My Updated Writing Routine
After nearly 18 months I’m finally writing my next novel. I’ve spent the last few months editing a previously written novel from 2020, but in March I began to write my next. But with a new novel comes an updated writing routine.
In 2020, I wrote two novels in my parent’s house whilst on lockdown. Now I’m writing in my London flat for the first time and my routine has definitely changed.
How I plan my novels
I never used to be a planner, I was much more of a pantster – the name for the type of writer that doesn’t plan in advance. Before I get to writing I now need to have a chapter breakdown of every scene, in order of writing.
Another old habit I’ve killed was writing random chapters and connecting them later. Now if I want to write a specific chapter, I have to write all the others first. The reason I’ve changed is so that I don’t lose momentum, or the plot – literally!
Once I have my chapter breakdown, I print it out and basically carry it with me wherever I go. Genuinely, wherever I go, the breakdown is always in my bag. This is partly so I can write anywhere – the office, trains, my parents, my flat etc – but also to inspire me to write. It sounds incredibly arrogant, but since I like my idea if I read the synopsis or chapter breakdown it makes me want to write it. It’s a great way of getting over my procrastination.
How I write my novels
Then I finally get to writing.
After refreshing my memory with the chapter breakdown – checking character names, features, upcoming storylines etc – I get to writing. Once I get the 2-3k words down I find it a lot easier to pick up and put down writing my novel. A blank page is the absolute worst when it comes to writing.
The biggest thing that hasn’t changed, is my time. I still only write at weekends, as I struggle to write after working all day. With that in mind, I still aim to write 10k words a weekend – or 5k a day if I’m busy on one of them. Having this aim and knowing that my time is limited is a great motivator for getting words on the page.
The other thing that really helps with writing is not editing. That sounds ridiculous, but I don’t go over my work and edit as I go, as I’ll get distracted by a scene and re-write it but then that means re-writing the following chapter or the chapter before etc. It pulls you away from completing the book, and that’s the most important bit for me. I finish the book and then I edit like crazy, but never before.
My desk and necessities
Since I’m writing in my London flat for the first time, my set-up has slightly changed. But it’s pretty standard. I use the same desk that I work at so it’s fully set up with a separate screen and mouse which is really good for comfort. Ever since getting the set-up I can no longer write whilst sitting on the sofa as it’s not comfortable anymore.
When I’m writing, I always have a cup of coffee or a cold beverage and a snack. My current snack of choice is boxes of Co-op Millionaire Bites. Not just bites, boxes. I need sustenance.
Whilst writing I typically wear headphones – even though I live alone, it’s just a habit from work – and listen to a bespoke Spotify playlist specific to the book. My latest is live on Spotify now – to be shared at a later date – currently, the playlist is full-on Christmas songs as the book is set during the Christmas holiday. I can write whilst I listen to songs with lyrics, but only if it’s on a low volume.
And finally, my only other necessity in my updated writing routine is complete privacy and no interruptions. Pretty easy when you’re living alone; except when the postman interrupts me anyway.
But that is it for my updated writing routine. Have a plan, snacks, no interruptions and a goal for the weekend. By the end of this latest routine, hopefully, I’ll have a finished novel by July. We’ll see. More to follow…