Establishing a Writing Routine

The school year has started. Long gone are those endless days of summer where thousands of words flow out of me at my leisure. Being an art teacher, I use up quite a bit of creative energy during the day. I sit at my computer in the evening, and often fall asleep.

We’ve all been there.

Instead of getting upset at myself, I decided that I needed to establish a writing routine, something reasonable and achievable. Time that I can look forward to during the day. And if halfway through a sentence I fall asleep, so be it.

Here are a few things that I have decided will count towards my hour a day of writing.

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  1. Writing a few hundred words of my next novel.
  2. Editing my current novels.
  3. Writing a blog post.
  4. Writing and sending a query letter.
  5. Plotting a new novel.
  6. Writing down one idea for a new story.

Yes, writing down an idea, which probably only takes five minutes counts for my full hour. Why is that?

I know you’ve had a moment when you’re listening to the radio, you overhear a conversation, you watch something happen in real life and you think…

That’s a great idea for a story.

I’ve been there. And sometimes, I manage to scratch these ideas down on restaurant napkins (the paper kind, of course) or on an old receipt, or a scrap of paper by my bedside. Inevitably, these ideas get lost, forgotten, or stuffed in a notebook somewhere with many other good ideas never to be realized.

light-bulbs-1125016_1280

I decided for an entire month to formalize my approach to generating good ideas for stories. One month turned into two, and I’m hoping to keep it going. I added it to my daily writing routine, and I’m glad I did.

You can do it too!

Write down one idea for a story every day. That’s it. They can be good ideas, silly ideas, conceptual, concrete, heck, even BAD ideas. The point is to write them down. I use this format:

Date

PB, CB, MG, YA, NF

Title of the Book, or a This meets That

Short description off the top of my head.

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Here’s an example:

September 5, 2016

PB

The Case of the Curse-ed Caterpillar

What do you do when caterpillars are eating your roses? Invite them to a tea party, of course. This is one little girl’s struggle to save her roses and make a friend.

Totally writable! Although I usually write CB or MG, I did not suppress this charming idea for a picture book.

One more:

September 22, 2016

MG

The Three Musketeers Meets Little Women

Jo, the leader of an incorrigible band of sword wielding sisters, fights for peace, love and words in a world where political unrest threatens to make the written word illegal.

littlemusketeers

Terrible idea, or genius? Not sure. BUT, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that I had this crazy idea and wrote it down, putting energy towards my writing a little bit every day.

Even if I don’t write a query letter, or do any editing in a particular day, I feel accomplished. I have approximately 37 ideas generated from my month (and a bit more) of writing an idea a day. Not all of them are useable, but you never know how one thing leads to another.

I’m currently plotting the idea I wrote down on September 3, 2016 using my sticky notes. Sorry, not going to share that one (wink).

Give it a try! You won’t regret it for a minute.

RELATED POSTS:

(Note: PiBoIdMo has moved to January!)

Tara Lazar, founder of PiBoldMo and Talented Author!

PiBoIdMo, Picture Book Idea Month

Do you have a writing routine that works for you? How do you keep yourself accountable? Feel free to share!

6 comments

  1. I loved PiBoIdMo to push me to write down ideas each day. But I am self-motivated and let my creative whims take over. When I feel it, I write it. I guess that means I don’t really have a routine. But I do some writing pretty much every day. You are an incredible writer, so I’d say your routine is working for you!

    Liked by 1 person

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