Monday, February 22, 2021

Why and How to Change Up Your Writing Routine

Most people fear change, especially if they've started something new, and want to succeed.  Writing should be an ever changing activity, because we're constantly striving to be the best at what we do.

But often the very process of the way we write becomes entrenched in our psyche making it really difficult to step away from that particular way of doing things.

This may not always be the case, and sometimes there are things that takeover in our lives making us want to change the routine we're in. There's no harm in that kind of change, and often it can be for the better, making you a more productive writer.  

Others may want to really rock the boat just to see if they get the same effect as the million pound author who has their own special routine.  There's nothing wrong with wanting to emulate your favourite writer, but don't give yourself a hard time when things don't go the way you want them to, or if you feel like nothing has changed since you started following a routine you read about online.

Changing things up may be something that needs to happen if you feel like your process needs a kick up the backside.  Sometimes through stress or life events we forget how we do things.  Life can be bumpy at the best of times, but if you're struggling to keep up your usual routine, maybe it's time for a change.  Life changes all of the time, so why shouldn't your writing process?

I've tried really hard to write in the morning but it just doesn't work for me.  I keep coming back to the evening, this is when my brain is at its best and my productivity is at its best.

What Happens When You Change Up Your Routine?

So with that advice in mind let's start looking at some ideas to change up your writing routine.

1. Your Focus Will Improve

We live in a world full of distraction, our attention spans are shrinking, but there's no reason why your attention span needs to go that way as a writer. That's why there's no harm in changing things up every once in awhile just to stop monotony setting in. 

2. Your Memory Will Improve

You would think that retaining the same routine time and time again would help with your memory, but research has shown the opposite.  Changing your routine is a good thing, and will help you retain information more readily.  In time this helps the effectiveness of your brain holding onto information.

3. Your Creativity Will Increase

If you've ever suffered from writer's block then you'll know that often all it takes is a little break to get refocused on the job in hand.  Which means you just need to be flexible with your time and not so rigid where your routine is concerned.  There are no hard and fast rules to writing, some people are able to go one or two weeks, or more without doing anything.  Then they'll jump back into their project and write more words than ever. 

4. It Gives You Time to Re-evaluate Your Situation

So much of our lives today can use autopilot, in the past they would have taken more thought, thanks to technological advances.

A simple writing routine, which used to be a joy to do, turns into a neverending hamster wheel.  Leaving the passion you once had for writing, far behind.  But none of this needs to happen if you shake up our writing routine every now and again to make things more fun and interesting.

So What Can You Do to Change Up Your Writing Routine?

Play Music in the Background

You would think that playing music would put you off, but funnily enough certain kinds of music, such as classical music have the opposite effect.  I'm sitting here writing, with Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata in the background, and find it really easy to get my thoughts into gear.  

All you need to do is find the right kind of music to help you concentrate.

Don't Go For Your Usual Kind of Reading Material

Try changing your reading habit, start by looking into new subjects.  Something that makes your brain really think, instead of things you already know about.  

Learning is an important part of the writing process, and means that we'll never get to grips with everything, but we will end up with a library of knowledge to call on when we need it.  If you were never academically minded in school, don't despair, we all learn in different ways, and some of us take a little longer than others.  But we still get there in the end.  

Switch Up Your Writing Routine

Take a leaf out of Ian Fleming's book and switch up your writing routine by writing in a different genre.  Ian Fleming was well known for writing James Bond, but did you know he also wrote Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang?

Find the Time of Day When You're Most Productive

We're not all early birds, I know I'm not one, I prefer writing in the evening.  Find out which part of the day suits your writing best and stick to writing at that time.


Change Your Writing Location

This may be a bit more difficult during a pandemic, but hopefully we'll all be able to try out new places to write that don't necessarily involve sitting at a desk at home (when things eventually blow over).

Don't Write as Much

If you've been working intensely for a while it's good to take your foot off the gas and not write with such intense fervour.  This kind of zeal could lead to mental exhaustion, so try doing short bursts of writing, instead of long ones to give your brain a little break.

Eat Well

If you love eating crisps and easy sugar filled snacks, try some healthier ones instead.  This is important fuel for your brain and body, and will help improve your writing stamina.  

Easier Said Than Done

Deviating away from a routine we're used to can be challenging, but is a necessary part of growing and learning as a writer.

You probably don't realise it but you've been changing things up ever since you started writing.  That is to say that when you first started writing it would feel like nothing but a slow crawl until eventually you wanted to get up and walk, and really get your teeth into some difficult writing projects.  

So why not switch off the autopilot button, be less predictable, and see where it takes you.

Read more:

How to Prepare Yourself as a Writer

How to Accept Your Writing Anxiety, and Spend Time on the Craft

Why All Writers Should Set Goals

How to Overcome Your Writing Fear With Mind Games

Find Your Writing Hero

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