Building a daily writing routine is one of the best things a new author can do. Getting the words down on the page daily is a cornerstone habit of any successful writer.
The problem is finding the time, environment and inspiration to write daily can seem like an insurmountable obstacle.
Today I’m taking a closer look at my current daily writing routine. Hopefully you’ll see some similarities with your own routine and together we can strengthen this vital piece of our author business.
My Current Daily Writing Routine
For the past few years I’ve written daily on and off. I get motivated some months and commit to 1,000 words/day. Other months I’m more realistic and shoot for 250 words/day.
Thanks to Jeff Goins and his 500 words per day challenge I’m sticking to this goal moving forward.
I also use the Seinfeld Technique to track my daily progress. It is amazing how a simple “X” everyday can inspire you to hit your daily targets.
It has been over a month now and I haven’t missed a daily goal yet. I know, not much of a sample size but it is a start.
Writing Routine Strengths
When I do sit down to write one strength I have is great focus.
As long as there is no noise to distract me I can sit down and type out 1,000 words if I have to.
One reason I’m able to focus is my self-imposed social media firewall. I’m just starting to use Twitter again, but other than that service I don’t do social media. I’ll explain in a future post how one of the great experiments of this journey is to prove social media isn’t required to build an author platform.
If I’m not writing or taking care of my family I’m reading. I have a constant flow of ideas coming my way with all this reading. This also helps me see what good writing looks like and hopefully mimic the great authors I read everyday.
Writing Routine Weaknesses
I have plenty of ideas like I wrote above. The problem has been capturing these ideas and having them on-call when I sit down to write. I’ve started using the Drafts app to help capture ideas and I’m currently fine-tuning my system of idea capture, filing and retrieval. I’ll have more on that in the coming weeks.
As I noted above, in the past I would overcommit to crazy daily word count goals. Two sons under three makes it hard to know from day-to-day what my schedule is going to be like. I should have committed in the beginning to a modest daily goal like 50 – 150 words.
The biggest weakness of my daily writing routine was not having a specific time each day to write. Most days I tried to write at 1:00 p.m. when my sons went down for naps. Somedays one wouldn’t go down or I had something pressing I had to do in that window.
When I skipped this 1:00 appointment and promised myself I would write that night it almost never happened. If I mean to turn my writing into a business and not a hobby I need to commit to writing everyday at the same block of time.
Key Takeaways on Building a Writing Routine
One – have a set time everyday that you write. Treat it like a doctor’s appointment or airline flight. When was the last time you missed one of those? Go so far as to put it on your calendar.
Two – be realistic about your daily word count goals. If you have a full time job and a family and hobbies you should have a lower word count goal than someone without those responsibilities.
Three – build an environment where your focus is laser-like. If it needs to be quiet pick the quietest spot you can find. If social media is your weakness try an app that helps you focus and removes the temptation to jump online. Make sure when you sit down to write the only thing that matters and has your attention is getting those ideas out of your head and onto the page.
Building our daily writing routine is a pillar of our author platform and anything and everything we can do to make it a daily habit is vital to our success. I know I don’t have a perfect system yet, but everyday I’m trying to make it just a little better than the day before. If I keep doing this I know good things will happen someday.