Do you have a busy life? Full time job? Kids to care for? It doesn’t matter. You can still find time to write every day. And though it’s not necessary for every writer, it is for me. I write at least a few paragraphs a day. On good days I’ll write thousands of words, but thost days are rare and few. It’s the daily work that keeps me productive.
Barbara Kingslover on her daily habit
“I tend to wake up very early. Too early. Four o’clock is standard. My morning begins with trying not to get up before the sun rises. But when I do, it’s because my head is too full of words, and I just need to get to my desk and start dumping them into a file. I always wake with sentences pouring into my head. So getting to my desk every day feels like a long emergency. It’s a funny thing: people often ask how I discipline myself to write. I can’t begin to understand the question. For me, the discipline is turning off the computer and leaving my desk to do something else.”
Khaled Hosseini on his daily writing routine
“I get up and work out. Get home in time to get the kids off to school (on my days—my wife and I trade off), eat, read the paper, front page first, check all news on Afghanistan. Flip to sports page, check for any San Francisco 49ers news. Then I write, typically from about 8:30 to 2 p.m., at which time I go to pick up my kids from school.”
Stephen King on his daily writing routine
“Like your bedroom, your writing room should be private, a place where you go to dream. Your schedule — in at about the same time every day, out when your thousand words are on paper or disk — exists in order to habituate yourself, to make yourself ready to dream just as you make yourself ready to sleep by going to bed at roughly the same time each night and following the same ritual as you go.
In both writing and sleeping, we learn to be physically still at the same time we are encouraging our minds to unlock from the humdrum rational thinking of our daytime lives. And as your mind and body grow accustomed to a certain amount of sleep each night — six hours, seven, maybe the recommended eight — so can you train your waking mind to sleep creatively and work out the vividly imagined waking dreams which are successful works of fiction.
The space can be humble … and it really needs only one thing: A door you are willing to shut. The closed door is your way of telling the world that you mean business. . . .”
From On Writing by Stephen King
As a non-professional writer I don’t have hours and hours to devote to writing daily, but I find that when I wake up at 4 and prepare for my daily routine of working out and heading into the office for the day job, I can squeeze in 30 minutes of writing time between 4:30-5 AM. It’s not much time, but it’s enough to move me into or out of a scene. If I can add words during lunch, an afternoon break, or an evening writing session I feel incredibly lucky. But that 30 minutes is the lifeblood of my writing career.