Habit 7: Create a Writing Routine

Creating a Routine that Works for You

Another habit of successful writers is to create a routine and to follow the routine as much as you can. Part of creating a successful routine, one that works, is to know when you write best, and when you can fit writing into your life so that you can write consistently. If you think of it, most of our lives are made up of routines. We wake up at a certain time, we go to bed at a certain time, we go to work at a certain time, and we eat our meals at certain times. These are all routines that are well entrenched. The same holds for exercise. We are most successful if we create a schedule for our workouts that fits into our lives so that we can work out on a consistent basis. Then we will be fit and healthy. Why can’t we use this same kind of reasoning for our writing? After all, our best writing can only be done if we regularly show up to write. Here are a few ways to ensure that you honor your writing routine:

  • Set small goals to achieve those larger goals. While a large goal is exciting to tackle, it can become overwhelming and even frustrating quickly. So, make sure that you set small, doable goals that are realistic given the other things that you have going on in your life.
  • Decide what you would like to achieve with your writing goals for the next quarter. Starting is key.
  • Lay out a plan. Start with one week and schedule all your writing to complete that goal. Then show up every time you are supposed to write.
  • Be consistent with the time you decide to write. This can help you ensure that it becomes a habit.
  • Be prepared to start writing at the set time. When you say you will start writing at 7 pm, for instance, show up a few minutes before that so that you can start right on time. Don’t check email, open documents, or anything else. You must be ready to write at 7.

Think of it this way: if you are supposed to start work in an office at 8 am, do you show up at 8 am and get started? Probably not. Instead, you arrive ten or fifteen minutes earlier and get ready so that you can get started right on time. Try to do the same with your writing time.

  • Track your progress. When you complete a small part of your goal for the week, check off what you completed. Then decide what you will do next week.
  • Reward yourself for a job well done. If you complete your goals, or even most of your goals for the week, do something nice for yourself. It can go out for a cup of java with friends at your local coffee shop or having a special meal. You can also have a glass of wine if you would like. Or you may want to go for a manicure or pedicure.

By taking these steps, you will be paving your path to success. What is more, you will feel successful and self-confident. As a bonus, as you set up a routine that works for you, at a consistent time, after a few weeks you will want to write, even if you are tired and not feeling like writing. The routine will urge you to go to your office and write. This is when genuine success happens. You will complete your writing goals, and you will feel confident and happy. Try it!