How to use other writers routines as inspiration for your own

Writing is a solitary process. Unfortunately, this means that when we struggle we do not always have someone we can talk to about it. One way of feeling less alone is to look at published authors and their difficulties with the writing process. So, let’s look at how to find other writers routines as inspiration for your own.

I have included some authors as examples. But I have also suggested how to research authors for yourself. I will never be able to include every single writing difficulty that could exist and match it with an author. Even if I tried I would miss something.

other writers routines as inspiration
Look for ideas in how other writers set up their day.

Look for inspiration not condemnation

The purpose of this is to make you feel inspired that there is someone else out there that felt the same way you did. That is trying to balance a day job to feed their family and write in the gaps in their day.

Do not be discouraged by other writers that are further along in their writing journey. This is not the time to be critical of yourself. We are all travelling our own journey with our writing and there is space for everyone.

I did a post where I looked at the writing career of James Joyce. We are often only shown a snapshot of other writer’s lives. I wanted to put Joyce’s writing into context by comparing it to modern, contemporary writers.

Two brief points to note are that Joyce did not earn a living from the sale of his books. He either had a job or was supported by a patron.

Shakespeare wrote during a plague.

Did anybody else get fed up with this being constantly shared around social media at the start of 2020?

Speaking for my own situation Shakespeare was not also trying to transition to teaching through email- we had not gotten our video classes set up yet. And he was not also trying to navigate the instructions his children’s teachers had sent home.

Shakespeare had an established writing routine. He was also not battling the constant ever-present allure of social media and the various streaming services.

Although, one of the advantages of not being exposed to other people’s thoughts on social media is that you are not hearing their worries and anxieties.

Mur Lafferty’s and Matt Wallace’s Ditch Diggers podcast have an episode where they talk about the difficulty of being creative during quarantine.

Look at several writer’s routines for inspiration

Looking at other people’s writing routines can be helpful for ideas. Morning writing works really well for some people. I have not yet managed to do it. It might happen when my children are older, it might not. But I am not going to worry too much about it.

Neil Gaiman started as a late-night writer when he would only start writing when his kids were in bed. He has admitted that as he gets older he is moving to become an afternoon writer.

Maya Angelou started her writing at 7 am and would write until 2 pm.

Don’t think you’re doing writing ‘wrong’ if you can’t copy Stephen king’s routine for example. His children have left home. He doesn’t have to do school drop off.

Find writers at the same season of life that you are currently at.

Raymond Carver used to write at the laundromat because there was no quiet spot in his house when his children were young. Barbara Kingsolver is another writer that has spoken about balancing parenting and writing. She often gets up at 4 am to write and get everything down on the page.

Look for what will help you. Do not use it to be critical of your writing routine so far.

Beware of comparisonitis when you are looking at other writers routines as inspiration for your own

Some writers can produce books at a very fast rate. But none of them did this with their first book. They had to develop their series first. Once they have their world figured out everything speeds up

It’s getting easier to find writers that talk about their process. The reason I know about the writers producing fast is that they talked about it on 6 figure author podcast.

Listen to writers chat about the process required to start and finish a book in a month.

Disregard any unhelpful advice

This is any advice that doesn’t work for you. E.g. Writing at the laundromat doesn’t work for me because I don’t use a laundromat. But I can tweak it to write when my children are doing their various activities.

Adopt a growth mindset when deciding on your writing routine

A lot has changed for writers in the last 50 years. There will be more changes in the next 50 too. A growth mindset is how we can stay flexible and ready to adapt to these as yet unknown changes.

Learning from other writers requires a growth mindset. An understanding that how we have always done things is the only way to do it. As we are all human we will develop and change as we go through life. So the writing that was needed to get praise when we were 9 is not the way we need to write at 15. It needs to change again at the college level. Depending on what you study in college will influence how you write. Academic writing for literature is different from academic writing for biology.

I am still developing my ‘blog voice’ even though I am used to writing fiction. If I adopt a growth mindset I can look at how other blogs are written and see which ones I enjoy reading as a guide for how I want my blog to sound. 

If I stay in a fixed, static mindset then I ignore what other blogs are doing and presume that the way I write is fine. 

Using growth mindset as part of the writing process

Another place where writers benefit from a growth mindset is when we are writing the first draft. A fixed mindset would accept the draft as concrete evidence of how the finished book will turn out. A fixed mindset would give up because of the hard work involved in taking the first draft to a polished book. 

If you were to use a growth mindset when you are looking at the first draft of your work you would ask ‘how can this be improved?’

Work with what you currently have. Writing can be a very cheap hobby. You could use your toddler’s leftover crayons and the back of a receipt – as well as the front of it because the crayon will definitely be more obvious than the till ink.

Look for what is possible right now with what you have around you. When you change your mindset you change your thinking to why would I not write?

Writing is a skill that can be learned

This is something that a lot of people struggle with. They judge their writing and presume that they will always be that way. But you can always improve your writing no matter what level you are at. If you are good at writing fiction, you could still be a poor academic writer. 

Focus on gratitude

Self-doubt can cause the growth mindset to skew towards being highly critical of your efforts. My inner critic has always been very active and is definitely a reason why I have not pushed myself before to finish writing a full-length novel. One of the ways to combat the inner critic is to focus on being grateful. You can apply this to any area of your life but I am going to list 3 phrases that I repeat to myself when my inner critic is especially loud.

I am grateful to be able to do writing that I love and enjoy.

I am grateful that I have options available to me when I want to write e.g. typing on a laptop, pen, and paper.

I am grateful that my brain will always give me something to write about, even if it is just in my journal.

Identify your obstacles to your writing

Ideally, you would sit down to do this when you are well-rested and calm. Then you will be able to take an objective look at what makes it difficult to sit down regularly and write. Or maybe figuring out what to write is your obstacle. It could even be writing about one idea long enough for it to become a short story or novel.

Knowing your obstacles will help you figure out which author you identify with. This will help you feel less alone in your struggles. But it will also show you that it can be done. 

Action Plan for using other writers routines as inspiration for your writing routine

Look at the books you have on your shelf or e-reader.

Choose one that you particularly enjoy and look up the author on the internet.

Is there any part of their life that you can relate to? Particularly when they were just starting to write. 

Check social media. Many authors share their writing routine on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. A lot of authors such as Chuck Wendig, John Scalzi, and Joanna Penn write blogs that are worth reading.

Then get back to writing knowing that you are not alone in your struggles.

More reading on Building a Writing Routine

Building a consistent writing habit for beginners. Start your writing today.

The comprehensive guide to finding time to write

12 quotes to inspire you to write

Writing during the summer

How to build your writing routine in 5 days

How to find the time to write: 4 steps to help you write more often

Setting up your productive and inspiring writing space