I’m often asked about my writing routine, so I thought I’d take a minute to share.
Many writers have a favorite chair and a process that involves coffee or hot tea, perhaps meditation to get in the right mindset, maybe a cute checklist or a timer ticking away.
The truth? I don’t have a daily writing schedule or anything I would call a writing routine.
I’m a full-time lawyer and mom. My days can be pretty unpredictable. If I’m traveling for work or a golf tournament for my son, then I don’t have access to my desk or favorite chair.
Also, I can be a bit hard on myself. Even if I’m the one making up a “rule” and it’s not even a “real rule,” if I break it, then I will consider myself the Biggest Failure Ever, which can be counterproductive.
So, if I say “I’m going to write fifteen-hundred words per day, no matter what,” and then an emergency hearing pops up in one of my cases, I’m either (a) staying up half the night to get everything done, or (b) I’m a Complete Failure and might as well give up writing altogether.
From my perspective, I’ve learned by trial and error that it’s good to give myself grace, to be aspirational but not necessarily judgmental.
Know yourself, of course. If you’re a procrastinator who works best with a daily word count goal, by all means go for it.
Here’s what works for me. I carry around a spiral notebook or my laptop and I jot down ideas or sentences or character sketches as they come to me. (Not if I’m driving. But otherwise throughout the day.) If I’m working on a novel-length project, I try to spend some time with it—whatever time I can reasonably accommodate—most days. That might mean tinkering with a paragraph or moving commas around. It might mean pounding out two thousand action-packed words (ha ha, just kidding, I don’t really do action-packed…). Or staring into space as I try to figure out a character’s motivation (that, I do).
Oh, and I don’t drink coffee or tea. I’m weird that way.
I would love to hear about your writing process—seriously, feel free to share—and no matter what it is, I’m cheering you on.
Kim Church said:
Lately I’ve been on the road a lot, and the dictation program on my phone has been a godsend. I can dictate notes in the car and email them to myself. I do this when I’m out walking, too. Seems I get my best ideas when I’m in motion. And talking to myself is usually less daunting than sitting down to a blank page or computer screen.
I keep meaning to try this! Thank you for the reminder. And safe travels. xoxo