Writers: What Does Your Daily Routine Look Like?
September 22, 2022 5:39 AM   Subscribe

What is your writing routine? I'm trying to figure out how to implement some serious writing in my days and learning of others' routines would be helpful. I would love to know:

1. Why you are writing (for fun, for $$, therapy, etc.)
2. What are you writing (novels, memoirs, articles, blog content, etc.)?
3. How would you succinctly describe your current life situation regarding writing (SAHM working here and there on something, freelance writer, established writer making the big bucks, novelist, blogger, etc.)?
4. What does your day look like in relation to fitting writing time in? (routines: waking up early, writing for half an hour before getting ready for work, Getting to the office, grabbing a coffee, stretching before tackling today's project, etc.)
5. Do you feel you are successful with your approach? If not, what could/should you be doing differently or better?
6. Discipline and motivation hacks: do you have any? Things to get you started and keep you going?

7. And really - any insights or a peek into your writing routines and motivations.
posted by Sassyfras to Writing & Language (13 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I used to write a lot when I commuted on the L. Later, I started writing in the morning before work for about an hour. I had to get up ungodly early in order to do this, but it worked for me (I have a lot more energy in the morning). I still write after work/before bed most days, though.
posted by marimeko at 6:25 AM on September 22 [1 favorite]

1. Ambition and it was time. I wouldn't mind being paid but mostly I would like what I'm working on to be out in the world.

2. I have completed the first draft (and woe unto me does it need work) of the first novel of a fantasy trilogy; the first book is a YA reverse-portal and is currently about 96,000 words. The trilogy is focused on a Fairy ruling family and examines issues around colonization/decolonization.

3. I have a 50-60 hr/week job managing two martial arts academies which pays a decent salary although my husband's salary is 4/3 of mine. I have two kids, pre-teen and teen, and I just finished a degree program. I was a magazine/digital editor for 15 years, and I've made some money freelancing but it's always non fiction.

4. Because my academies' operational hours are 2pm-10pm, plus Saturdays, and my hours are kind of 10:30 or 11-whenever (I can start as late as noon a few times a week, but I'm "on call" until 10) my routine is - work out at 6 am, shower and pack lunches and do breakfast, drop my kids off at school, go write for an hour, then go to work. I get up at 6 am most Sundays (and use the Saturdays no one calls in sick) and write until eleven or noon which is when the kids are ready to go do family things. The short bursts are good for keeping things going but it's the longer periods when I find really good writing happens.

I also book 1-2 writing weekends a year, usually one at a campground with an electrical hookup and one at an Air BnB. I need those deep dives to solve Big Worldbuilding and Plot problems. I write at night when I'm at certain stages but often my brain is dead by then.

5. Yes. The gamechanger for me though was creating a writing group with some of my writer friends and meeting once a month. That support and accountability took me from "I'll write fragments now and then" to "I really want to finish this." I expect to be pitching this book in the spring (being older and more financially stable, I am very glad to take the time to really make it what I want before I start sending it off.)

6. Besides the writers' group deadline, habit is what gets me through just about everything. Taking some english courses also sparked my brain and gave me the "I'll procrastinate on my essay by writing my book" energy I needed in my life LOL. :) And finally my retreats cost me time and money and require my family's commitment to me being away, so I rarely waste an hour of them -- I do work out, watch some Netflix and take baths but the rest of the time is heads' down either writing, sketching, or pondering.

I also have a soundtrack for my book and when I put my headphones on (I write in the living room unfortunately/fortunately) it pops me right back into my Toronto/fae book-world.
posted by warriorqueen at 6:43 AM on September 22 [1 favorite]

I’m a freelance writer in media, so I write scripts. I don’t write every day, only when I have a specific project.

When I have a writing gig I ignore it and feel terrible for 80% of the allotted time.

During my “avoidant phase”, I watch about 5-20 hours of similar shows to get into the groove and figure out what pitfalls the genre has that I’d like to avoid, what I love about the genre that I’d like to lean into, and what the voice and pace are like.

