When Do You Write?

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.




25 thoughts on “When Do You Write?

  1. Loved your blog and I wish you good luck with your new routine!

    I’ve dedicated several hours a day to writing, but I’m a hopeless insomniac, so it’s not a difficult task. Not a morning person either, late nights at my computer are the norm. Keep it up! You’ll have that third book done in no time at all!

    Best Wishes,
    LH

    • Aww, TY LH.

      Wow! Several hours a day. Wish I could match that. Problem is, I just love my bed too much:( Even getting up a little earlier is killing me, but it’s worth it watching my script grow. Thanks for stopping by. Jx

  2. I too find my writing to be haphazard. It is not my full-time occupation. I wish it were. I’ve been self assessing my desires and in July I will treat writing like a job. There must be a minimum amount completed each day, or I need to fire myself. I do admit that the underwhelming response to my trilogy kept me in an extended fog questioning whether to continue.

    As long as my writing does not consume the finances created by my money-making occupation, I will complete this 19 story mythology. Book 4 is completed and in editing and book 5 is underway. Stay the course if you truly love to tell stories.

    • Hi Edward,

      Thanks for your comment. It’s nice to think I’m not alone out there flailing in the wind, lol.

      We are very similar in that writing is also not my day job and certainly doesn’t pay the bills. It is a labour of love and we have to write because we enjoy it and hope others will too.

      Lovely to see you here.

      J

  3. always in the middle of the night, Mrs Janella, because no one, well meaning or otherwise, bothers me then! My only problem is that the night time hours are so short and the day time ones so long!

    • Hi Lady!

      Honoured to see you here.I’m beginning to think you are right. Sleep just gets in the way, lol.

      I’m definitely with you on the lack of distractions. Helps when the house is quiet.

      Thanks for sharing,

      J

  4. For the first time, writing is my day job. I was lucky that at my old job, if things were slow, they didn’t care if I wrote. I was chained to my computer (had to answer the phone) so I had hours a day with nothing else to do.
    Last year I retired, and haphazard is a mild word for how I’ve written. This month, a friend started what she calls, New 100. I write at least 100 new words a day and post on line. I’ve been averaging 800 words a day. Once I sit down, I write.
    I think you’ve got it right, do whatever you can, but try to do it every day.
    Besides, I can’t wait for your next book. 🙂

    • Thank you, Stephanie.

      It sounds like you’ve got a good routine going there. Lucky you.

      Thanks for your kind words and support. Fingers crossed I can keep it up.

      Jx

  5. Good for you! That sounds like a great strategy. I’ve talked about trying to be more disciplined about my writing, but my life is just too chaotic right now. Hopefully, it will change in the near future, and I can make a better writing schedule. I know I certainly get more done that way 🙂

  6. My schedule is haphazard, but if I go more than a day or so without doing *something* on my current novel/project I get twitchy. After two weeks, I would be impossible to live with. 🙂

    Don’t feel like you’re alone with the word count thing, though. When all the juices are flowing I can get 1000 or 1500 words, but most of the time I consider 500-600 words to be a good day.

    • Hi Jennifer!

      I know what you mean about twitchy. I think I have the twitchy t-shirt, lol.

      So heartening to hear your word count too.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Jane

  7. I’m very easily distracted, so I need time where everything is quiet and people aren’t bothering me. Sometimes, I can get up early in the morning and get some writing done, but I’ve found I usually write better at night. I tend to stay up late anyway, so once everything (human and canine) goes to sleep for the night, I have all the time in the world to write. It’s not so easy with my son staying up late for the summer, but I’ll figure something out.

  8. Hi Jane,

    When I’m into a story, I’m up before the rest of the house (including pups). It’s the only way I can write without a disturbance. What time? It could be anywhere from 4 to 6 a.m. I write for two hours.

    But my writing doesn’t end there. During the day, as I’m walking the dog on the beach, or driving in my car, or staring off into space, I’m thinking about the next series of scenes and what I’ll write next.

    Then before going to sleep, I read and edit my day’s work so that my first task the next morning is all laid out for me.

    Writing doesn’t end when you put down the pen or close the computer. It’s like breathing. It happens naturally.

    • Hi Gerard,

      I love love your routine, it’s so organised!

      I’m totally with you on the thought process. I especially enjoy considering characters, plotlines, settings while I am driving, walking my dog, eating lunch. For me, this is one of the most special parts of constructing a novel.

      Best of luck with your stories. Great to hear from you.

      J:)

      • I agree that it’s special. The nature of thinking about your story during the day leads to an excitement as you become a receptacle in which plot lines, characterization and details of the story are deposited. They come to you like gifts from heaven.

  9. No routine here! I just wrote a blog about how I get started on a day if you want to read it over (website posted above). I usually reserve weekends for writing. You seem like you’ve got some sort of a routine, and I’m jealous! good job 🙂

    • Hi Jacqueline,

      I’m definitely going to have to hop over and take a read!

      Weekends sound like a good plan. At least you have some regularity.

      Thanks for your kind words. Great to see you here.

      Jx

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