Hello fellow bookworms 🖋 I’ve got exciting news: I’m starting a new post Series all about getting back to writing again! 🎊 (I’ve honestly never been more nervous to publish any post … because this is the first time I’m actually trying to give some writing advice about things I’ve learned 😲😱 )
As you might now, I have been pretty busy with my internship and classes these past 4 months, which is why I failed Camp NaNo in April (my last writing update btw) and haven’t done anything writing related since. I really tried to, but things got especially bad in May, so I kind of gave up trying to do anything. I simply couldn’t do it. However, now I want to get started on writing again. I have been meaning to edit my WIP since last year and it finally needs to happen.
To be honest I have always had issues writing consistently in the past, with only NaNoWriMo really being the most productive time for me. However, since I’m on my semester break right now, I decided that it was the perfect time to explore how to consistently work on my writing and put it into practice before life gets a lot busier again! After all, I love writing, otherwise I wouldn’t still be trying to do it.
What I did last week was the following: I set up a weekly schedule for myself with posts to read about developing a writing routine, tackling creative burnout and generally finding motivation to write again. I thought a good way to start off getting into writing again was figuring out how to write consistently again, tackling my writing doubts and planning to become a more productive writer. Each day I would take notes on anything interesting and helpful by hand to later go into my physical writing folder. I also did a free 7 day course about rocking your writing practice, that I loved doing 💕
Spoiler: the next update will be all about getting ready to edit my WIP and *gasp* actually doing it 😱
How to make writing a priority again 🖋
Develop a writing routine
My biggest problem is that I never had much of a writing routine except for during NaNoWriMo which is probably also why I got my best writing done during that time. After combing through a lot of articles about the topic, I feel like I have a pretty good grasp now about how to best build up a routine as it seems like the best way to get back to writing for me personally. I need the routine to make me show up consistently. I especially recommend reading the productivity pyramid by Susan Dennard for the basics, it was a super helpful tool to learn about the psychology behind habits. Let’s talk about what I learned. (hopefully there might be something among those tips that might help you too)
🌷 Start off by develop a ritual as it serves as a behavior cue that reminds your brain it’s writing time. You need props (e.g. your laptop, notebooks …), a location (e.g. your desk, an armchair, maybe in a cafe …) and an action (e.g. making coffee, playing music …) to constitute a ritual that can get you into the writing mindset every time. E.g. I need my laptop to work and would ideally be sitting at a table where it’s quiet as I don’t like any background noises when I work. I’m also a big believer in coffee, so I would 100% be making myself a big cup ☕
🌷 What’s now important is to have adhere to a routine. I’d explain a routine as a daily repetition of your ritual that gets you into the writing ‘zone’. Ideally make writing part of your daily routine by blocking out time in your calendar, so you’re more likely to show up and get it done. It takes about 30 days to build a habit, so sticking to it is important.
🌷 Know your energy rhythm, meaning at what times you have most energy and use that time for writing/highly energy consuming tasks. You can try filling out a daily productivity heat map for a few days to find out when you’re most energetic. For me this is the afternoon, but I know some incredible people who are morning people 😲 It’s also important to find out for how long you can focus before you need to take a break.
🌷 Set attainable goals that you want to achieve each session, so you can make the most out of your writing time.
🌷 Figure out what motivates you to write and how much pressure to apply. Maybe you work best with a reward system or punishments if you don’t hit your goals (definitely not for me 😱), figure out what gets you writing AGAIN. As for pressure it’s important to know if you work best with tracking time or words (my favorite!) and if you’d rather set strict ore more open and flexible goals. It all depends on how much pressure you can put on yourself without it overwhelming and burning you out. Everyone has a different level that feels motivating and not draining 😊
🌷 In Summary: Find your WHERE , WHEN and HOW you write best. It’s often suggested to try out several options before you settle on the perfect conditions for your routine, because you might be surprised to find out what works for you. And for everyone who needs to hear it: you can do this! 💕
Use a planner to keep track of your writing
I love planning, so this is a must for me, as I need to have an overview about what is currently going on in my life. I especially recommend Madeline’s posts about planning, because she has so many amazing tips that I found really helpful! 💖
🌷 Plan out weekly & monthly writing goals that take you close to your dream. Setting goals has always worked for me, because I need to write down what I want to achieve, so I get motivated to do it. Breaking big goals down can also make you feel less overwhelmed and lets you go after what you want with more structure. It’s always important to set realistic goals, because if you’re like me you often set yourself too many big goals 😅
🌷 Know how much time you have for writing and what other time needs to go into your personal life and other hobbies. That’s really important, because sadly most of us cannot spend our entire time writing and have other tasks or events that we need to do. Basically, plan with how much time you actually have.
Get organized with your writing
Didn’t I just talk about organization? Yes, I did, but for me this is key 😄 I not only like to rely on a planner, I also love Scrivener, a writing program that lets you keep all your files in one single project. Cleaning up your writing space (be it physical or digital) can be good, as a crowded desk/files always make me feel like I cannot work and give me a reason to procrastinate and do something else.
