What should you do before you start your writing day?
I’ve read plenty of advice on topics like this over the years, and I have to say upfront: I don’t think there’s a right way or a wrong way. You have to do what works for you.
However, I’ve also tried to do things differently at times, and sometimes been pleased with the results. So with that, here are five things you should do before you begin your writing day.
1) Wake up. I know, I know, of course you’re not writing in your sleep here. But what I mean is, go ahead and get something done before writing. If you’ve just gotten up, and you’re not a morning person (I’m a night owl myself), then you might need some coffee. Or food. Or both.
2) Meditation. I’ve written about this a little, and I recommend either prayer or meditation in the morning. If you’re not the spiritual type, maybe just a silent period of meditation would work wonders for you. Personally, I do my meditation at night, but I do pray in the morning. It can’t hurt.
3) Exercise. The above-referenced blog post was a trick question – Which Is Better for Writers: Meditation or Exercise? If you read it, you’ll see my answer was “you need both.” Many successful business people recommend a morning workout routine, and I can’t argue with them. Getting your blood going means getting the blood to your brain going, right?
4) Clear The Decks. Sometimes it’s hard to write if you have something else weighing on your mind. Maybe you need to check your email for messages that require a timely response. Or maybe you need to do some social media post scheduling. Whatever the case, it’s a good idea to have a solid block of time dedicated to writing, rather than interrupting it multiple times. Do what you’ve got to do.
5) Roll Out And Write. I know some of you reading this are saying, “Huh? Isn’t this article all about doing things before you write?” It is, but maybe you shouldn’t do anything first, if you have that option. I used to do Morning Pages, as suggested by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way. Although most of what I wrote when I first woke up was stream-of-consciousness gobbledygook, I got some decent stuff out of the morass once in a while.
Maybe you’re not like me, though; maybe you wake up all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and can crank out brilliant prose right away.
Me? I need coffee. Breakfast. Prayer. Affirmations. You name it. What can I tell you? I’m high maintenance, and a true night owl.
How about you? What are some good routines you use to make your writing time productive? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.