Recently on our social media pages, I shared 5 tips for approaching a daily writing routine. I was rather proud of the series and wanted to make sure they could be appreciated together -- just in case someone missed out on one of the tips as they were posted! If you have wanted to begin a daily writing routine, here is my advice:
Tip #1: We make time for what we see as a priority.
This advise was delivered by a colleague of mine during one of our PLC times: "We will make time for what we see as a priority."
She said it in regards to reading during class, but this can apply to so many things. I apply it to writing. Why? Because sometimes I find it hard to write every day. I have so many other obligations. How can I find time for writing?
Simple: I MAKE time!
Usually that time is in the morning -- waking up early to write in my notebook. Other times it's in the evenings when I am meeting with my fellow writers at the Teach Write Academy. And then some days the only writing I do is with my students. Because even in my classroom I have made sure to carve out time for writing because I see it as a priority.
Before you can establish it as a daily routine, YOU will need to decide if it is a priority for you YOU will make time for writing, because you see writing as a priority!
Tip #2: We show up to the page every day.
Sometimes the hardest challenge to overcome is not the act of writing, but the act of starting to write.
In order to establish a writing routine, the first thing we have to do is START the routine.
We have to show up to the page (or screen) every day. It helps if you can make it the same TIME every day, but it doesn't have to be. For instance, I would LOVE to write every morning, but some mornings I have dedicated to a different routine: the gym.
However, I also made sure that my morning gym days fall on days where I can write in the evenings -- usually with the other members of Teach Write Academy. I may show up at a different time, but I still show up.
It's also important to remember that some days your writing routine may look a little different. There are some days where I can only manage a sentence of writing before I get swept up in the rest of my schedule. However, there are also days where I have churned out entire chapters of a novel!
You can't do either of those things, if you don't show up for the writing!
Tip #3: We pay attention to how it makes us feel.
This tip may seem odd at first, but it has helped me come back to writing again and again -- even when I am frustrated or tired. I am able to come back, because I know the act of writing daily makes me feel good.
I know that, because I have paid attention while building my routine to what days I felt good (the days I have made time for writing) and what days I haven't felt so good (the days I didn't).
Some people I know use mood trackers for this sort of practice or habit building, but even just taking a moment to reflect on what is working for you daily can make a big difference in building a habit of writing.
If you are struggling with making a habit of writing, consider tracking the days you write vs the days you don't and then pair that with tracking how you feel on the days you write vs the days you don't. I think you'll find an interesting pattern emerging which will help you in staying motivated to write daily!
Tip #4: We make the act of writing into a game.
As someone who is competitive it has helped me a lot when it comes to showing up to my writing daily: turning my writing into a challenge or game.
The nice thing about this is that I don't even have to create the challenge -- there are so many writing challenges available on the internet to suit a wide range of needs.
It could be a writing challenge specific to a month. For instance, in March there is a Slice of Life Story Challenge, in April there is Ethical ELA's Verselove for Poetry Month, and in November, the ultimate challenge is of course #NaNoWriMo which pushes you to write a novel in a month! And that's just the three that I have participated in the past.
Sometimes the best thing you can do for your routine is to find a true purpose behind making it in the first place. You need something SPECIFIC to work towards. Turning your writing into a game or finding a challenge can certainly add purpose to your writing.
Tip #5: We find an accountability partner.
Whenever I am starting something new, I like to talk with people about it.
When I began a walking routine, it was with my mom and we would continue that routine because it was also our time to catch up.
Later, when I moved out, I needed to keep up my physical health but I struggled because I no longer hand someone to hold me accountable. I lost interest.
The same could be said of my writing routine. Whenever I have tried to maintain a routine on my own, I have struggled. "No one cares," I thought.
Whether it is going to the gym for my physical health or writing in the mornings for my mental health -- I do better at sticking to those routines when I have someone to hold me accountable. Even if it's a quick check in on my progress or asking me how my project is going. I had a colleague at work who would ask me about my novel every morning and that interaction a lone did a lot to encourage me simply because I wanted to be able to tell her what I had done since the last time she asked!
It's nice to talk to someone about the projects you are working on. It's just fun to share, you know?
As my final tip for establishing a daily writing routine, I want to recommend you find someone that will do this for you. It helps if that someone will also be supportive in your writing goals and not dismiss it as silly or a waste of time.
If you're not sure you have someone like that in your life, I can think of no better person (or really group) to do that with than Teach Write and the Teach Write Academy.