This is an open question for my writing buddies out there.
Recently, I’ve been reading about how writing regularly improves your style and flow, and focuses the mind. The advice makes perfect sense. Performing any task regularly is likely to yield some improvement. We see it all the time in sports – Jessica Ennis didn’t win an Olympic gold from sitting on her backside resting. However many of us don’t enjoy the luxury of time to sit at our computers, whiling away the days tapping at the keys. If you’re anything like me, you rush from task to task, fitting your writing around a day job, dog walking and being a mum taxi.
I suppose my writing habits in the past could be best described as haphazard. I squeezed it into every spare moment; there were times when I managed to write every day, others when I didn’t manage to pen a word for weeks. This isn’t necessarily wrong. It’s a very individual process and we have to find not only what works for us, but also what fits into our lifestyle. And I guess it worked – I wrote two books this way, although they took me around two years each to complete.
But I wonder whether changing my habits might make me a better writer?
So, I decided to take some deliberate steps to establish a regular routine. Finding it easier to write when the house is quiet, I’ve been getting up earlier in the mornings to walk my dog, feed and wave my family off to work and school, then devote some time to the pen. Some days I manage an hour, others only twenty minutes. But from Monday to Friday, I am consciously devoting a daily allocation.
I’ve always felt intimidated by other authors on Twitter who talk about writing two or three thousand words a day. The act of writing a novel includes research, editing, creating character profiles, plotting, as well as crafting those all important words. There’s an awful lot of thought that goes into the process. For my part, even when I have the time, I’d struggle to write one thousand good words in a day.
My new routine started last Wednesday and is going pretty well. If I make an hour, I can usually reach 500 words which I’m fairly happy with. Every day I watch my work in progress grow before my eyes. Perhaps if I continue in this fashion, I’ll complete the current novel within a year – a record for me! Although I’m aware it’s early days and, not a natural morning person, the novelty could soon wear off.
What is your writing routine? Or do you even manage one? I’d love to hear your thoughts.