Creating a Daily Writing Routine

I'm creating a daily writing routine at an ungodly hour! I am not a morning person. At least, I didn’t use to be. But I need a daily writing routine and morning is the best time for me to do it.

A lot of writers participate in #5amwritersclub on Twitter. I’m taking baby steps toward that, but to be honest, I think I need to start my own #6amwritersclub because, well, mornings. Bleh.

I started working as a freelance editor in February of this year and by March, I knew something in my routine needed to change. Although I’m keeping myself very part-time in the editing department, between playing Mom-taxi, my volunteer work at the local food bank, blogging, and, well, writing my fourth novel, I didn’t have enough hours in the day to get it all done.

The lack of forward momentum on my novel frustrated me. Having to do something to pay the bills instead of just blissfully writing all day long frustrated me. Not having a clone or 32 hours in a day frustrated me. So I beat myself up agonized drank heavily pondered what to do about my predicament. And, like a gift from the Muse herself, a writing friend mentioned that she only ever writes for one hour each day, but that she writes for one hour every day. That sounded doable to this stressed-out, overwhelmed writer.

My husband gets up at 6 to go to the gym almost every morning before work, so I decided to start getting up with him. Before I check in on Facebook, Tweet to my writing pals, or check email, I drag my tired butt out of bed, sit down at my laptop and write until the kids get up (around 7:15). The results have been miraculous.

The work-in-progress I was beating myself up about is now a finished first draft. Now the morning writing sessions have transitioned naturally to morning revision sessions. I no longer agonize over the time I spend away from my computer because I start each day having already met my writing goal. Somehow that feeling of accomplishment, and lack of guilt, frees me up to sneak more writing in later in the day. That’s a good enough feeling to make up for the lack of sleep.

And there is lack of sleep. I have not yet managed to get my bedtime earlier, try as I might. My evening time is my reading time, so I blame Maggie Stiefvater for a few late nights (at least I did last week).

Others Weigh in on a Daily Writing Routine

Of course, as soon as I checked in with the other Winged Pennies, I found that I wasn’t the only one sneaking in morning writing sessions:

Mark – “Words cannot come out of my mouth at that hour but they do tend to flow from my fingers. Even if I’m not really productive I feel like interacting with whatever project I’m working on lets me think about it the rest of the day.”

Kate – “I found that the ideas flowed really easily in that dreamy early morning time (or maybe I was just too tired to self-edit!). The key for me was that I couldn’t do anything else first. Truly. I would become dimly aware that I was awake, feet on the floor, grab the laptop from the bedside table, and sneak downstairs to write. No tea, no Facebook or twitter or anything, only writing.”

Other well-known creatives from Ernest Hemingway to Stephen King have weighed in on this topic as well, but this fan-girl wants to close with a quote from Joss Whedon:

“I always was an early-morning or late-night writer. Early morning was my favorite; late night was because you had a deadline. And at four in the morning, you make up some of your most absurd jokes.”

What about you? Have you ever tried to get up in time to sneak in an early morning writing session? Did it work? Do you write at some other time of day? We’d love to hear from you!

Photo credit: Gail Werner
Photo credit: Gail Werner

Julie Artz writes speculative middle grade far too early in the morning with help from a couple of cute kitties and a peaceful view of the forest in Redmond, Washington.

4 thoughts on “Creating a Daily Writing Routine

  1. I’m a 6 am writer. If I don’t write before everyone else is up, it usually doesn’t get done. This morning it was 7-8 but I got the work done. Then in the afternoon I wrote my blog. Felt good. Now to see if I can do it the rest of the week. You’re right though. I can’t do social media first. It’ll sidetrack me.

    1. Thanks for the reminder! I don’t know if I can try this at 5AM or at 6AM. I suppose it’s cheating to use the time-zone difference? 🙂 A dear writer friend of mine said, “You can take an hour or you can take all day.” I have to get back on this wagon.

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