I also ask for a few sample scripts from the same project if available, to see how they format and what tone and level of specificity they expect in the screen directions.

Then I talk my project through with a specific friend who is also a media artist and we have a reciprocal sounding board relationship. She’s really creative and has a different lens than me (she’s more big-picture and bold and fearless, I’m more analytical and detail oriented and neurotic) so we complement each other’s style well and our unofficial talk-through-it partnership has been really beneficial to both our careers. “Find a pal to bounce ideas with” is my #1 piece of advice to other writers.

During our convos (whether the project is mine or hers), she pitches big ideas and I drill down into why that’s not quite right but this tweak would work instead. I take notes to create a clear outline and we keep talking until all major problems feel solved. This talk lasts between 20 minutes and three hours and we do it on the phone, very casually, with lots of digressions into regular convo or one of us will be doing errands. The informality helps make the project feel much more fun and less intimidating.

Then I drink a lot of coffee and pound out a draft or outline in one sitting, the day before it’s due. Usually my projects are 2-20 pages long so this is physically doable. Then I feel amazing and have a treat.

The next day I read parts of it to her or my partner to hear it out loud so I can punch up the jokes. I format and edit, which is easy for me since it’s just cleaning up and improving something that already exists.

Then I hit submit and have a nap
posted by nouvelle-personne at 6:45 AM on September 22 [4 favorites]

Sorry I didn't answer all of your question --
I'm writing for fun (I'm working on my first novel. It's fiction/a coming of age story). I'm writing less right now because I'm in the middle of a move and there's a lot going on, but I'm still writing every day. I am not in a writing profession, but have always written (poetry in particular, but I had a blog for many years that was partly fictionalized essays/first person accounts/humor). Writing in the early morning was working really well for me, though it meant I'd completely shifted my waking hours and I was falling asleep at 7:30pm sometimes. I think I do better when I have a lot going on and wonder if I could write at all if I didn't have to squeeze it in, as I do. Listening to different playlists I've created for my characters really motivates me and helps me focus on the scene I'm working on. I listen to a lot of soundtracks for this purpose. I was reading a lot more fiction for a while, too. I'm most inspired by other people's writing. And sometimes when I'm walking, I try to envision a scene I'm working on, or put myself in my character's shoes.
posted by marimeko at 6:49 AM on September 22 [1 favorite]

Oh and a bit more logistical info:

- I don’t have a specific time of day for writing but it’s somewhat easier for me in the morning even though I’m not a morning person. I was a 9pm to 2am writer before I had kids. Now I sometimes get up at 5am and write til the kids wake up around 8am (gross but it works)

- I drink about 3 coffees and take a vitamin B12 tablet on writing days

- I mostly write sitting sideways on the couch with my legs criss crossed and the laptop on my lap

- I wear huge earmuffs (the kind meant for construction or a shooting range) when I write. Sounds distract me and I’ve trained myself to focus best when my ears are plugged

- I close all computer windows and silence my phone and hide it from my eyeline (under a couch cushion usually)

- I usually write my first draft in google docs. But if I feel really intimidated I write it in an email or in Written Kitten- a ridiculous site that gives you a kitten photo every 200 words - because the smaller window feels more casual and low stakes and not as scary as a blank page. My final projects are in Final Draft which I despise so I never compose in FD because the finicky formatting disallows a flow state.

- When writing the first draft, I call it an “ugly draft” and I don’t correct spelling. Sometimes I use a timer and try to do a “20 minute ugly draft”.

- I am a perfectionist so it can be hard to get something on the page when I’m unsure. But if I can make myself write SOMETHING I find it easy to improve and correct. My big struggle is getting SOMETHING down since I’m so resistant to uncertainty and ugliness.

- If I’m unsure I write SOMETHING SOMETHING and then move on to the next part. It’s way easier to come back and fix broken patches later and allows me to enter a flow state if I try really hard to keep flowing.

