*sigh* If only it were that easy. If only the right tool could turn me into another Hemingway, Ivins, or Patterson. I’d be so productive and rich.
That used to be my dream, a long time ago. But that was before I realized that being a writer was a job, not just a fantasy.
And there are far too many distractions. I’ll plan my writing for a given day, and then realize I need to do a little research on the topic first. So it’s over to Google, Wikipedia, Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, where I dutifully copy down (and cite) the information.
I can focus on these things for a while, but before I know it, I’m on Reddit watching animated gifs. I push off the things I want to do because they’re difficult. After all, it’s easier to watch old episodes of House on Netflix than write blog articles. –Dan Murphy
It was the advent of the Internet in general and the World Wide Web in particular that impressed on me the importance of having a daily writing strategy. And while I don’t always follow it, I find that when I do, I’m a lot more productive than when I don’t.
My Daily Writing Routine
Wake up, get outta bed, drag a comb across my head. Find my way downstairs
I’ll skip the details of getting out of bed and all of the accompanying details. I’ll start my routine where I actually start to write.
I begin with a nice strong cup of tea. I used to drink coffee, but when the day came that I ran out of coffee mugs and realized it was because a) they were all scattered all over the house, half-filled with cold coffee and b) I don’t really like coffee, I made the switch and haven’t looked back since.
Strong tea? Yes, strong. I use 2 bags in a standard-size coffee mug. My Nana always said that a proper cuppa should be so strong that “a wee little mousie could trot along the top of it.” My favorites are, in no particular order, black Assam, Irish Breakfast, PG Tips, and Earl Grey.
What can I say? It’s generic: we were Liverpudlians to start.
Next, I launch Scrivener and hit F11 to go into Full-Screen mode. This gives me a blank screen with no distractions, not even so much as a menu bar. Now I can start writing.
Formatting, spelling and grammar checking—these all come later. The important thing is to get something, anything, written. Everything else is distraction. I keep plowing through until I’ve reached my daily goal of 1000 words, and then I stop.
Now it’s time to go back and edit the sucker. Now is the time for the spelling checker and (rarely) the grammar checker. Now come the little prettifiers, such as italics and bold face, hyperlinks, etc.
But the most important thing of all is to get the words written down!
Finish with another cup of tea as a reward.
It Really Is That Simple
Or, as Ernest Hemingway put it, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
Everything about my routine can be changed to suit your preferences. I usually write in the morning because there are fewer distractions.Writing inn the morning also helps the rest of my day be better, because I’ve already accomplished something positive, and that feeling tends to stay with me all day.
The simple key to being a writer: write! Carry a notebook (or iPhone, iPad, Android tablet). Many people swear by a Moleskine notebook; whatever works for you. You never know when that idea will hit you. I’ve woken in the middle of the night to write down an idea, which is one of the reasons I keep my iPhone next to me at night.