routine

Establishing a writing routine is often one of the most challenging aspects for any new writer.

As someone who's been writing for over 20 years, it didn't come easy.

Having a weekly block of time on my calendar each week reminds me of this process, and I write a monthly content calendar at the beginning of the month.

The calendar I create using Google Docs is just a list of dates with links to the Google Doc for that week's topic. The brain can keep us out of creation mode, but if you are genuinely passionate about what you are creating or writing, then you'll prioritize this. Most of my work has come to me at the most unexpected times. When I'm about to sleep or wake up, these are the most common times I get a nudge that it's time to write.

Seek what inspires you, and create your writing expressing how you think, feel, or experience the world. If you're a fiction writer, dive into the characters as if they are real and interact with them.

Deb Schell, Founder, Writer, Find Calm Here

Utilize Social Media for Practice

This may sound weird, but I make it a point to write a brief review on my social media posts, like Facebook and Instagram, of every food place I have visited and all the games I have played, either online games or even board games. I find this helpful to maintain a consistent writing routine, albeit a short one, compared to long-form content.

Most of us spend some time browsing social media, me included, so why not make use of the time to hone our writing skills a bit? The key here is to practice something that will maintain productivity, and writing lengthy social media post captions, fueled by the love of sharing the good stuff with your friends and family circle, is definitely it for me!

Jonie Toh, Chief Editor, The Gamerian

Set Daily Word Limit and Separate Tasks

My first tip is to be sensible. Devote each morning to writing and stop after writing 5,000 words or when lunch rolls around. This way, there's always a chance to be productive, but when not, it doesn't ruin the whole day.

Most people can't write well every single day. If permission isn't given to quit after a while on the off days, most of the "writing time" will be spent not actually writing, and it will feel awful. And there will be a hatred for writing.

My second tip is don't write until you know what to say.

Never sit down to write until you know what to say, because thinking is better when walking or driving than in front of the computer. And make time for walking or driving.

Writing is actually two tasks: deciding what to say and figuring out a good way to say it. Most people can't do both at the same time. So, besides devoting time to "writing," carve out time to think: on a walk, in the car, with friends, in a bar—whatever works.

Joel Hoffman, Speaker and Author, Joel M. Hoffman

Embrace Detailed Outlines and Feedback

One of the most helpful things I've added to my writing routine is how I approach the research and outline stage. I've always been a big fan of outlines, as I find they reduce procrastination and help me write faster.

To further improve my workflow, I started creating more detailed outlines and getting feedback before starting my first draft. This helps in several ways.

First, it ensures you're including key points from stakeholders. Second, it makes it easier for you to skip around and write different sections if you get stuck on one. Third, it saves a lot of time in the review stage. Doing this gave me a noticeable boost in productivity, and I love the momentum it gives me.

Heather Oliver, Content Creator, Finix

Establish Non-Negotiable Writing Appointments

We can establish a consistent writing routine by setting dedicated time slots for writing each day. Select a time when you're most alert and focused, whether it's early in the morning or late at night, and stick to it religiously.

By treating your writing sessions as non-negotiable appointments, you train your mind to expect and prioritize this creative time. Avoid distractions, turn off notifications, and create a clutter-free workspace during these periods.

Over time, this routine becomes a habit, and your productivity and writing quality improve significantly. So, remember to protect your writing time as you would any other important commitment—it's the key to staying on track and consistently producing valuable content.

Practice Writing in Public Forums

I've found the most success in adopting the advice of online writers, Nicolas Cole and Dickie Bush: "Practice in public."

This means to use social media or other public forums as your place to practice daily writing. Not only do you sharpen your writing skills, but you also discover which topics resonate most with readers.

Because writing online provides feedback, I find it much easier to stick to a consistent writing routine. It's exciting knowing that my next Twitter thread could go viral simply by writing a little each day.

Chad Davis, Writer, Editor, Content Marketer,

Maintain Multiple Projects Simultaneously

It sounds kind of silly, but have two projects you're working on at a time. I procrastinate on my main project by writing things in my second project, so having a rotation of a few things to work on is a good way to head off writer's block and just general inconsistency as you're always working on something.

