• Ashley Nicole

The Road to My Writing Routine

I know not everyone is going to have the same writing routine, and I know that the first writing routine you see when looking for one may not fit you, but that doesn't change our fascination of the routines of others. That tiny glimpse into a writers life showing us how and where that magic happens somehow makes us feel closer to the magic itself.

I have always written a lot. Enough so that if I had been more organized and time conscious I could have written my first novel at least a dozen times over. It has taken a lot of growing up (physically but mostly mentally) to learn the discipline of time. My mindset had to go from "I found a couple minutes to jot something down" to "I made time to write for an hour."

I agree, there are only 24 hours in a day, but rearranging and prioritizing can change how you view the productivity of those hours. Let me explain by telling you about my writing routine, unique details and all!

I need to start off by saying I was never a morning person. Through high school and college I would hear my alarm (maybe), turn it off, then roll over and go back to sleep. I missed the bus a lot with that habit, and in college I tried not to sign up for early classes since I wouldn't have Mom there as a backup to my alarm clock.

What changed?

You know how when you get on YouTube and you start watching some music videos and then 3 hours later you're watching a documentary about how to talk to giraffes? Something like that happened, minus the giraffes. I was watching some video gamers on YouTube and just clicked on the next interesting looking video suggestion in the Up Next feed until somehow I ended up finding a string of "My Morning Routine" and I was hooked. I probably binge watched 50+ of those videos in one night. They were all about productivity and positivity as well as taking care of yourself while still accomplish so much.

I decided I wanted to give it a try and use it to make time for my writing. On that next Sunday night around 11:30 I set my alarm for 5 AM (crazy I know) and on Monday morning guess what?

I slept through it.

So Monday night around 11 I set my alarm for 5 AM again and guess what?

I actually got up!

Then went downstairs, laid on the couch, and fell back asleep.

This plan to get more writing time in wasn't working and I was getting more discouraged from even writing at all because of it. So for the rest of the week I quit trying. I also didn't write anything that week which upset me. So, I went back to YouTube. I learned that something else all the people in those videos had in common was they all had a set pattern they followed. They did the same thing, at the same time, and the same way each morning. Habit building.

Another part I was doing wrong was I was not giving myself enough sleep. With adults needing 6-8 hours of sleep I was only allowing 5-6 hours so even if I got up my body would not be ready to be productive. So Sunday night I wrote out a schedule I was going to follow Monday morning. I went to bed at 10:30 and set my alarm for 5:30 AM and guess what?

I got up!

And guess what else?

I followed my schedule! I was very groggy at first but once I started moving and using my brain it became easier to accomplish the tasks I set for myself. I will spare you the details of all the minor tweaking I did to come up with the final routine I follow today and just jump right in!

My mornings start out the night before. I make sure my alarm is set for 5:30 AM and I have my clothes laid out. I also make sure I know what I need to work on writing wise so that I can start without having to think about it in the morning.

When my alarm goes off I get up. No laying there thinking about getting up. I just get straight up and get dressed. I typically shower at night to save my morning time. I shuffle downstairs and drink a whole bottle of water. I'd rather coffee but I've found water makes me feel more awake. (Not that I won't have a cup of coffee after the water. *insert mischievous winky face*) Washing my face is also something I've found to help wake me up.

Now it's writing time. Usually I'll grab a banana or granola bar to munch on and head to my study. On my desk is always a bottle of Bath and Bodyworks Energy lotion. It's blended with essential oils such as orange and ginger and I just love the smell! I rub some on my hands and get to typing. I don't have a specific word count that I strive to get each day but if I get around 2,000 words or more I feel it has been a productive morning.

One of my favorite parts about writing in the morning is the lack of distractions. No one will be calling or texting me so I can turn my phone off without feeling anxious or guilty and my boyfriend doesn't wake up until 7:30 so I am free to be alone and write!

Once the clock hits 8:00 I'm done for the morning since I work 8:30-4:30.

I can feel the habit strengthen as I stay consistent. When I sit down in my desk chair it's like a switch is flipped in my brain and its like "Oh, we're doing the writing thing. Here's some things I've been thinking about for you."

I do this routine Sunday-Friday for sure, and Saturdays if I work. If I don't work then I allow myself to sleep in and write later on in the day. I think it's good to take a break from the norm just so it doesn't get monotonous. Sleeping in is now a treat rather than a regular and I think it makes it feel oh so much better!

I would love to hear about your writing routines along with tips and tricks you've found that work! Leave a comment to fuel my fascination!