As I mentioned in my last post, my 2020 writing goals have fallen by the roadside; with cackling, smug weeds growing through the cracks!
I realised a while ago that simple routines are more effective. And yet the amount of writing I’ve been expecting from myself this year has probably been too hot to handle.
I sometimes forget how much I do elsewhere as a freelance writer which no doubt tests my stamina when it comes to personal writing projects.
So I realised I needed to go back to my New Year’s resolutions with a fresh February eye and create a writing routine that was not only simple, but manageable.
Here’s what I discovered…
The Time of Day I Really Love
Most advice on building routines centres around the time we work best; in which people start talking about themselves in terms of birds.
I actually don’t think have I have a ‘best time of day’ with regard to brain functioning. I can be equally foggy or alert pretty much day or night, waking up earlier only to get jobs out the way.
I thought that was me done from the start according to YouTube lifecoaches. But then it occurred to me: why can’t I choose the time of day I love the most rather than the time of day I work best?
There’s No Time Like the Breakfast
I love breakfast. If I were Queen I would allow people to have it for lunch and dinner as well.
I also love ‘breakfast time.’ It’s peaceful, you’re alone with the world and presuming you don’t have an appointment for a root canal that day, is generally full of promise.
I began the habit of reading 11 pages of a novel with my breakfast every morning. Discovering that it takes me roughly 20 minutes, I worked out that 11 pages allows me to finish at least 1 longish novel/ 2 novellas each month.
It’s a routine I’ve stuck to for a while now and something I’m quite proud of keeping up. My writing routine however, is all over the shop.
I get the job done but at weird, unsociable hours. Some days I write loads and sometimes little, putting my faith entirely on the law of averages to ensure I reach the goals I set for myself in December 19.
There’s nothing wrong with this. In fact most writers have to fit their scribbles into the nooks and crannies of everyday life, especially if they work and have a family.
But I’d like to create some stability. And now that I’ve nailed the art of simplicity, I wanted to design a programme for myself that slips seamlessly into a busy day and while small; ensures great changes over time.
The Miracle Morning
I’ve been aware of Hal Elrod’s The Miracle Morning for a while now, a routine which entails waking up an hour earlier and fitting in 10 minutes each of activities.
While I dislike fitting in so many things within a single hour, I think the idea of small daily habits creating positive change is wonderful.
Sometimes if we don’t do something for a hour straight we feel unsuccessful and that we’re not getting anywhere. Nothing could be further from the truth. Is it better to burn out after a week of writing 1000 words every day or to write less but more consistently over time?
This forms the basis of my new writing routine ‘The Breakfast Club.’
The Breakfast Club Writing Routine
This isn’t some amazing new idea or product I’m trying to sell.
It’s simply a personal experiment that I invite you to try with me if your writing feels ‘scatterbrained’ or you don’t feel you have the time to fit creative writing into a busy day.
You can do it on your own or in a morning writing group. Mine is going to include reading, which I consider so important to my writing development that I need to make sure I’ve done that before anything else; but you don’t have to.
So this is it, and it’s as simple as it sounds:
- A yummy breakfast
- 11 pages of a novel
- 15 mins of writing (roughly 250 words).
These figures might seem inconsequential, but if you wrote like this for a year that equates to:
91, 250 words.
Wow. That’s the first draft of a novel, approximately 45 short stories at 2000 words each, or however else you can divide this up.
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I’ll give you an update about my experience of this routine in my next post. Until then, I’d love to hear about your writing routines. What works best for you and do you have any suggestions about how I can improve mine?
Until next time,