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10 Tips on Establishing a Writing Routine

Updated on February 26, 2014

Like any habit, it's always hard when you're first starting out. Below you'll find ten of my tips to help establish a writing routine. Don't worry if it takes a while to fall into the habit or if you end up writing poorly for the first few days or even weeks. It takes time for the creative juices to start flowing. Remember, the more you write, the better you'll be at writing.

Sometimes getting away from your usual setting can help the words to flow.
Sometimes getting away from your usual setting can help the words to flow. | Source

1. Schedule Writing Time

Just like you make time for exercise, dinner and Tumblr, create a space that you can dedicate to writing. You may have to move this time around to find a time that is suitable for your schedule. Are you usually better creatively at night or in the daytime? When do you feel relaxed enough to clear your head and write? Or do you enjoy writing to relax after a long day?

2. Indulge the Social Media and Time Wasters

Instead of sitting down and being tempted by Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr, Pinterest and the likes, let yourself browse through them, but give yourself a time limit. This way you'll get the urge out, but you feel deprived. An example of this would be to give yourself 20 minutes or so to just browse through whatever sites are your favorite, then after that, get your rear in gear and write!

Do you work better under a deadline or with a certain goal in mind?

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3. Create Daily Goals and Reward the Milestones

Sure long term goals are important for any project, but short terms goals are even more important. Creating a daily goal of 2,000 words a day is a good way to stay on track. If 2,000 in one sitting is too much for you to handle and you start to get antsy, break the goal down into smaller chunks, say 500. For every said goal, give yourself a reward for accomplishing it. This could be a carrot, a cookie or something non-tangible like watching a YouTube video from your subscriptions or 10 minutes of Facebook time.

Giving yourself a certain amount of time to do a task helps put the pressure on.
Giving yourself a certain amount of time to do a task helps put the pressure on. | Source

4. Slowly Increase Your Writing Time

If you're not in the habit of writing every day, don't aim to write every day for an hour. Not only will it not happen and you'll feel awful for not accomplishing it, but you'll end up resenting the time you've set aside for yourself. You shouldn't consider your scheduled writing time a prison sentence. It is after all supposed to be fun. If you don't feel like writing on your current piece, try switching things up a little.

5. Start Writing Time with a Warm-up

It's often hard to jump right back into a long piece of writing, especially after a long day of work. Instead, try free writing or choosing a short writing prompt to get the creative juices flowing, then ease yourself back into whatever you're working on at the moment.

6. Find Accountability Somewhere

Whether this is a competition, a beta reader, a writing group, friend or family member, find something to help keep you accountable for your time. This is especially helpful when you're trying to get back into the habit of writing again. It's easier to let yourself down and find excuses, but having a solid deadline or purpose for writing makes it harder to neglect writing.

Have you ever tried writing when you're upset or sad?

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7. Be Diligent About Trying

When the words are just not flowing and you're just not in the mood, you might have to let yourself off the hook for a day. HOWEVER, some of my best writing comes when I'm upset or feel like I'm crying. Give it a shot and if you feel the words flowing from you fingers, go for it! If you absolutely can't manage to clear your head or just need to get away, don't force yourself to just waste time getting upset that you can't write. Watch a movie, go for a walk, but don't use the loss of a day as an excuse for breaking your daily writing habit.

8. Research and Experience New Things

If you're stuck in a rut with your writing routine, take a break and move your writing outside or find something new to experience and write about it. One of the best ways to improve your writing is to just write. And as a writer gathering experiences and witnessing different things are all tools to use later in your writing. Ever gone dumpster diving or eavesdropped on strangers?

Jotting down ideas in a journal and reviewing them can help get you back into the mood.
Jotting down ideas in a journal and reviewing them can help get you back into the mood. | Source
Make sure to feed the cat so you can get some writing done!
Make sure to feed the cat so you can get some writing done! | Source

9. Develop a Ritual

Now you don't have to do anything super crazy if you don't want to, but clearing off your desk, grabbing a tea and snuggling up with your writing blanket can help you feel like writing time is a part of your day. The more you feel like writing is a natural part of your day, the more you'll look forward to it. Find a special spot to always write in, or a special treat that you always do before writing.

