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  • Writer's pictureNatalie Brianne

Discovering the Perfect Writing Routine: A 10-Week Experiment

In researching the most influential and successful authors of the last several centuries, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are two types of writers:

Those with a routine. And those without.

Some authors have every day planned down to the minute, just waiting for the next time they can sit down and have at it. Ernest Hemingway said, “It is the wait until the next day that is hard to get through.”

Meanwhile other authors drift through their days, waiting for a muse or an inkling to come to mind. Agatha Christie, one of the best selling novelists of all time, carried around a notebook, wrote when she felt like it, and often would have anxiety about what to write next.

In some ways, the lack of a routine is a routine in of itself. So perhaps there is only one type of writer.

At the current moment, I am more like Christie in my writing routine. That is to say, I don’t really have one and I have major anxiety when it comes to writing my books and getting them done on time.

The biggest difference between the two of us (routine wise) is that while I carry a notebook around, I rarely remember to write in it.

The heart of the matter is this: I yearn for a writing routine. Most of the authors I look up to attribute their success, in part, to their routine. And yet every time I attempt to create a routine it falls to pieces.

I could blame the latter part on my lack of executive functioning, but research has shown that creating a routine can help with symptoms of ADHD. If one can only adhere to it.

So, for the next little while, I’m going to be conducting an experiment on myself. Each week, I'll draw inspiration from a different author's writing routine and try to emulate it. With my work schedule and other responsibilities, it won’t be exact, but hopefully we’ll be able to get some data. I’ll keep track of how many words I wrote, my overall mood and energy levels, and key takeaways that I could include in my final writing routine.

The authors on my current list include:

  • Neil Gaiman

  • Stephen King

  • Ernest Hemingway

  • John Steinbeck

  • Anthony Trollope

  • Brandon Sanderson

  • Charles Dickens

  • Ursula Le Guin

  • CS Lewis

  • and Roald Dahl

I may not do them in that exact order, but you get the general idea. By the end of the 10 weeks, I will hopefully have some idea of what works for me and what doesn’t, and since each routine will be novel, perhaps I’ll be able to stick to it.

Stay tuned as I embark on this journey and feel free to suggest any other author's routine you think I should try. Let's see if I can unearth the perfect writing routine hidden within the habits of the greats. And hopefully all of us can learn something along the way.

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