How to write a book – Routine

Writing a book is hard. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! 

I know that it is an artistic process and you want your muse to guide you and the energy has to be right or whatever … But I think the best thing I ever did was establish a routine. A strict one.

Photos from Pixabay

It’s no good wanting to have your muse guide you if that moody little being doesn’t know where you are going to be and when!


Time

First thing to do is decide when your best creative flow comes. Do you work best first thing in the morning? Are you a night owl? Are you better suited to lunch-time breaks at a coffee house? Find a time during the day that works and stick to it. 

I work best first thing in the morning, when everyone is still asleep. I can sit there in my PJs at 4am and happily type away.

How long?

In the beginning I suggest setting realistic goals. If you have a day job or kids, I would suggest a time limit. Try out small ones at first. I started with 30 minutes and now I have worked up to almost 3 hours.

You could also go for a word count goal. Once again, start low. Go for a couple hundred words or less in the very beginning and work your way up. If you find that you are able to pump out the words like a machine (go you!) then up your word count. But keep it reasonable otherwise you may find that you just can’t keep up with it.

What days?

Every day.

Without fail. 

Sometimes it is hard to stick to your routine in times of high stress or sickness, but try to do something. Anything. Even if you cut back, you have to keep doing something. Stephen King famously says that he used to tell interviews that he writes every day except his birthday and Christmas day, but this was a lie. He writes everyday. Just like you should!

But what about …

So, your novel is about a thirteenth century plumber with the bad habit of skinning people alive and this requires a lot of research? Research is not writing.

You have a blog and social media to keep up with? Neither of those is writing, in the sense of what we are talking about anyway. 

I know have set in place that each day I have time set aside for other “writing” commitments, like blogging, social media, research, cover design, editing, etc. 

So, if you have similar commitments then maybe you can do what I have done.

Monday is set aside for Blogging. Tuesday is for writing my book reviews. Wednesday is the day that I blitz the crap out of social media and set up what I am going to post for the next week. Thursday is when I do Market research and plan marketing strategies. Friday is when I work on editing or cover designs that need doing. I work on these until I am done or 6.00am rolls around. Then it is straight back to writing till 7.30am.

If you don’t have anything like these commitments then don’t worry about it. Just focus on writing.

If you do, I find setting an alarm in my phone reminding me what I have to work on is the best thing to keeping to my schedule. 

But I don’t have the time!

I remember when I used to drag myself out of bed at 7.30-8.00 every morning and just start getting the kids ready. I used to rush around the whole day and then crawl into bed and realise I didn’t get to write again that day. 

You have to make the decision. How much do you want to write? How much do you need to write? What are you willing to sacrifice in order to write every day?

In the beginning, I decide I was willing to sacrifice 30 minutes. So I started waking up half hour earlier. I would set my alarm for 7.00am instead of 7.30am.

Bam! I just made time! Look out world.

It is that easy. If you want something you have to make room for it.

Writer’s Block

Writer’s block is one of those myths, along with the muse. You have to tell these mythical creatures that you are the boss. 

When Writer’s Block hits the best thing to do is to write! Write gosh darn it, write! 

 “stopping a piece of work just because it’s hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea. Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it, and sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.” – Stephen King

So, go get writing!

Hugs, AMC xxx
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