Sometimes, the creative juices just will not be there for the thing you've been bashing your head against for the last weeks or months, and that's okay. Change your way of thinking and work on something else until that motivation and energy comes back.

Align Tasks with Peak Productive Hours

Establishing a consistent writing routine begins with identifying and understanding your most productive times of the day. These are often referred to as your "peak hours"—the times of day when your energy, creativity, and concentration tend to be at their highest.

As a content writer, it's important to align your most demanding writing tasks with these peak hours to ensure that you are working as efficiently and effectively as possible. Peak hours tend to be in the very late evening for some, corresponding to the fact that they consider themselves a night owl.

It's also essential to have a clear plan for what needs to be achieved during this time, whether it's drafting a new piece, editing existing content, or brainstorming ideas for future projects. Having a clear goal in mind helps stay focused and motivated during these peak hours.

Klaudia Pham, Content Marketing Specialist, Natu.Care

Implement an End-of-Day Writing Routine

When I wrote my first book, I set a solid end-of-day routine for myself to enter the writing day with as much momentum as possible. I summarize my achievements, including the number of words, pages, and quick learnings. I also write what I'm excited to write about the next day.

At the start of every writing day, when I review those notes, they remind me of what I'm looking forward to and keep my spirit going when I feel fatigue kick in.

Gilian Ortillan, Marketer, Writer and Solopreneur, TheFearlessMarketer

Eliminate Distractions for Productivity

As an editor, I'm constantly in demand. One of the biggest productivity blockers is the constant distraction of notifications. In an always-on world, phones, watches, and computers provide a never-ending supply of updates and information that is perfect for disrupting flow.

When I have a big project to write, read, or edit, I leave the phone in another room, switch off my laptop's Wi-Fi, and set aside an hour or two in a quiet space where the digital world can't distract me.

Liam O'Dowd, Editor, leafie

Explore Different Writing Formats

Don't pigeonhole yourself into one medium. If you're working on a book, then also have a blog on the side. These are just examples, but ‌sometimes you're going to get into a rut. It's unavoidable, happens to everyone, and trying to bulldoze your way through it can lead to greater issues down the line like burnout and losing your passion for the project.

This is why I recommend letting yourself explore other formats, letting your brain stretch in different ways so that you don't begin to dread the hours at your computer due to needing to force yourself to stick to a routine.

Maximize Your Writing Streaks

When you hit what I like to call "a writing streak," you cannot be interrupted without ruining your train of thought. Think of it like pulling a string; the string runs and runs until you reach the other end, and thinking of the writing process in that way will help you maintain your writing productivity.

Don't stop pulling the string until you've reached the other end. If you're running with a thought, don't stop mid-sentence if you can help it. If you do, you may derail your entire train of thought and lose the motivation that you had when you were on your hot streak.

Set yourself up for success. Have everything you need right in front of you: water, a snack, and a jacket if you get chilly. That way, you don't have to get up mid-thought to cater to your needs, and can instead keep writing as fast as your fingers and wrists can move. You'll find that by doing the above, you will remain productive in your writing endeavors.

Stefan Campbell, Owner, The Small Business Blog

Set Personal Deadlines and Goals

Just because you might work for yourself doesn't mean that you shouldn't impose your own deadlines. Setting specific goals and personal due dates is a great way to help keep your writing on track and remain productive.

A daily word count is a common starting point in implementing this. A daily target is a real, tangible benchmark for progress. Additionally, once you get in gear with the process, start setting goals that are beyond just the daily grind. Specific milestones, like finishing a chapter by the end of the week or a rough draft of the next couple of chapters by the end of the month, will help you have something to root your daily goals off of.

Deadlines help writers avoid procrastination, but rewards can also help. Promise yourself some sort of indulgence or relaxing break for reaching your goals to help reinforce your consistency. Last, accountability is crucial, and having a writing buddy or group to support each other and hold each other accountable is a powerful motivator.

Bobby Lawson, Technology Editor/Publisher, Earth Web


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