- Some details like naming characters feel very important to me so I try to do that at the outline stage (even if it changes later).

- I eventually enter a flow state (can be very difficult to enter! But sublime when it happens) and then nothing else exists for a couple hours. When I finally emerge I am usually ravenous and full of pee

- If anyone interrupts my flow state I feel extremely irritable. I warn my people so they know not to intrude.

posted by nouvelle-personne at 7:09 AM on September 22 [2 favorites]

1. I write because there are stories in my head I want to tell, and also for money (though I don't want it to be my full-time job.)

2. Cosy historical fantasy romance, mostly 1920s, but by the end of the year I'll have things out between 1870 and 1935.

3. I have a day job as a research librarian that I love (I also love a steady income and health insurance). Since 2018, I've been writing (and self-publishing) 4 novels a year (usually around 90k words), plus a couple of other things (novellas, extras, etc.) I blog on the authorial blog, and sometimes also on a witchcraft-focused personal site. (Though that's been getting a lot less of my time and writing the past few years.) Also some random bits of fanfic, long posts for other personal online spaces about random topics, etc.

4. I am a "write last thing at night" person, and also a "write every day person" and am very "these things work for me, and they don't work for lots of people, do what works for you" person.

I am not my best brain in the morning (and the sequence of necessary meds, food timing, and needing to be at work does not give me a lot of focused time to write.) I try to look at what I intend to work on that night before I start the day, so I can think about it.

In the evening, I have dinner, usually do something else for an hour or two (writing-related admin, other projects, idly reading online stuff). At 8:30, I do some notes on the day. At 9, I put in earbuds, start a writing-related playlist, and start staring at the writing window for a bit. A comfortably solid day for me right now is 2K words, which takes me about 2-3ish hours, depending on how much spot research I need to do and how the words are going.

I very occasionally write over lunch, if I've got a scene that desperately wants out of my head, but maybe once every six weeks.

I can't do substantive editing on a workday, so I keep Sundays (and about half my Saturdays) for that, and don't schedule anything else, so I can get a really solid 3-5 hour block to focus. I also use it for a bunch of writing-related admin (getting notes in my wiki, things around maintaining a mailing list, formatting, writing marketing copy, etc.)

5. I am really happy with my current approach. My word count went up when I stopped commuting for pandemic reasons, and it's stayed up now I'm back in the office some days. I'm really happy with both the writing progress and generally the quality of my writing (and I feel like I've levelled up substantially each year, which is satisfying.)

It took me a while to figure out an editing rhythm that works for me, and I do occasionally burn vacation days to make a three or four day weekend (because it's so much easier to load the book in detailed editing into my brain, work on it in a couple of large chunks, rather than split it across multiple weekends.)

6. The thing that made the biggest difference in writing process for me was Becca Syme's Better Faster Academy (Clifton Strengths based, but focused on writing) and the surrounding community. It's helped me troubleshoot specific issues in my writing process very efficiently, and to feel much more okay with "I do things on a weird schedule but it works for me." (Feel free to MeMail, glad to discuss further with anyone curious.)

Mostly, I am internally inclined to be a person who does well doing things every day, so long as I do them. If I'm having an off day (but not super sick - I have chronic stuff where "not great" is reasonably common and I have learned to work with that), I aim for minimal count, and I keep a list of things that don't require a lot of thought that I can still produce words with. Because I've learned that keeping the word flow going helps me a lot, even if they're not novel words.

I use 4theWords, a writing gamification site, because I do find it motivating (and often push myself to do one more small monster to do another 150 words, or "Ok, I really can finish this chapter." in ways that are helpful. (For anyone interested, they do a free month for NaNoWriMo in November, keep an eye out.)
posted by jenettsilver at 8:00 AM on September 22 [2 favorites]

1. Why - because the book I wished I could learn from doesn't exist and because there are very few voices like my own in my industry so I figured, welp, I guess I'll write the book. (Other writing is for fun, but also because I'm at an age where I think seeing my name in print feels earned and appropriate -- at the level of, "What have I done with my life?")

