Writing in my journal before going into the other room to continue writing the draft of my sequel to A Couple with Common Cents is like taking two warm-up laps around the track before competing in a race. This is my writing routine: do a little journal work before hitting the big writing project for the day.
This gets my body focused on the upcoming work, my muscles practicing for the groove of writing, and my mind ready for written language as I prepare with the same skills I’ll be using for most of my morning.
Each writer has his own preference as to the time of day his output is of both highest quality and quantity. My circadian rhythm puts my mind in its sharpest position during mid- to late-morning, the same as most of the population. Of course, I will often have flashes of insight at other times of the day. But mornings are my time of highest productivity.
On Reading Before Writing
Some writers read before they write. I find that reading just leads me to more reading and research. Yes, all writers should read from their genre(s) and learn from other masters of the craft.
It’s best to use ideas from other writers as fodder. Let your mind ruminate on them.
And read for fun, too: read outside your genre for pleasure.
Why I Journal As Part of My Writing Routine
As I journal, I practice all the same writing skills I use when I draft my books. I journal with pen and paper, feeling my hand move across the page as I write. This is the same method I use when drafting my fiction books. (Are you surprised that I wrote my books out by hand?)
Drafting my books by hand allows me to:
- Think deeply about the topic and characters
- Not be distracted by “getting online”
- Feel a sense of tangible accomplishment as I fill the pages of the notebook
- Make corrections when I type the next draft on my computer
- Go “analog” with my ideas and notes on the table
After my muscles get warmed up, my hand is in the groove of writing. It’s easier to keep going that way. The hard part is getting started. When you have a few hundred words on paper (as I do now), you’re focused and ready to go.
Finishing this entry gives me a sense of accomplishment: “Yes, I’ve already finished something today!”
My books are high-quality, in part, because of my practice of warming up as a writer before I sit down to my primary project for the day.
How do you get warmed up for writing? What is your writing routine?