There are several things I do as a writer that I consider my routine. There are also many things I used to do that would make a great routine for other writers. Like many things with writing, it really comes down to exactly what it is that you’re writing. If you’re writing for fun, perhaps a work of fiction, you’ll be able to set your own time and pace. If you’re writing for money and for other people, however, you’ll find that you need to develop a different routine depending on the demands placed upon you.
So let’s take a look at both routines for pleasurable and fun writing, and routines that involve writing for others.
- Fun Routines: When I was writing my novels several years ago, I had a set routine that I followed everyday. I had read somewhere, perhaps on Wikipedia or in his book On Writing, that Stephen King set as his daily goal 2,000 words. I thought that sounded pretty good when I was first starting out, and I set out to copy him. I set as my goal 2,000 words each day, and I did it. It was hard at first, but I never quit until I was at 2,000 or slightly above. If I was really on a roll I might even do more. And each day I would write down my total according to the day before. That way I knew how many words I was writing in comparison to other days, as well as having a great record of my progress. It worked, and I finished six novels in about two years. You can see them selling on Amazon.
- Money Routines: When you write for money, you’ll often not have the option of writing what you’re passionate about, or writing at your own pace. If someone needs an eBook or several articles by a certain day, you’ve got to get them finished on time. If someone wants a certain topic that you could really care less about, well, you better find a way to care, and make it exciting for your readers. After all, that’s what they’re paying you for.
When I wrote for fun, I always wrote first thing in the morning. Now that I write for money, I find myself writing at all times of day, and in many different places. If I can find ten or fifteen minutes of free time and a computer, I’ll whip out my flash drive and try to shoot off a few hundred words.
In fact, I’m writing this article right now in a class full of ESL students on a Friday night. They’re working on a project involving cutting up newspapers to make an interview-style report, and I’m just typing away. It’s easy to find the time if you choose to look.
Learn More about Writing Routines
Routines of Famous Writers
The Atlantic on Famous Writers’ Routines