The late Maya Angelou kept a hotel room as her writing studio. She took all the art off the walls, and kept the phone unplugged. Arriving there at 6:30 a.m., she wrote until 12:30 or 1:30 p.m. with only a brief break. Every weekday.

Sound a little too intense to you? Yeah, me too. What about us writers whose weekdays are filled with client appointments or contract work, plus family responsibilities?

Writing routine

Rand Fishkin, co-founder of the marketing analytics company Moz, is busy all day running his company. He says he writes for his blog mostly between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m.

Parenting blogger Nicole Avery writes only on the weekend when her husband is home to look after the kids.

I don’t know about you, but neither of those practices sound like the best arrangement to me. I prefer sleeping from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. And my weekends are reserved for arts and crafts projects, household errands, and relaxing activities with family and friends.

What I need, and what I suspect most self-employed professionals who write need, is writing time that fits into what we think of as the work week. We need a weekly writing routine.

Rebecca Livermore, the author of Blogger’s Quick Guide to Writing Rituals and Routines, puts it this way: “Determine the time of day, or a specific day of the week that you will write, and your specific writing goal for that time.”

My current practice is to dedicate six hours per week to writing, in two chunks of three hours each. I do this every Thursday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., plus the same on one other weekday, usually Tuesday or Wednesday. No later than Monday morning of each week, I know exactly when my writing times will be, and what projects I’ll be working on for each one.

That’s my writing routine. What’s yours?

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