2. What - my main push right now is the nonfiction book. I also have short stories that pop up unbidden that I capture on the spot, then refine over time. For fun and when my "mood" isn't right for the nonfiction, I'm in the middle of writing two screenplays.

3. Current situation - Single mom 100% of the time to two teens (and this year is especially "admin-heavy" as both go through school searches). I have two complementary part time jobs (same industry). For one I make my hours and work as much as I can. For the other (teaching adult ed), it's in predictable 6-week stints throughout the year, with breaks. I get child support, which really helps as I'm in an expensive area. Time-wise I'm spread thin, but I don't think it's an accident that this is the year the nonfiction book finally took form. The kids are self sufficient in many ways, and I shed a relationship prior to the pandemic that took a lot of mental and emotional energy without a lot of ROI. I also got real about emotional labor and trimmed most of my volunteer time in places where there were plenty of white men not contributing. Also the pandemic stirred up a lot of primal narratives in me, which had the field effect of additional energy for the nonfiction once I had solo time back post-pandemic.

4. My day - if any ideas come to me at night or early am, I capture them from bed. But I'm up around 6am, and the morning is mostly getting my kids out the door and making sure we're all on the same page about weekly schedules, needs, etc. Some mornings I'll walk ~60 min immediately after. Then I'm at my desk. If I have work-work, I work. If not, I write from about 9am-noon or 1pm, followed by a short nap, 10-20 min tops. I don't drink any caffeine. Then I usually eat lunch during a tv show or movie (aka "research" lol) but I also do laundry then and sort out dinner needs and prep. I take a look at the next few days and see if there's anything critical I need to do. If not, I'll work for another two hours, though it might not be writing, it could be work proper, life admin.

5. Is my approach successful? I guess? I mean, the nonfiction book is being printed now, but I chose to self-publish rather than spend time going the publisher route and because I have a small, built-in audience. My other writing (the fun stuff) definitely rejuvenates me more, but it falls last behind work, kids, life, health, etc. That said, I am probably 75% done with the first screenplay, and 50% done with the second, and they are both plotted out to the point where I can pick up and write. None of this was possible during the pandemic itself, however. At that point I was still working the two jobs and trying to support my kids through awful schooling realities. It's only now that the kids are physically in school that I have enough sustained mental space for writing more coherently.

What could/should you be doing differently or better? I actually think I need more breaks to be happy. I'm very good at being productive, almost obsessionally, but I can get exhausted and cranky. Earlier this year I decided that one of my to-dos each day is to just look at clouds for about five minutes. I've really gotten into Attention Restoration Theory.

6. Hacks? I enjoy writing, so having two genres going at the same time helps me. If my energy flags with one genre, shifting to the other re-energizes me without the total (life) word count suffering. Another hack is reading. It helps keep my brain loose, but the danger is I find a page turner that I sink into and don't come up from. I did spend one of my pandemic stimulus amounts on improved desks for me and my kids, so my workspace is much more inviting. I'm also very much a plotter/outliner. I can't imagine ever pantsing any writing again. I think this skill arose more out of time impoverishment than any skill I learned in school, but for me it is absolutely essential to know where I plan to end up so I can write effectively and efficiently.
posted by cocoagirl at 8:06 AM on September 22 [2 favorites]

I am writing my doctoral dissertation. This is a very long and formal paper describing my original research. I work doing other things 35-50+ hours a week. My schedule always varies, and I work a lot of nights. Lately, mornings are best - waking normally and writing ~8:30-1:30 on days when work is light.

