Get ready for 2017 with a more effective writing routine

I have said it before but I’ll say it again. Routine is important… when it comes to writing… That is really the only routine I have. The rest of my day is left up to the gods and my children, but between the hours of 5am and 7.30, it is all about the writing.
If you don’t already have a routine in place then now is a good time to set one up. With the new year only a few days away it is now that we make decisions to better ourselves in the new year. I am going to give you a few pointers to get you started on the road to a better writing routine for 2017.

Creative flow
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 lunchtime 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 5 am and happily type away. Even if it involves making the time. Years ago, I used to say that I didn’t have time to write. I would also sleep in until eight o’clock in the morning or later. Making the decision to make time for writing is one of the best decisions I ever made. You should also work out if you work best after or before big meals, after working out, or after meditation. All these things can help contribute to making your writing time more productive.

Set goals 
What is it that you want to achieve? Is it a word count? A time frame? I, personally, am terrible at word count goals. One day I will wake up and the writing flows out of me like blood from an open wound. Other days I will write seven words and then delete them all again… So, I work with time. Set a realistic goal that you think you will be able to stick to. Start small, you can always increase it. If you start too big and then fail you may become discouraged and start skipping days and/or stop altogether. 

Figure out what you want to achieve
And yes this is different to the goal thing. Is it just writing that you need to do for your career? Do you need to write your blog or vlog or social media? I try to set up my schedule so that everything is slotted in. Blog post are written on Mondays, social media posts and photos taken on Tuesdays… you get the idea. It is good to set out everything you need to do and give it an allocated time. Make sure you still leave more time for writing as this is obviously the most important part of your writing schedule.

Turn off your phone and internet 
No, like seriously. Switch those fuckers off. In your writing time that is what you are doing. Writing. Resist the urge to see if your great aunt Miriam’s dog has had her puppies yet or if Vlogbrothers have posted a YouTube clip yet or if your crush is online and wanting to chat. 

Learn to close the door 
If you are serious about writing then you need to learn that this is your job. Close the door (even if this means listening to music) and try to stay in your own head.

Set up things you need before your routine starts 
If you read my blog on listening to music maybe now is a good time to implement this. Set up a playlist on YouTube now so it is all ready to go in the new year.

So, this sounds odd, but hear me out. When I lay in bed at night, instead of ticking over all the problems I might have or all the things I have to do or should have done or whether I locked the front and back doors, I think about what I am going to write in the morning. This is a good time to do it, because you are a little tired so your mind is loose and malleable, so you can kind of just give in and let your subconscious take over. Just daydream about what is going to happen next in your book. Perhaps put yourself in the body of your main character and see what unravels. Then when you get up the next day, you already know what you are going to put to paper.

I fucking hate plotting but it helps some people. I still make myself do it a little… I write chapter notes on index cards and then put them on a wall or window so I can look them over and make changes. There are some great advice on plotting on YouTube and all over the web. I do like “beautiful minding it” (putting it up on the wall… this is what my husband calls it.) but I may not be the best to take advice from on this subject because I plot terribly and I always seem to stray from the original…

Don’t be too hard on yourself 
If you do miss a day here and there, don’t beat yourself up, just try again the next day. Try to be consistent, but life does tend to happen regardless of what we try to do to prevent it. Just keep trying.

I hope this helps you figure out what you are going to do in the new year. Stay safe over this holiday season. 

I will post another chapter of Between Lost & Found tomorrow… if I still have internet… 

Hugs AMC 

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