Updated: Nov 15
Millennial women love a routine. Give us fifteen-step skincare, five AM wake-ups, and matching workout sets in pink greige, and you’ll have millions and millions of views and followers. But unlike workouts and hygiene, some of the #routines that litter your social platforms are more performance than reality.
Want to write a book or get published in a glossy magazine? There’s an aesthetically pleasing (and affiliate-link-filled) routine for you to follow. Fancy candles, pink keyboards, oat milk lattes, like a magic spell, these formulas suggest creativity lies on the other side.
While all of those trinkets and baubles fill me with pleasure too, none of these are required to write, and sometimes I think they can be a distraction. Writing only requires getting your butt in the chair, a working computer, and some discipline. It’s not something you can add to your cart on Amazon. It’s just hard work.
Like achieving any goal, you have to make a consistent effort. Unlike that cliched scene in the movie where our main character gets an idea, feels a rush of creativity, and then wham-bam, she’s painted a masterpiece; I don’t find that to be true in real life.
Since I’m a busy girl, my writing routine is less aesthetic and more results-oriented. I start by writing down some concrete goals. Instead of being vague, I list out five publications I’ll research and pitch. Then, I schedule time into my calendar to work towards achieving it, blocking it out from meetings, friends, or anything else that might come up.
Limit your distractions: There’s a reason why authors hole up in remote cabins to get work done. Invest in a solid pair of noise-canceling earphones, tell your family that you’re unavailable for the next hour, and turn your phone to that dull focus mode (and then try to figure out how to turn it back off). If you’re feeling overwhelmed or exhausted, try setting a timer for a short period of time and just writing until the beep. As you enjoy the process (and get into whatever you’re writing), you can extend the time or ditch the timer altogether.
Find an accountability buddy or coach to check in on your progress. Knowing every few weeks that my coach will be asking about my work is motivating. I can always make excuses to myself, but those sound super lame when you try to tell them to someone else (oh, I just was tired, it was sunny, I didn’t feel like it, suddenly vanish). Extra motivation comes when you invest financially in your goal because now you have a dollar amount of how much you are wasting by not accomplishing your goal.
I don’t always get to work on my personal writing goals every day. That’s not realistic, so don’t beat yourself up if you have to take a break because of family, work, or life. Come back to the routine, back to the fundamentals. Look at your goals, block off some time on your calendar, put up your do no disturb sign on your office door and mute your phone. Get back to writing. You’ve got this.
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