10. Take Care of Business

Before you even sit down and try to write, give yourself some ground rules and supplies. Get a drink, grab a snack, feed the cats, do whatever you need to to take care of errands and every day things that we use as excuses to get up from the computer (or away from the paper) to take care of. Yes, this means going to the bathroom before hand and making sure you don't get up to grab another snack or coffee until you hit some sort of milestone.


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    • antigravity profile image

      antigravity 3 years ago

      Thanks for sharing the routine scheme because normally we are not able to write a routine for ourself and implement it. So from now on set up your routine seriously.

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 3 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Noellen, (I have never heard that name. I love it).

      This is an excellent piece of writing. To be totally-honest, it can easily be described as amazing.

      I loved every word. Graphics were superb. This hub was helpful, informative and I found it very interesting.

      Voted up and all the choices because you deserve it.

      You have such a gift for writing. Keep writing no matter what.


      Kenneth Avery, Hamilton, Alabama

    • noellenichols profile image

      Noelle 4 years ago from Denver

      Thank you all for your comments and good luck with your writing endeavors!

      @misslong123 - Thank you for catching that, and I'm glad you fond this hub especially helpful! Motivation is as tricky as inspiration. You never can really wait around for it.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 4 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Useful, Noelle.

      There are lengths you can go to write, and there are limits you need to set. Otherwise, like you say, you finish up serving a self-imposed sentence - and that doesn't help, especially if you haven't a target.

      I have notes I can go back to if I think I've lost track of 'where I'm going.

      A little pointer: as well as your notes, you need to know where each chapter finishes, roughly how many pages to a chapter and roughly how many pages you hope to achieve per book. If your publisher knows the MS page count, they can standardise and set a price. I've set a page count to my publisher, NGP, and with that they can work out in advance how many pages that leaves them to 'play with' and if you're in mid-series (as I am) you know roughly where you've got to start from in your follow-ups. The hardest will be the last, 'pacing' yourself as in a marathon, and achieving a good last page.

      Sounds like a challenge? Eyes down ...

    • misslong123 profile image

      Michele Kelsey 4 years ago from Edmond, Oklahoma

      This was an incredible hub! I learned so much. It was just what I needed to hear. I made a full page of notes in my writing notebook. I think every one of the 10 points was aces! Seriously! I put down points on each one. I usually don't take this many notes on one hub I read, but I really thought this touched a subject I need help with - motivation. I notice all the time errors I make when I write, and I'd love it if someone told me if I wrote something incorrectly so that I could fix it. So, I just wanted to point out I think you meant to reword the first sentence after point #3. Take it or leave it. I'd want to know, so I thought I would share. Thank you so much though for sharing your knowledge. You are most certainly disciplined. I wish I was as much as you are. I hope I can get on a schedule and stick to it. Great job! Please keep sharing more like this! Michele

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 4 years ago from USA

      These are great tips. I find myself following these steps diligently sometimes, but then I once I let go of even one, all of them slip down the wayside.

    • abbaelijah profile image

      Abba Elijah aka elijagod 4 years ago from Abuja - Nigeria

      Thanks for the info. They are really helpful and useful..

      Thanks for sharing!

    • passionate77 profile image

      passionate77 4 years ago

      great tips and ideas, really so helpful and practicable, thanks for sharing. stay blessed!

    • Susan Recipes profile image

      Susan 4 years ago from India

      Thanks for sharing these useful tips. Voted up.

    • Learn Things Web profile image

      Learn Things Web 4 years ago from California

      Great tips. I find from time-to-time, I get burned out on writing, so I'll take a break for a couple of weeks and then I come back refreshed.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      Really good tips here. This is useful to any writer, even seasoned one because being reminded of them can help in refocusing. I happened to need them at the moment--thanks! :) Pinning to my Writing:… board.