Let's talk about how to adjust your writing routine when things run hot or cold…
Sometimes the writing routine we had set up so carefully and come to rely on in one season, doesn’t work quite as well a few months down the line. As we begin the shift into a new season, why not spend some time thinking about what’s been working well for you in your writing practice over the past year and consider how to adjust your writing routine to make sure it still works for you.
Writing Routine Refresh: The When
If you’re living near the Equator or in the Southern hemisphere where the days are longer this time of year, then you may find yourself with an extra hour or so of daylight for writing. If so, make the most of it! Coffee shops with open windows can be fabulous spots to settle into with a journal, pen and a cappuccino.
But if like me, you’ve entered the Time of the Great Dark because it’s November and completely black outside at 5pm (sigh), then you might want to consider rethinking when you write so that you can take advantage of daylight. Or you might be someone who doesn’t mind the dark and you can enjoy writing in the evenings as the rest of your household winds down.
When do you have the most energy for writing? Do you like to write in the mornings when your brain is fresh and sparky, or are you comfortable easing into a quiet space in the afternoon? If you’ve always done it one way, maybe it’s time to hit refresh and see if there is another time of day that can work equally well for you.
If a new season means new work routines or family obligations, then open up your weekly schedule and plan out some writing times that work with that new reality. If you have to be away with family for two or three weeks, it’s going to change what’s possible for you in your writing — acknowledge that and don’t beat yourself up if your word/page count is a little lower in those weeks. Equally though, don’t let weeks go by because you took a short break and just somehow “forgot” to get back into it. Get out the calendar and recommit to consistent writing sessions.
Writing Routine Refresh: The Where
Maybe you generally like to get out of the house to write in a coffee shop or park, or at the library, but now that the season has changed that’s not working as well for you anymore. Brainstorm a list of places you could go to write — keep it as open a list as possible to start with; you’re just getting some ideas down so be as crazy with it as you like. (Your neighbour’s wine cellar, why not?)
When you have your list, close your eyes and imagine yourself settling in to write in each place. Pick 2-3 that feel right to you, in addition to a spot (or spots) in your own home. Prep a “portable writing space” (i.e. totebag of supplies) you can take with you wherever you go.
Try out a new writing spot this week, and a different one the week after…when you find one or two you enjoy, stick with them for the season or until you need to adjust again. Having multiple options for where to write helps keep you unstuck — when Plan A doesn’t work out, just opt for Plan B.
I don’t necessarily mean run away to Playa del Carmen to write, but I hear it’s lovely this time of year.
Writing Routine Refresh: The Who
If you tend to hibernate in the winter months, or just get too busy in the summer and forget about writing for weeks on end, maybe a writing buddy would help. Can you arrange to meet up with a friend who also writes so that the two of you can connect and also generate some pages? Often the accountability of knowing someone else is expecting you to show up is all you need to ensure you get some writing done.
Most cities and larger towns have workshops or Meetup groups so you can always find people you can connect with to get some writing done.
Writing Routine Refresh: The How of Hygge
I am a big believer in developing a writing routine steeped in pleasure. The more hits of dopamine your brain can associate with writing, the more often you’ll be drawn irresistibly back to your latest writing project. And life’s just too darn short not to enjoy it!
Hygge is the Danish concept of embracing comfort and coziness. How can you put a little hygge into your writing routine? For my winter writing routine, I am all about the fluffy socks (yes, even with slippers — I like it WARM!) and something hot to drink, either coffee or herbal tea, depending on the time of day.
Although I always light a candle when I write at home or in a hotel, in winter it is absolutely essential. This is also why I don’t tend to write in cafes during the winter — bringing your own candle tends to be frowned upon for some reason.
And I’ve never seen this specified in any of the hygge guides I’ve read, but this girl is NOT wearing a bra when she sits down to write at 8pm, okay? Not happening. That should be hygge rule #1.
Figure out what brings you joy in this new season and set up your writing routine accordingly.
Writing Routine Refresh: The Why of It All
We all have dreams for our writing, and I hope your writing dreams come true.
More than anything though, I have learned over the years that what really matters is the act of writing itself. It reminds me of who I am and what I value in this life. I believe in the inherent value of living a creative life, possibly now more than ever. I don’t want that to slide just because a new season came along and I find my writing routine no longer works for me as well as it did.
I invite you to be intentional in how you think about supporting your creativity by finding ways to keep things fresh with your personal writing routine. And I’d love to hear how it goes — join me over on Facebook or Instagram to share how you’ve rejuvenated your own routine this season.