The thing I know is that motivation means nothing for me- discipline is everything. Much of the time I feel I have neither! What really has me going this year is Caveday! They provide facilitated Zoom-based productivity/focus groups. I have no affiliation, and highly recommend them. My advisor told me to write everyday and she was right- but it would not be possible for me without the Caveday community.
posted by maya at 9:04 AM on September 22 [1 favorite]

I work in media/show biz and I write for money. I’ve been a newspaper reporter, a writer of how-to books and a paid blogger and screen-writer.
When I land the assignment, I do the necessary research, organize my notes in Google folders, read up on the topic.
Then, I sit down at my desk, turn on the computer, open the program (Final Draft, Word, etc.) and start to write.
I write until the dog needs a walk, or lunchtime, or household chores intervene.
I do other stuff for n hour or so, and then I go back to writing. I stop at 5.
Next day, same thing. I don’t rewrite or revise until the first draft is done.
I don’t wait for inspiration or being in the mood. Even if my day’s output isn’t good, I did it. I can rewrite later.
posted by Ideefixe at 11:28 AM on September 22 [1 favorite]

I've written three novels of about 100k words each over the past 20 years, none of which are anywhere close to published. Two are sorta paranormal romance, the third science fiction. I work in tech and don't really have a time and place to write at home that is separate from everyone else in the house (spouse and two adult children).

An amazing amount of those three books were written during my lunch break at work, with maybe 2-3 hours on Saturday and Sunday mornings. I've written on all sort of devices...PalmPilots with infrared keyboards, iPhones and iPads with Bluetooth keyboards, Microsoft Surfaces. I value not only physical portability of devices but of file formats and have done most of my writing in plain text-compatible formats, so I've used any number of text editors, and even word processors now and then.

I'm coming off a three year hiatus...not sure if I should call it a "block" or not, because I had lots of ideas, but after totally failing to find an agent for my third book, I couldn't face doing yet another rewrite, and for a while despaired of anyone being interesting publishing anything of mine, wondering the whole process was worthwhile anymore. Problem is, I can't not write. If I'm not putting things down "on paper," so to speak, it's happening in my head anyway. So even if I have no hope of getting a wider audience than a few friends and family, I've decided I will still write.

Right now I'm working on a screenplay, mainly because I've long wanted to write a screenplay. I'm using Final Draft...fortunately, even though the file format isn't open, I can work on a Mac, a Windows machine, an iPad or an iPhone if I need to. Now I'm at least doing something with the screenplay just about every day, and I feel much better.
posted by lhauser at 12:24 PM on September 22 [1 favorite]

I'll be honest, I struggle with a daily writing routine. I work 7.30-5.30 (and typically have meetings in the lunch hour), and have evening commitments three nights a week that take me until 8.30 or 9. I've tried early morning stints but that cut too hard into my sleep. I do tend to get more done on weekends, which are my own. Three or four hours per weekend day, using the pomodoro technique of 25/5. I also find external deadlines helpful, like nanowrimo. I wrote one novel that way and am working on a second. A smattering of short stories as well.
posted by basalganglia at 12:53 AM on September 23 [1 favorite]

My schedule is not my own, so while I move through the various responsibilities in my day, every time I don't have anything else going on I check if there is enough time and brain power for me to return to my writing.

The only time I use caffeine is when a furor scribendi hits, so that a cup of instant coffee makes my brain alert enough to do a big push and put some solid writing time in. During a writing binge I get up frequently - say every twenty minutes - because it prevents fatigue and is good for my body, but also changes the pace from relentless typing to thinking about the work without remaining within the narrative flow. I might continue thinking about how I am going to phrase what I am writing next when I get up, but more often I think about what I will be saying two or more paragraphs later.

Intense writing is a calorie burning activity, so snacks and meals are important, as are bathroom breaks and stretches and rapidly walking to the other end of the house or office and back without any particular reason other than nervous energy. However it is also important not to get exposed to words that are not related to the story, so internet research or talking to my housemates and coworkers or checking e-mails are all bad ideas. It's too easy to lose the focus on the writing because something unrelated takes some of my attention. As writing requires words, visual distractions are less of a distraction issue than talking about some other subject, or reading unrelated writing.

