Passion is important when kicking off a writing career but it is not enough to land you great writing gigs or bring to pass your dream of becoming a successful writer. There must be some sort of routine in your life for that to happen.
See it this way. Imagine, you are an employee of a company, say a multinational, you know that on a rainy day, you’ll have to stand up from your bed, even though your body wants to do otherwise, and get out of the house. It doesn’t matter that you are shivering from the cold. You know you just must get to the office. Yeah, that’s how serious you should take your writing profession.
First of all, this post is directed at people who see writing beyond a pastime or hobby. I mean you really want to dig into this field and make it work. You want to be able to proudly call yourself a writer or blogger and confidently present your work to anyone who cares to see it.
There are days when the excitement to write will be absent. There are times when you’ll be tempted to give up. I have met people who recount tales of stories, poems, articles they’d written at some point in their lives, but which skill they abandoned to chase something else.
Many started their blogging career with so much passion and fire. When they hit their first blog post, they felt on top of the world but a year later, they got discouraged and shut down the blogs.
Like every other job, writing also requires proactiveness, hardwork, discipline, commitment and the way to gradually slide into the ease of consistently churning out great contents is to create a writing routine. At first, it might seem daunting but if you keep at it, it’ll soon become part of you.
How can you create a writing routine that’ll work for you? It doesn’t matter that you already have a full time job that has nothing to do with writing, if your future plans involves becoming a professional writer, you might want to take note of these tips.
1. Always carry a notepad for ideas
One of the things that made writing so frustrating at some point was when I had to sit in front of my laptop and stare at my screen because I didn’t know what to write. It became easier when I got a notebook where I scribbled down ideas. These days, with my exposure to apps like Evernote, One Note by Microsoft, Google Keep, I do most of my work on my phone.
Here’s what works for me. When I get an idea, I quickly put down a summary of my thoughts on it. If it’s just a topic that dropped in my heart, I note it down with the hope that I’ll conduct an intense research on it later.
I have learnt not to sit down to write on a topic without adequate information. Usually I have bullet points on what I want to write about so it’s easier to connect the dots when I’m ready to write.
There are times when you’ll have to search for topics or idea a rather than wait to be inspired. Search for topics randomly, draw your titles, read what others are saying about it and scribble in your idea book or pad. There will always be something to write about.
Let me quickly say this to Christian writers as regards establishing a writing routine. I understand that when it comes to sharing our faith as writers, it is important we seek God on what He desires for us to share with our readers. I clearly understand that. For my blog posts and articles, I also seek God ahead, praying and listening for his heart.
However, this does not stop you from developing your own writing skills. It’s fine to brainstorm and scout for topics related to your niche. See what others are doing. This is your career. Becoming a pro in the flow of your thoughts and words comes with constant practice. This is your responsibility. God will not do this for you. No miracle will make you write well. You’ll have to give your time and effort to developing yourself and this means writing practice must daily be part of your schedule.
2. Figure out your most productive time.
What time of the day are you more productive? Day? Night? I’m not saying you should only write at your most productive hour because there are situations where as a writer you might be required to work even when it’s inconvenient. The ability to adapt is a great strength, trust me. However, as a general rule, you’ll be able to produce more content when your mind is most productive. Figure out when you write faster and easier and build a routine around that time.
3. Set writing goals daily.
I do this all the time. In a recent post, How to become a proficient writer while working full time on a day job, I stated that I have a job that has nothing to do with my writing career. Even when I’m very busy with my 9-5 job, I still find a way to fit in my writing goals no matter how little.
Don’t just say, I’ll write today. That’s vague. What are you going to write about? Be specific. What story or topic are you writing about? Do you have snippets of some of the things you want to include? Your routine will go smoothly, if in your goals, you have specifically outlined what you want to do. It’ll also help you not to get stuck midway.
4. Reduce time spent on social media
Okay, I know I’ve flogged this matter too many times to count. Reminders don’t hurt, do they? So, let’s talk about it one more time.
Spending so much time on social media will kill any attempt to create good writing habits. I know it can be difficult. You’ll be in the middle of writing a powerful piece and before you know it, you are scrolling down your instagram page. I’ll advise you get off social media platforms, especially the one you are prone to stay long on, thirty minutes before the time scheduled for writing.
5. Don’t overschedule your day with too much tasks.
I remember the days I’d plan to work on a blog post, write a short story, scribble down a scene treatment, edit the draft of an article and by the end of the day, I’d be so angry with myself for not meeting up with my schedule. Right now, I chase consistency more than I do volume.
Stop overtasking yourself because you want to proficient like another writer. You might end up not achieving anything. Don’t bite more than you can chew. The writers you admire took time to get to the level they are right now. Consistency is what you should aim for.
6. Get a comfortable writing space and show up there regularly.
Once you find a comfortable spot that suits you, as you keep showing up there, your mind will connect your presence with the activity that regularly takes place there.
Even though I have a table and a chair in my room, my sofa is presently the best place for me to write. I can sit there for hours without getting tired. There is a way my sofa is made such that my laptop can sit comfortably on the armrest while I work. What works for one writer might not work for another.
7. Find other writers and connect with them.
Connecting with other writers in many cases serve as lubricant when you are tempted to become lazy and complacent.
If you are a blogger, connect with serious minded bloggers. Join networking platforms for writers, read articles from other writers. One of my favourite sites when it comes to growing my writing career is The write practice. You might want to check it out.
Should you write everyday?
Not exactly. You can edit a piece you’ve previously written. You can research on a topic, scout for writing prompts and draft synopsis.
On days when you really are not up to writing, bloggers can create designs for their blog posts. A screen writer can spend the day reading and analyzing movie scripts. You can read few chapters of a book too. The most important thing is that you are doing something daily that’s related to your writing career.