Writing Habits: Myth or Essential?

tumblr_n0z1btdqUa1r47vufo1_1280Tell me in the comments: Are writing habits a myth or are they essential?

I.e. Do you think writers should write everyday? Do you think you should write a minimum amount of words per month or per month day? What does a writing habit mean to you? Does sticking to a set schedule or set of rules make you perform better or make you feel stressed? Does your schedule change with the time of day or time of year?

Share your writing habits/schedule/rules!

Advertisements

40 thoughts on “Writing Habits: Myth or Essential?

  1. I don’t feel like I have to write everyday. I’d like to, but I’m okay if it doesn’t happen. I also needs days to recharge, which means reading or watching movies, which help me get that creative spark if it’s been burning low. If I can get a couple hundred words in, or even a couple thousand (yay for those weeks!), for the week, then I feel like I’m progressing.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I feel a routine helps. But I also find that forcing myself to write doesn’t always produce work I am happy about. Still trying to find a happy medium. I have seen my writing improve since I started blogging regularly 10 yrs ago. So, there is something to be said about honing your craft.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I recently had 2 weeks with sick kids, no sleep, and no writing. Towards the end of that time, I started to wonder if I would ever write again, if I was even a writer – sleep deprivation is the devil. Instead, the next week was absolutely prolific – sentences, ideas, lyrics poured out. Made me wonder if my brain does some of its best work when my typing fingers rest.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I guess my writing habit is always changing my writing habits. haha I write whenever I can, wherever I can. If I’m working on a long term project I might get into a set schedule for a few weeks, but after that it changes again. It’s been working for me so far.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi! I have no schedule. I write as much as I can, when I can, until I’m through my first drafts. Then I wait and take a break while betas read it. I read constantly and that helps fuel the fire. I do feel bad during those breaks simply because we’re told we must write every day if we are truly writers.

    Like

  6. Writing has always been what I want to do and as my craft improved the hours at the keyboard flew by and sealed my day with accomplishment and pleasure. A day filled with 2-3 hours of time working on my novel or other projects is a good day. And I increase that time whenever I can. It’s a LIFE habit.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. For me, establishing writing habits is about holding myself accountable–whether that’s writing something every day (even if its an e-mail) or once a month for my critique group. I’m still trying to find a “system” that works for my professional and creative life. Writing habits are a way to explore the methods that have worked for those who came before me and find how my creativity works.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m fairly (okay, very) disciplined when it comes to my writing routine. When I’m drafting I get up to write every day (except the odd Sunday) around 5am, and aim for no fewer than 2,000 words/day — and I have an early-rising child so it’s not always the most quiet time, but we’ve worked out a rhythm. I’m a bit more relaxed when I’m revising. I also believe writing every day (and reading every day) has helped me immensely with the routine. I’ve been doing it for the past 3 books, and so far so good!

    Like

  9. I have always subscribed to the principle of whatever works should be worked, knowing that whatever works is fluid.

    Sometimes, a predictable writing schedule will produce good work; other times it will spit out predictable garbage. I usually write six days per week, but with no word or time goal. I proofread/ revise/edit seven days a week, and think about a current project 25/8.

    Happy Holidays, everyone!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Writers should try to write as often as possible, especially if that’s what they do full time. But if you’re like me and can’t write everyday, you should definitely think about your story, what you’re writing about, making notes, etc. This way you’re still contributing to your story and progressing. And that’s the key, to keep moving forward, keep the momentum going.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I write every day whether it’s an essay, novel scene, poem, Tweet or post-it.

    It feels like a conviction to open a creative channel in some way and dive in.

    That seems important to me.
    Sometimes it’s crap, but sometimes it’s not and I love the little time-capsules of where my head is at the moment.

    Like

  12. I write every week day first thing. I try to get in some work on the weekends, but the motivation bar is high for that. I never made any real progress in my career until I started writing in the mornings. You have to find what works for you and commit to it.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. If you’re writing as a hobby, do it when the mood strikes you. If you’re writing for a living (or if you want to), it’s a job. Show up for work every day. Even if I’ve spent all day at the computer churning out advertising scripts, I still sit down from 9P to 10P every night to work on whatever novel is in progress. Like Woody Allen said, 80% of success is showing up.

    Like

  14. I don’t have a particular schedule but I notice that if I take on too many personal commitments, I find myself sitting to write and struggling to rid my mind of the giant to-do list in there.
    I am making myself sit down every night and spend thirty minutes. It doesn’t matter how much or little I get done. If I am away from a story too long, I lose my relationship with it. I know that sounds weird, but I don’t know how else to put it

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I write 6 days a week between 1.5k and 2k words each day, read for 2-3 hours each day, and I do my best to treat it as a full time job (even though I’m not published and most likely never will be). When I can’t stick to this timetable, I feel derailed. I’ve been keeping this schedule up for a couple of years, and if I start writing at a later time than my usual, the whole process feels off.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Not a big fan of minimum word per day targets … seems to elevate quantity over quality. That said, treat your writing like work. Then, show up to work regularly, even if this means only an hour in the morning before your life takes over.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. An instructor advised our class of aspiring novelists to commit to 90 minutes of writing per day, six days a week, until it became a habit. After that, she assured us, we’d start to feel deprived if we couldn’t make the time to write. Turns out she was right.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. You should definitely develop writing strategies. Some work best for you and some don’t. This comes with experimentation. But to think that what works for one writer will work for all writers is a myth. Some strategies, however, are universal. You can’t work through writer’s block without writing. You can’t finish a project without commiting to writing every day.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I know that putting pen to paper everyday was a habit of some of the great ones. However, I can’t “force it.” It’s like some walking up to me, clicking a stopwatch and saying, “You’ve got 10 minutes to be creative and clever. Starting right now!”
    Even when vacuuming or cooking, I’m pondering about something I’ve written. Usually that’s when I have an insight and then hammer out another draft.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. NANoWriMo helped me discover that having a routine does help. I don’t write everyday, but I try to, and since I’ve been doing this, I’ve produced a lot of work. A lot more than I’ve ever imagined possible back when I wrote ‘when I could and felt like it’.