I find it helps to plan meals ahead of time so that when I leap up and stride to the kitchen and realise I am hungry, my eyes fall on the slow cooker that has quietly been bubbling away, and nourishment only requires a bowl and two spoons, without my needing to put the left overs away yet.

While taking my breaks my eyes are usually not fully in focus as I surge down to the kitchen, put the kettle on and do some stretches while I wait for it to boil. I wear glasses; my vision is still pulled back into close range so that I can see them peripherally, kind of like blinkers - I'm not focusing on anything long range for more than a few instants, in order to retain focus on my mind's eye. If my eyes get tired I close them, not switch to distant vision.

I try to leave my writing unread and un-edited at the end of each session so I can begin the next session by reading and editing. Errors and confusion are my friend, because as I correct the spelling of "aparrently" and change the word "of" to "for", I get into the material enough to edit more complex phrasing and tone, rewriting passages for clarity and making them more succinct. By the time I am at the end of yesterday's writing session I can remember what I am doing and where I was going, and I have recovered my narrative voice.

During small scraps of time during the day, I often create background for with the writing, coming up with details and backstory that will not make it into the writing. And example of this might be to figure out what clothing a primary character would be wearing and the routines behind it as to when he dresses, where it is stored, what he wears at different times, and the laundry methods. I might put some thought into a character's education and their attitude to their education. Or I might figure out what animals are found in a marsh where my characters are cutting reeds.

This serves two purposes, one is that it brings images to the fore that might later help build a consistent and vivid setting, and the other is that it keeps the story in my mind on the front burner so that when I get to actually work on it, it is easy to immerse myself again.

I can't write while I am on the bus, but I can think about marsh animals. While I am on my way to an appointment I might come to the conclusion that most of the huntable wildlife would make themselves scarce while my characters are cutting reeds, but other animals that could not be hunted would not. If I have six minutes on my computer instead of on the bus I don't have to just rely on my imagination, I can type "tidal marsh" and do an image search which will bring up images of real marshes.

Later when I write the scene my character could end up working with their mouth held closed because of the clouds of shad flies, and standing one foot on the long ago remains of a duck's nest, with their legs and feet covered in pond scum that had stuck to them when they waded. The details are available because of the thinking, or note taking time I took when I couldn't do a real writing session.

Bed time is optional - the rule of thumb is that I don't have to go to bed until staying up would result in getting sick. Tasks that can be rescheduled are also optional. The meat that will go bad if it doesn't get cooked will get tossed into a pan and thrown into the oven, but the dishes can sit. The phone call that has to be done during business hours gets done before four, but the mail that needs to be answered can be done at three AM. Scheduling is by priority. Tasks that can be done mechanically while staying immersed can work too. Getting up and sweeping is the kind of thing that gives my brain a rest from the intense creative work, while not causing me to lose so much focus that I can't get back into it. Emotional labour is the worst and to be avoided at all costs.

Research that exposes me to words and thus distractions is often a good way to end a session when I am starting to flag from fatigue. When I can't sustain the writing pace and start closing my eyes a lot, it is time to switch to looking stuff up, alternating with the kind of self maintenance that requires some attention such as double checking I took my meds, and figuring out what needs to be done before the end of the day. At the end of the session I will retreat from the writing slowly, varying between looking for archaeological research papers on marsh dwellers, and making sure the meat got put away and what food groups I am missing from what I ate that day, and did I forget anything important, like those phone calls that should have been made before four PM.

There is a basic rule in writing, that if you are bored while you are writing it, your readers will be bored too. So if the writing is not flowing it often means that there is a structural problem. Frequently this is where the section either should be completely omitted or summed up in a much shorter form.

