Last week I talked about knowing the kind of writer you are and how that will help you write faster. I shared my good and bad writing habits as well as those of the attendees of my recent webinar, How to Write Faster.
During that webinar we also discussed writing “traditions” that you do before you sit down (or stand, as we learned some of you do) to write.
It was a fun little exercise to engage those on the webinar, but it is also an important part of the writing process. Just like a normal bed time routine can help your body wind down and get ready for sleep, a writing routine can also get you in the right frame of mind for writing.
For me, that means making a fresh cup of hot tea, and often having a little snack like some cookies. I also like to be warm, so I’ll grab a hoodie or even a blanket. If I don’t go through these little routines, I find myself easily distracted by others things. When I do them, it’s a signal to my brain and body to settle down and focus on the task.
Here are a few other routines that participants on the webinar shared:
I like to be in my pajamas with my laptop in my sitting room.
I like to use a pen with ink the same color as my outfit for the day.
I need quiet time – and I like to be alone too.
Have to have a view outside.
Lots of clean recycled paper and a good pen.
If I’m at the office, I need to take my shoes off!
My comfy chair by the fireplace.
Cup of coffee, and shut my office door with some classical music!
I work at a standing desk. Standing helps pull off extra energy.
Blanket with cat in my lap and TV streaming.
I have to be in a clean space that’s free of clutter, or else I’ll feel the need to clean instead of write.
Definitely a cup of tea or hot chocolate. I need to eat before I begin – if I get hungry, it’s all over. Something to pick on like chocolate.
I do a couple yoga stretches and breathing.
I put my hair up in a ponytail.
I love to sit for a moment and reflect on my assignment with a piece of dark chocolate. It helps me clear my thoughts and energizes me for the task at hand.
Some of these people clearly have a home office like I do, which can be both a pro and a con to writing.
I was surprised at the number of people who like to listen to music when they write. I find it distracting, but as you can see on the word cloud with all of the answers, I was in the minority. Having a cup of coffee, cleaning up your work space, exercising or stretching, and munching on snacks — especially chocolate — were also popular ways to prepare for writing.
It’s all about finding out what puts you in the mood. If you don’t have a routine, try some of these out and see what works for you. Then let us know what you came up with – maybe we can start some new traditions together.
Tomorrow we’ll look at where you get your best ideas.