my writing routine

Each writer approaches the craft a little differently. I think we all have our unique processes that encourage creativity and get the words going. Some styles work better for some, but at the end of the day, we’re all working toward the same goal.

Having a regular routine helps me accomplish my writing goals. Now, while in still in school my goals are pretty minimal. As much as I would love to spend all my time writing novels and poetry, I do have essays that need to come first. I’ve spent many a night wrestling over whether to spend my time writing a research paper or the latest scene for my novel. It’s not an easy fight, and if I’m not careful, research papers easily lose.

Also, my writing routine depends on the style of writing I’m focusing on. Poetry and novel writing require different approaches for me. It’s almost like I need to get into a different frame of mind. If I know which one I’m going to focus on, I’ll adjust my routine.

For poetry, it’s honestly pretty simple.

1. Find inspiration. 

Inspiration usually stops by during non-writing hours. It can come from a song I here, a movie I watch, another author, or even just a phrase I hear. I usually take these little nuggets and write them down in a notebook or on my phone. I have a whole file devoted to poetry ideas.

2. Determine focus.

When I have more time to dig in further, I pull out those ideas. From there I develop a thought I want to communicate. It’s usually some experience I want the reader to have, a feeling I want them to feel, or a scene I want the reader to see.

3. Write, write, and write.

Then, I just write. I start with the phrase or idea that inspired me, and then I try to describe it further. I let myself try different styles, patterns, and rhymes until I’m happy with the end project. Sometimes I’ll end up with something completely different then what I started with.

It’s a lot of writing based on feeling, but I’ve created some really cool pieces out of it.

Novel writing is a little different, and it’s a skill I’m still trying to master.

1. Get involved in the story.

It’s impossible for me to start writing if I haven’t spent some time in the story first. As much as I would love to live in my story 24/7, I just don’t have that option right now. I need at least a good 10-15 minutes of reading to get my brain wrapped back around it.

2. Edit previous writing.

While I’m reading to get in the story, I like to make edits as I see them. Maybe it’s the perfectionist in me, but I love editing my work any time I work on it. This gives me the chance to review any recent scenes and make sure they fit in with the overall story.

I also make notes of any spots were scenes or dialogue need to be added. Dialogue is so difficult for me, I usually leave it for days when I have the most time to write. 

3. Write away!

Once I finish reading, I go back to those missing scenes and find a starting place. I work on as many scenes as I need or event want to. Sometimes it’s just adding a quick conversation between characters, and other times it involves more story work.

I usually stay in this writing mode until I finish for the day. I avoid reviewing or editing anything I’ve written until my next writing day. Coming back with a fresh perspective, a day or two later makes for better writing.

And… that’s it! That’s my writing routine. Do you have a specific routine that helps you accomplish your writing goals?

– Aubrey Alene


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