Write Into Your Routine
By Flose Boursiquot
I’m too busy
We all keep busy schedules but if you’re interested in making writing a part of your life full-time, there are small steps you can take no matter how busy you are. Whether it is creative writing, journalism, reported essays, or a college paper, you have to start by setting time to write daily.
According to the Power of Habit, once we form a habit, it is performed automatically — without thought. Before you get to that point though, you’ve got to get your brain use to performing that task in the way it allows you to place one foot in front of the other without misstep.
Here are some steps you can take
Keep an idea journal by your bed. If you’re artistic, create a vision board collage on the front and back cover so it becomes your own.
Set aside 10 minutes of free writing time daily. If that’s too long, start out with five or maybe even two minutes. Set a timer on your watch or phone. Don’t worry about grammar or fact checking, just let your mind flow. When starting out, I recommend setting your daily writing time in the morning when you wake up. Consider it your morning meditation.
Pick a day of the week that you’ll devote some serious writing time to. My day is Sunday, typically after yoga.
Make the advice your own
Are there times when my routine is thrown off? Yes. I manage a City Commission race while simultaneously promoting my first book of poetry, Close Your Eyes, Now Breathe, but I maintain at least one of the patterns above. Most recently, I have been relying on nightly journaling and free writing rather than my usual two hours on Sunday.
If the only time you write is for a college paper, free writing and the idea journal might work best. Frankly, I hate outlines, always have. The inside of my brain looks like my laptop desktop — a bunch of scattered ideas in chaos. If you’re that kind of person, you might also find outlines to be a pain so free write. If you’re writing a philosophy paper on Kant and Foucault, start out by jotting down all the things they have in common then go on to write out what those commonalities make you think of and so on. Once you’ve exhausted yourself, go back and read through what you’ve written and circle the points that make most sense and bam, you have something like an outline.
Writing IS for everyone
You might not love writing, you might not be the next Nikki Giovanni or Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie, but if you’re a human living in these times, you’ve got to write — even if it’s the 160 characters in a tweet or else algorithms will steal your writing jobs.