Writing Routine

Strong Writing Habits lead to Strong Progress

Could it really be the last day of February? Don’t mind me while I break out my pom poms and revert to my college cheerleading days. It’s not like I have anything against the month itself, but since I live in Upstate New York, I associate February with cold, snow, and isolation. I may be a homebody at heart, but even I have my limits! Driving on snowy days is NOT my thing and so I’m constantly checking my weather app before I plan anything, even a coffee date. Lame, I know, but once we’re past March, I’m back to my happy self. For now, I’ll say goodbye to another winter month, grab a blanket & my laptop, and take advantage of what March means for me: 

Making time to write

With my seasonal job as an Admissions Reader wrapping up today, I’m all about getting back into my writing routine. Last year at this time, I was overworked and frustrated that I had taken so many months off from writing. That’s not me this year. This time, I worked more consistently and managed my reading hours better, so I’m not exhausted. I also gave myself the space to take a writing break with no regrets. I looked at it as an opportunity to fill my writer’s cup instead. Now, I’m ready to dive back in, no work vacation needed!

So, what does making time to write actually mean? I think it means two things. One, not chastising yourself if you don’t write every day. And two, recognizing that even if you don’t write every day, you still need to be consistent in some way. I think it’s important to understand yourself when it comes to this. You may not excel with an everyday writing from 7:00am-9:00am kind of schedule. But you might excel with a write every Tuesday and Thursday night from 8:00pm-10:00pm kind of schedule. 

I’ve realized that my writing routine has more to do with the season/month than the days of the week. So, I’ve leaned into that. March through June is typically a great time for me to revise, edit, and polish my existing work with consistency. Summer is more laid back, but I still have all things writing on my mind. September through November is when I usually draft something new. That leaves me to ease up during the winter months when I’m super focused on the holidays and the college admissions reading season. With that said, I prefer writing in the afternoon so I’ve scheduled my March writing sessions for Monday though Friday from 1:00pm-4:00pm.

Don’t break a writing promise to yourself

Making time to write is one thing. Doing it is another. So whatever schedule you create for yourself, be sure to stick to it. Even if it’s a half hour at a time. There are hundreds of things competing for your attention and it’s sometimes a challenge to get yourselves in front of the computer. I get that. But this is where you need to make yourself accountable—to you! If this goal of writing a fantastic manuscript is truly what you want then don’t let yourself down or off the hook. Remind yourself that you made a promise to write from 8:00pm until 10:00pm, for example, so do it. And then do it again. Remember strong habits make strong progress. 

Be proud of your new writing habit

In this marathon called novel writing, there are many tough roads to travel. Each one is filled with twists and turns, hills and valleys. That’s why most people don’t even attempt it. There are going to be times when you get frustrated but that’s all part of the process. If you’re going to be someone who stays in it for the long haul though, be sure you’re taking stock of your small victories. That includes being proud of yourself when you make writing a strong habit. Focus on the strides you’re making… they all add up!

As always, thanks for reading and good luck with whatever it is you’re working on this week. Tomorrow I’m starting March off strong by making a significant change to the opening page of my middle grade manuscript. I’ve been struggling with it for months now and I think I finally figured out what it needs. Wish me luck! I promise to send some your way too!