Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Writing Routine Experiment

One of the most common pieces of writing advice is that we should have a writing routine. Why? Because routine flips that switch in our brain that says it’s time to get to work.

I’m not a creature of habit. At all. Sure, I may do the same things every day, but never in the same order. I like freedom.

I’ve tried (for like two days) to set writing routines in the past (only write at 2PM, only write while wearing a tie, etc.), but nothing ever stuck. I like what Veronica Roth said in her blog post about not following writer rules.

“In order to get the writing done, I have to feel free. I can't resent the work I'm doing. So I choose to look forward to it instead of dreading a particular time of day. I have found that, rather than making myself write at the same time every day, I make myself write at least once a day. It doesn't matter when that is or how much I get done. I just have to do it. Sometimes you do have to force yourself to do something, but it doesn't have to be in the same way as other people force themselves to do something.”


But I am pretty curious to see how a writing routine will–or will not--impact my writing. So for the next thirty days (until my next blog post on May 28), I’m going to experiment with this whole writing routine thing. I’m no science expert, so I’m going to approach this like a middle-school-level scientist.

Step one: Ask a question. Will sticking to a writing routine help me be a better writer or am I destined to live a wild existence of unpredictability for all of time?

Step two: Do background research. The old saying is that is takes 21 days to create a habit. But actually it takes 18-200-and-something days with an average of 66 days being the golden number. Basically, I could fall anywhere on this spectrum. We’ll see if 30 days is enough for me.

Step three: Construct a hypothesis. By the end of these 30 days, the trial will either prove routine works for even the likes of me or that I’m a wild jungle babe of writing.

Step four: Test your hypothesis by doing an experiment. For the next 30 days, I will write in my glorified closet office–and only in that room. (I thought about doing it at a certain time, but then I started twitching and dry heaving and breaking out in hives*, so I decided against that.)

I have a couple questions for you. Do you have a routine? If so, what it is? If not, will you join me in experimenting?

Do you keep writing habits?

pollcode.com free polls

I’ll see you back in a month with some super scientific results.

Over and out,

*Not really, but still.

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