Discuss: Writing Routines


Here at the Jet Fuel blog, we’ve discussed writing environments, writing setups, and writing tools. But we have not yet discussed writing routines. As I wrote about last week, inspiration can strike at any time and in any place. So sometimes, certainly, it doesn’t matter whether you have a routine in place or not. Those odd moments of inspiration are going to creep up out of nowhere no matter what. But I believe that consistent output of new writing only happens when you have a writing routine in place. If you sit around waiting for those random bursts of inspiration, you’re not going to get anything written. By contrast, if you have a writing routine in place that you go through each day, you will at least be ready to write no matter what.

The awesome Brainpickings website has a post that compiles the Daily Writing Routines of Famous Writers. This post is a fun one to read through because it gives the voyeurs among us an insight into what some high-profile authors did to get their writing finished. Some of them are practical (Ray Bradbury), some have a style of nose-to-the-grindstone (Joan Didion), and some are more superstitious (Jack Kerouac). But all of these writers have one thing in common: they put a writing routine in place to put the words down on paper. They recognized that creativity sometimes needs to be reigned into a regimented and practical schedule so that ideas come to fruition.

And so, as you might imagine, this week’s discussion topic is: what’s your writing routine?

For me, these days I’ve been writing in the evenings. When I get home from work, I take some time to unwind and do mindless things like watching some YouTube videos or scrolling through Tumblr. And once I’ve done that and eaten my dinner, I sit down and try to actually write something. It’s been tough. There are only so many hours in the evening, of course, and it can be difficult to get your mind going after a day’s work. But once I’ve actually written something, I feel so good.

How about you guys? What is your writing routine?

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

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