🌷 Use Scrivener to get organized. I got this with my NaNo Winner discount and the investment has been worth it. Scrivener can hold all your notes and it also has a lot of cool features that I’m still learning myself. It’s a big relief to have everything in one place and not having to search all the for the information you had written down somewhere. I know that some writers prefer a journal dedicated to writing (still in awe about that, my handwriting is terrible 😂), so as always it might be best to figure out what system works best for you.
🌷 Make writing convenient! This feeds into having an organized workspace and having everything you need in advance of your writing session. It’s better if you can get just started with writing and don’t have to clean up 20 min before getting anything done.
Self-Care is important!
I’m often bad at self-care but it’s important to mention here that it’s okay if you have off days when you maybe cannot stick to your routine. It’s always important to listen to your body and mind and take breaks if things get too overwhelming.
🌷 Respect your reality. By this I mean, allow your everyday life and writing life to coexist without neglecting one of them. You shouldn’t feel pressure to dedicate all your time to writing, it’s more important make sure you show up consistent.ly.
🌷 Take breaks to recharge. Like I mentioned, it’s okay and recommended to take breaks every once in a while. That can be especially helpful, because it allows you to fill yourself with new ideas and inspiration by going outside or consuming other media. A lot of authors call this ‘refilling the creative well’ and I really like that expression.
🌷 Call yourself what you are: a writer. This is hard for me because I’m often like ‘Am I really a writer???’ But it’s very freeing to embrace that you are a writer no matter what stage you’re at in your journey and no matter how much you have learned and need to learn. We all have the capacity to grow. Madeline’s post dedicated to all aspiring authors was very helpful to me!
Get involved in the writing community
Surround myself with those that understand the writing struggles, watching their videos or reading their blog posts this can be so motivating for me. That’s why I started looking out for more writing youtubers and writing blogs that offer advice/writing life stories for me to consume. Feeling connected to the community again is also how I get back to reading and it feels like this can also be applied to writing.
🌷 I have been watching a lot of Kate Cavanaugh recently! I’m saving a full recommendations up for another post, but I did want to include one of her videos 🙂
🌷 You might also now that I love Madeline’s Blog. She recently went self-hosted and changed up her layout, so I highly recommend that you check out her blog, it’s lovely and very inspiring to me 💛
Find out WHY you write
🌷 This is important, because the WHY is probably why I haven’t given up on writing and why I want to start doing it more frequently again. I really like exploring what made me a writer and the deep seated reason behind it, I highly recommend taking a look at the Writer’s DNA, it’s an interesting post about that, even though the full online course is pretty expensive. Still, even without that one, you can make a list why you’re writing so you can remember that the next time things get difficult. I also like to write down a few of my writing dreams, because it is important to allow yourself those dreams too 💕
Writing Resources I recommend for this topic
🌷 These are most of the posts that I read during the first week of August
Rachel Aaron/Bach 🖋 thisblogisaploy
Susan Dennard 🖋 susandennard
- Increase Your Writing Productivity: the productivity pyramid
- Increase Your Writing Productivity (part 2): the power of ritual
- Increase Your Writing Productivity (part 3): the power of routine
- Increase Your Writing Productivity (part 4): the power of rhythm
K.M. Weiland 🖋 Helpingwritersbecomeauthors
- 7 Things to Try When Writing Is Hard
- Not Feeling Creative? 4 Ways to Reignite the “Wonder” in Your Writing/
- 6 Lifestyle Changes You Can Make to Protect Creativity
Well Storied 🖋
- How to Maximize Your Writing Time Like a Pro
- How to Hold Yourself Accountable to Your Writing Practice
- Feel like you’re falling behind in your writing life?
- How to Write a Novel When You Have a Full-Time Life
- 10 Ways to Care For Yourself As a Writer
- How to Work Through Writing Doubts
- Five Tips For Finding Writing Motivation
- Are You Ready to Conquer Writing Overwhelm?
- Four Steps to Overcome Writing Procrastination
- Free Course: Rock your writing practice
- Eleven Tips for Creating a Feel-Free Writing Routine
Rachel 🖋 RachelGiesel
- How to Command the Muse to Come On Your Time (3 Steps to Discipline Your Writing Life)
- Why Do You Write? Discovering Writing Motivation + Perseverance
- What to Do When You’re in a Funky Creative Rut with Writing
- How to Become a Happy + Productive Writer
- Beat Writer’s Block by Eliminating Your Excuses (This is Your Pep-Talk)
- 5 Ways to Balance Writing with the Rest of Life
Madeline 🖋 Happy When Writing
- 6 Elements of a Productive & Creative Month
- 6 Elements of a Productive & Creative Year
- Dear “Aspiring” Authors // How to Stop Aspiring & Start Being
- How to Plan a Productive Week in Less Than 30 Minutes // 3 Steps To Making Time for ALL Your Writing Goals
- My Writing Routine: How It Sets Me Up For Productive Writing Sessions
- 5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Writing Sessions
What writing project are you currently working ? How do you stay motivated to write? 🖋