A lot of contemporary writing is heavily padded - Novels fifty years ago are often so short they would now get classed as novellas, and there are any number of non fiction books that repeat the same points over and over to enlarge the work from the the size of an article to the word count of a full book. With self publishing you can get away with novellas, because you aren't going through a big publishing house that requires you to produce a minimum of 90,000 words so that you meet their printing costs to marketing costs to acceptable cover price ratio. Often you do better to accept that your word count is going to be low rather than padding it. If you can't find a way to market a low word count, then you need to find additional material.

In the case of a novel this is the sub plot, or a sequel as the second half of the book. Nowadays padding with description is likely to bore your readers, as they want action and intensity, even if padding with description worked fine for Victorian novelists where the readers didn't want to run out of book to read due to a slower paced life. They were happy to read slow paced novels. But now a slow paced book will be competing for the attention of people who watch super-hero movies and don't mind things moving too fast to ever come into focus enough to show detail.

In the case of non-fiction you need more ideas to expand the scope. There is no other way to do it and still produce a decent bit of writing. You can only rephrase and reiterate your main points so often.

It is also important to know when to turn off your writing brain. Trying to write when you are too tired and too distracted will result in not being able to pick up any flow. It's often better to back off and come back when you are not tired or distracted or you will struggle to pick up the flow from the few lackluster phrases you manage to point out. And similarly trying to stay immersed by writing scraps and thinking of phrasing and doing research may only lead to feeling frustrated that you don't have an opportunity to actually sit down for a good writing session. If I notice that my feeling about my work is frustration and there is no prospect of getting back into it, it's a good idea to look at my schedule and see when I can next fit in a good session and schedule a writing session in a week or two when there won't be so much going on.
posted by Jane the Brown at 6:26 AM on September 23 [1 favorite]

Cool question! Reading other people's answers is extremely interesting.

1. Why you are writing (for fun, for $$, therapy, etc.)

For fun. I like spending time with my characters. It makes me happy.

2. What are you writing (novels, memoirs, articles, blog content, etc.)?

Novels. I have 3 projects on the go. Of these main projects I have various alternative versions (what they call AUs in the fanfiction world, or 'alternative universes'), where I experiment with different choices they might make or what happens if so-and-so dies in a car accident or what happens if so-and-so break up. I also have reams and reams of short plotless snippets featuring my characters, which don't add to my novel word-counts but do help me get to know my characters better. I've never finished a long piece of work. I came quite close to it with one of my novels but then realised it was ALL WRONG.

I also occasionally write short stories. I find these less comforting/therapeutic but every so often I'll have an idea that lends itself to a short story so I'll write it.

3. How would you succinctly describe your current life situation regarding writing (SAHM working here and there on something, freelance writer, established writer making the big bucks, novelist, blogger, etc.)?

Office-worker/caregiver who writes in spare time.

4. What does your day look like in relation to fitting writing time in? (routines: waking up early, writing for half an hour before getting ready for work, Getting to the office, grabbing a coffee, stretching before tackling today's project, etc.)

I'm quite undisciplined when it comes to writing. Because it's something I do to make me feel happy and relaxed, I will tend to write more when I am sad or stressed in my real life. I usually spend about an hour a day, last thing at night, either writing, or being like "I should write" and going onto Metafilter instead or something.

5. Do you feel you are successful with your approach? If not, what could/should you be doing differently or better?

I mean... yes and no. I've written 1000s of pages in my life, but never finished anything beyond a handful of short stories. So no by that token I'm not successful. Am I successful in cultivating a hobby that keeps me engaged and lifts my mood when I am down? Sure.

6. Discipline and motivation hacks: do you have any? Things to get you started and keep you going?

I'm horribly undisciplined. In terms of motivation the one thing I've learned - and something which is of mixed value to the rest of my life - is that when the writing bug bites, I just go for it. This means that if inspiration strikes me at work I will write at work; if at 3am I will write at 3am etc. When I go back to read my stuff that is the work that stands out to me as the best I am capable of.
posted by unicorn chaser at 10:13 AM on September 23 [1 favorite]

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