My writing routine

Aug 28, 2014 | Better Writing

After I wrote about writing work patterns this week, I received a few requests to share my own. So, OK, Don, Sharon, Dee, and Aaron, this one’s for you.

My work patterns have changed over time

I have been writing seriously since my teens. Even when I earned most of my money doing something else, writing was always part of the mix. Everything you read here has been different at some time in my writing life. Some of it will change in the future.

I need privacy to write

I know that there are writers who can work amidst the hustle and bustle of life. Blaring noises, conversations, and even small-scale pandemonium don’t matter to those writers. They destroy my productivity.

My writing cave is a room with a door. When it’s time to write, I close the door.

I need quiet. Conversations and songs with lyrics really take a toll on my concentration. So I have a set of speakers that plays the “Work” playlist on my iPod. It’s all instrumental and mostly Mozart and Bach.

I need good energy to write

I write my best when I’m exercising regularly, eating sensibly, and getting enough sleep. I stand up when I write because I produce better work that way.

I also take time off. There’s a lot in the world that’s not writing but very important. Devoting time to it makes me a better writer.

Morning is sacred writing time

I write best in the morning, so that’s when I write. I usually wake up between six and six thirty. After I feed the cat, start the coffee, and make my morning cup of hot water with tea and lemon, I start writing.

I do not check email, visit Twitter, shave, or anything else before I start writing. Then I work in blocks of an hour to an hour and a half, separated by “admin” breaks. I do not stop working on a piece of writing until I know what will be next when I resume work.

Afternoons are for everything else

Afternoons are devoted to doing the things that will make me a better writer tomorrow. Research, reading, and organization happen in the afternoon. So does exercise and a short (20 minute) nap. Afternoons are also for yard work and errands and chatting with neighbors and friends.

This is the ideal

Very, very few days work out exactly the way I’ve described. On any single day, the most important thing I can do is write before I do anything else. Over a week or more the things that give me mental and physical energy are the most important.

What’s your work pattern?

Now it’s your turn. How do you do your best work?