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How to Create a Writing Routine (and Stick with It)

writing-routine

Updated 11/3/20

To become a better writer and content creator, you need to sit down and write.

It’s deceptively simple.

The more words, pages, blog posts, and social media posts you create, the clearer your voice, the more streamlined your thoughts, and the more coherent your work.

You may not notice much difference between your first blog post and your third, but compare your first blog post to your 50th. How are things looking now? I’m guessing your writing and content marketing will be moving in the right direction.

To accelerate this growth, develop a routine and write regularly.

Here are 11 tips to help you create a writing routine that works for you.

1. Determine Your Best Writing Time

Are you a morning person? A night owl? What’s your favorite time to write? Determine that, then honor it.

I like to roll out of bed around 5 a.m., make some coffee, do my morning meditation, then sit down to write. That’s when I feel fresh and focused.

One of my writing buddies, however, doesn’t start until night rolls around. He makes a pot of coffee and works into the early morning hours. Whatever works for you is your best time.

2. Schedule Your Days Ahead of Time

Once you know what time of day works best for you, schedule your writing time. Make space for it and hold yourself accountable.

Treat your writing time as you would any other appointment or responsibility. Schedule it, then do it.

3. Let Others Know When You’re Working

One of the hardest things about writing is avoiding distraction. If you write at home, there may be kids, loved ones and pets competing for your attention. If you write in a coworking space, you may have friends, neighbors and collaborators popping by to say hello.

Let whoever is around know that you’ll be heads-down and writing for a bit. The more you establish your routine, the more they’ll understand that yes, you really do need some focused time, and yes, you will, at some point emerge.

ProTip: Put some headphones on to reinforce your heads-down message.

4. Stay Focused with Pomodoros

Ever get in a writing groove and write for three hours straight, but then you don’t want to write anything else for days?

Avoid that all-or-none pitfall by using the Pomodoro Technique, where you write, uninterrupted, for 25 minutes then take a five minute break. This will keep you fresh and sharp, make you more efficient, and prevent you from burning yourself out.

5. Take Breaks

Part of the Pomodoro Technique is taking longer, 15-20 minute breaks after three or four Pomodoros.

There’s a temptation, especially when you’re in a nice writing groove, to just keep working. But give yourself that break to take a quick walk, freshen up your tea or coffee, see what your neighbors are up to, or listen to a few songs.

You’ll find that you come back to your writing ready to go rather than dragging along.

6. Make Your Space Comfortable

Whether you write in an office, at a standing desk, the kitchen table, or an open coworking space, create an environment that is conducive to clarity, creativity, and focus—three essential elements of being a good writer.

For you, this might mean a minimalist area with nothing but your computer. Or, it may mean sitting in the middle of the open coworking area where there’s movement and energy. Or it might mean putting out your lucky robot toy next to your computer. You do you.

7. Unplug at the End of the Day

How easy it is to stay plugged in all day and night. If there aren’t blog posts to write, there are invoices to send, social media updates to schedule, lists to make, emails to return.

When I put the computer down and give myself several unplugged hours each night, I’m fresh and ready to get back to writing when the next day rolls around.

8. Do Repeating Tasks at the Same Time

Do you create content at the same time each day? Do your blog posts go out on the same day each week? Do you write a set amount of words each day? Do you brainstorm or do content strategy sessions each month?

These repeating to-dos lend themselves nicely to being scheduled in at a regular time.

Knowing when you’ll do these tasks and how long they’ll take gives you one less thing to think about and enables you to strengthen your writing routine with some anchor points.

9. Stay Ahead of Deadlines

If you’re constantly putting off writing, racing against deadlines, working right up until the last minute, it’s tough to develop a routine.

Avoid stress-inducing situations by staying ahead of your content deadlines. Give yourself a buffer of a day or two to finish a post before publication day.

This lets you stay in your routine and it allows time for your content simmer so you can look at it with fresh eyes before sending it into the world.

10. Learn to Write From Anywhere

One of the great things about digital publishing is that we can write from anywhere.

Take advantage of this flexibility and get comfortable writing from different places. Yes, having our regular writing space is nice, but it’s also great to be able to hit the road for a few weeks and not miss a beat with your content.

11. Just Write

Some days you just don’t feel like writing.

Don’t worry, it happens to everyone.

One trick is just to start writing. Just do some stream of consciousness. Don’t give what you’re writing any thought. Just let the words roll out.

This trick generally unlocks a stuck mind and sometimes unearths interesting thoughts and ideas.

Writing when it’s time to write is the best way to stay on-track with your content and writing routine.

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