I’m often asked, “What’s your writing routine?” The answer often surprises people: I don’t have one.
Oh, I tried to for years. I would come up with a big plan for writing a certain amount of words at a particular time and way each day. But life happened. Then I’d feel like a failure because I didn’t stick to my very specific plan.
What I’ve learned to have instead of a writing routine is a writing rhythm. What’s the difference? A routine focuses on specific details, a rhythm is about an overall direction. A routine is about rules, a rhythm is about grace. A routine is about the how, a rhythm is about a deeper purpose—the why. A routine is about what I do, a rhythm is about who I’m becoming.
My writing rhythm looks like leaving space in my morning for creative work. But there’s not a specific amount of time I have to write, word count I need to hit, or any other succeed/fail rules. My role is to show up and see what happens. And the goal is simply progress. Sometimes my morning gets thrown off by something unexpected so I end up writing at a totally different time. Or some days not at all. And that’s okay.
To create rhythms in your life, first think of what you value. It might be health, faith, relationships, or something else. Then ask, “What’s one small way I can make more room for this in my life?” Try what comes to mind. If it works, repeat it. If it doesn’t, throw it out and try something new. And always, adapt, adapt, adapt. What matters is that it works for you.
I also created a short video about this for you…
Some people thrive on routines and find them comforting. If that’s you, carry on. But if it’s not, then know there’s a different way. And for even the most routine-loving among us, the constant change in our world right now may mean we need ways to adapt.
You are human, not a machine. You’re made for rhythms, not just routines.
Cheering You On,
This week on the More than Small Talk podcast we’re sharing our words for the year. Join us for a conversation about moving forward, faithfulness, and embracing the unknown.
Is writing one of your dreams for 2021? Then my online writing course Be a Kick-Butt Writer by Friday: Beat the 7 Mistakes Writers Make so You Can Reach People and Your Creative Potential is for you (and it’s on sale)!
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