Written by A Guest Author September 29th, 2022

Simple Strategies for Building a Daily Writing Habit

By Emily-Jane Hills Orford

We’re not all morning people. Some of us are more alert in the afternoon and evening. I’m a morning person and I’m also a creature of habit. Routines get me going, and make me feel like I’m accomplishing something and getting the day off to a good start. And by having a good start means getting my writing going for another productive day.

In this busy world, it’s so easy to get distracted and lose focus, to dither away one’s time and get nothing at all accomplished. With a routine, a plan, you can work around life’s obstacles (and believe me there are quite a few) and still keep on track, keep the writing going. But, that’s not all. There’s more to a writer’s life than just writing and it’s important to fit in all those basics to make your writing your own success story. So, here’s how I do it – in theory, anyway. As long as I write every day, I know I’ve had a successful, productive day.

My Routine:

  • I write before I eat or drink. Since I’m allergic to coffee, I learned to live without that caffeine boost to get going. As soon as I’m up (after I let the dog out, of course), I’m writing. First, I do my daily journal entry. I find writing in my journal first thing ensures that I write in my journal daily. Then I plunge into my current novel-in-progress.
  • I break and do the routine internet browse, looking for news items that might spark some ideas, checking the weather, catching up with friends and, most important, reading all those wonderful rejections that flood every good writer’s inbox.
  • Time to really rise and shine. Breakfast, feed the dog and walk the dog. Great time to refresh the brain cells and use my four-legged muse as a sounding board to new ideas.
  • Back home, well awake now, it’s time to plunge into the smaller writing projects: book reviews, short articles, short stories. This fills most of the morning with a break before lunch to do something else creative like needleart or gardening.
  • Lunch and I’m back to checking messages and browsing the internet, searching for new possible publishing possibilities.
  • Time to edit – every writer’s worse nightmare.
  • And, then there’s the perpetual PR, the marketing we all must do in order to get our name out there.
  • Not done yet. I need some quality, quantity, reading time (other than reading for book reviews). All good writers must read as much as they write, wouldn’t you agree?
  • Okay – let’s add in some television, not that there’s much to choose from. I prefer the old re-runs to current shows as there’s more plot and character development in the older shows.
  • And, now the day is over. I feel comfortable, satisfied with what I’ve accomplished.
  • Oh! And those interruptive phone calls? Friends, family, and the annoying spams? That’s what call display is for. Let the phone ring (or turn the ringer off) and follow your routine until you have time to chat. There’s nothing worse than being besieged by a friend who will talk your ear off for an hour (or more) and halt your productive creativity.

When your routine fluctuates, due to a medical or dental appointment, make sure you have a notebook and pen/pencil handy. Yes, I mean a real, paper-type of notebook; there’s nothing quite so satisfying as sitting and whiling the rime away jotting notes in longhand in a real book. Make sure you always carry something with you to write down ideas – or to simply write. There’s nothing worse than waiting in a doctor’s office for an hour with nothing to do but stare at the fake pictures on the surrounding walls. The notes you jot down may be fuel for your next bestseller. Or, they may be that illusive descriptive paragraph or character sketch you’ve been struggling with for days. Just write: even jotting down to-do lists is writing; it’s keeping your creative brain cells active while you fill in the ominous wait times. There may be nothing you can use from this jotting exercise, but at least you’re writing.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford is a country writer, living just outside the tiny community of North Gower, Ontario, near the nation’s capital. With degrees in art history, music and Canadian studies, the retired music teacher enjoys the quiet nature of her country home and the inspiration of working at her antique Jane Austen-style spinet desk, feeling quite complete as she writes and stares out the large picture window at the birds and the forest. She writes in several genres, including creative nonfiction, memoir, fantasy, and historical fiction. http://emilyjanebooks.ca




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