    I do take long pauses, sometimes, when I feel spent, or while trying to solve a particularly complex plot point. Sometimes a pause because I’m sick (cold and flu really destroy my concentration), but then I go back to routine as soon as I can.

    It works for me :-)

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I suppose I would want to define “writing.” I write in a journal every morning, grocery lists, to-do lists, business writing, and then there is the gift of time to focus on those important projects that I hope to reveal to the world. If writing is defined as that project that keeps scratching the itch to be creative then I would say that writing comes in many different forms. While I am not always putting pen to page, I carry notepads for epiphanies that might happen while driving or walking or shopping or — fill-in-the-blank moments when my brain turns a course and figures something out about the story line. However, once the rough draft has been completed, I become very disciplined about revision and that too is writing, something I do by opening the computer and checking notes for what needs to be done next. That writing I do every day for a few hours in between the day job and other commitments.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Now that I have a blog I write more regularly but I do not write every single day. When I have a project I am working on I try to, otherwise I find it can stretch on and on and I lose interest. I also found that when I write daily (either prompts or journal) I notice a difference. After a while the writing seems better, and the right words and ideas come to mind quicker. I also feel better about myself and even the negative aspects my life because, similar to how the actor felt in Chariots of Fire, when I write I sense God’s pleasure.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I write best when I clear a particular time for writing to happen. My best time is morning, before my mind gets cluttered with other people’s words (I’m a freelance editor by trade) and other obligations. I can revise and rewrite at pretty much any time of day, but first-drafting seems more fragile. I do all my first-drafting in longhand, with fountain pens. I don’t count words. I don’t set a minimum time, though I usually write for an hour and a half or two hours. Writing every day helps, because the longer I’m away from something, the more certain I am that it’s turned to crap in my absence. My mantra is “Let yourself write, don’t make yourself write.” It works for me.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. I sit at my desk every day with expectations of writing…something. Morning is my preferred time. Energy is boundless then. Having said that, a concussion this past year, kept me far from my screen for eleven months.

    In the past month I have resumed writing by introducing the discipline of writing theatre reviews. They were an opportunity for me to exercise my brain and fingers, and helped me to overcome the worry that I would not be able to re-enter my manuscript. The process seems to have worked – my characters are eager to speak!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I think people should do whatever helps them produce work. Since I started copywriting, I realized I didn’t have to wait until I was “inspired” in order to get words down. That has fortunately carried over into my fiction writing. But I think to say that someone isn’t a real writer unless they write every day/write 1000 words a session/publish a book a year/[insert random rule here] is just wrong. I know tons of writers, and I still have yet to meet two who do the exact same thing as each other.

    Do what works for you, that’s my motto.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Absolutely! I write every day. It’s like practicing for the Olympics or the symphony. You can’t just wing it. You have to train your mind for it. I write every day, and if I’m super busy I get up super early to get my writing workout in. Let’s face it you don’t get results if you don’t put on the time.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Because I freelance full-time and our children are grown, I am fortunate enough to be able to write almost every day. If I’m working on a big assignment, I will focus on research or writing all day (until I’m bleary-eyed and have to quit). If I have a deadline for a smaller assignment or am in-between assignments, I figure out my best course of action, spending some time on my own work. I believe writers should do what is best for them. If a writer does well on a schedule, great, but that’s not me. I don’t write a certain number of words or count the hours I’ve spent. I focus on the project and do as much as I can that day. Each day is different. I tend to break rules or rally against them, so giving myself the freedom to do what I want makes me work harder. As a morning person, I tend to be more creative from 8am to noon, and leave less creative work for the afternoon. During the winter holidays, I spend some time baking, decorating, shopping, and wrapping gifts, but try to do these things in the evenings or on the weekends (which doesn’t always work). How about you?

    Like

  28. A crotchety writer with a chip on his shoulder once told me that I’m not a writer if I don’t write daily, which had the magical effect of shutting me down completely. Years later, I know this is not true, and have two novels to prove it. I run far and fast from life’s big “Shoulds.” I’m either a rebel or a self-saboteur. Both probably. But infinite roads lead to a completed manuscript. After a while you just know in your gut when advice is true and good for you. The rest can eff off.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. I never thought of myself as a writer even though I started writing poems at the age of 4.
    I am a clinical psychologist.
    I never thought of myself as an author till I wrote my first novel.
    They say, a child gives birth to a mother.
    In my case, my novel gave birth to an author.
    When I wrote the novel, I DIDN’T FOLLOW ANY SCHEDULE.
    The writing followed me. For more than 8 months, I looked like Zombie. I won’t go to beauty parlor to wax my legs for months.
    I have no idea what obsession my characters had with morning but they would chirp in my head at wee hours with morning birds.
    And this is after I slept at 2:30 or 3:00 because I was hanging out with them!
    So, I think, the best writing is INTUITIVE and so powerful that it changes the DNA of a writer.
    For my first novel, I didn’t follow any schedule. Now, with my third book, I try to bring discipline but not because I don’t enjoy my writing time, but it is because I need to take care of other things and can’t live in my make-believer world for ever.
    So, I have to tell my characters everyday, “Guys, please stay there, I will be right back with you tomorrow. And meanwhile, keep chattering in my head. That is your playground. No issues!”

    Like

What do you think? I love hearing from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s