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The Truth about Writing Routines

Updated: Apr 13

So many people ask me: "Hey Meghan! What's your writing routine?"

I love this question because: one, I love talking about anything writing-related; and two, I believe we can learn A LOT from other people's writing habits and techniques and routines. Some of my all-time favorite writing techniques that I learned from other authors are:

  • Anne Lamott's SFD technique for drafting. Basically, you just blob your writing out there without judgment and you fix it later. (Check it out here).

  • The Pomodoro Method, which is all about making sure you're 100% focused on the task at hand for short amounts of time: 25 mins on, 5 mins off. (Read more about it here).

  • Lauren Graham's distraction free writing. Essentially, you turn off the internet and put your phone away so that you're 100% focused on your writing. (Check it out here).

Undoubtedly, these writing techniques have empowered me to write dozens of undergrad and grad school papers, my doctoral dissertation, my first book, and tons of other writing projects. They're awesome.

But, at the same time, we've got to be careful of others' techniques, too. Because what I do— or another famous writer does—doesn’t mean it’s what you have to do!

This is because we're all wonderfully DIFFERENT, and what works for one writer might not work for another, and that's OKAY!

Virginia Woolf has this famous essay where she argues that to be able to write fiction women must have two things: one, money; and two, a room of her own. In theory, that’s great and it makes sense. But… what about the women who didn’t have money or a room of their own to write? Did it mean that they were somehow lacking or unequipped or unable to write?

Absolutely not.

That’s exactly why I’d never ever prescribe a writing routine to anyone! I’m happy to chat about what works for me because maybe it’ll work for you too, but I don’t ever want you to feel like you HAVE TO do what I do too. Because if you feel like you have to do what I do, and it doesn't work, you might feel like you're a failure or you're not meant to write, and that is SO not true!

At the end of the day, do what works for YOU!

For me, right now in this season of life, this is my writing routine:

  • Every Tuesday night, I hop onto a zoom call with a friend, and we write together for at least an hour. For me, it's really helpful to have that night that's locked-in as an official writing night on the calendar. Some nights, I get lots done. Other nights, I don't. But it's the routine of it that's really helpful for me.

  • Every other day or night of the week, I follow my inspiration. If I'm feeling inspired to write anything— it doesn't matter what it is... a blog, a chapter, an essay, a post, etc.— I'll honor the inspiration and write the thing. Because of this, I put together an entire book in a matter of days. Now, I'm revising it and it'll be released this summer! And it's all because I followed my inspiration.

That's it! It's so different from my prior writing routines where I'd show up every day for hours to write, but... that's just not where I'm at in this season of life. And that's okay.

The ultimate truth about writing routines is that they should feel manageable and empowering.

So, now, I invite you to do some reflection:

  1. What writing routine feels empowering and manageable for you right now in the season of life that you're in?

  2. What writing techniques have you seen other authors use that you want to try AND tailor to fit you and your needs and life?

No matter what your writing project is, your work is important and it needs to be out in the world. I hope that you're cultivating a writing routine that makes the journey to getting a book out into the world enjoyable!



P.S: If you want to connect on the daily to talk more writing, give me a follow on Instagram. You can find me @dr.meggymarie

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