It’s no secret that I’m a morning person. So, I thought I’d share this morning routine for writers, and how it’s saving my mental, physical, and spiritual health.
Original photo by John-Mark Smith
Before we get into it, I want to be clear.
This post won’t make you a morning person. If you like to write until the wee hours of the morning as the moonlight streams into your window, then keep on keeping on, my friend.
But, if you are a morning writer, this may be helpful.
For a long time, I’ve been chasing balance. I want to make time and space for the things I want to do, and I want my intentions to guide me.
That can be hard when your first impulse in the morning is to pick up your phone and scroll through Instagram.Can a morning routine save a writer's spiritual, mental, and physical health? This one can. Click To Tweet
So, after some soul searching, I’ve realized a few things that I need to do every morning. And this list is designed to keep me on track with my WIP, and in good physical and emotional health.
That’s why I’m sharing this morning routine for writers, in hopes that these small changes that work for me will work for you.
The Morning Routine for Writers
001: Wake up. Don’t just get out of bed.
Waking up and getting out of bed aren’t necessarily the same thing.
Sure, you may be upright, but how’s your brain doing?
Even though I’m a morning person, I’ll be real: I don’t go straight from the bed to the keyboard to bash out some brilliant words.
Even though I feel well-rested when I get out of bed, I still have some cobwebs to shake out before I get to the real work. That’s what my morning walk is for.
Admittedly, Rosie, my dog, benefits from this too. But after I get out of bed and chug some water, I take Rosie on a short walk. For 15 to 20 minutes (depending on how many things there are to sniff) we make our way through the neighborhood.
After that, I feel alive and awake and like I can conquer the rest of my day.
Sure, coffee will wake you up too. But I save that for a little later.
Also, it’s important that I get some steps in.
Since quitting my day job, I have found myself to be more sedentary than ever, and it’s because writing is just sitting down at a desk all day.
So this walk not only wakes me up, it ensures that I’m not 100% on my ass all day.
002: Do some creative self-care.
The human brain is a nightmare factory that, when left to its own devices, will have you believing that you can’t write and that you’re a fraud.
That’s why you gotta make some time for creative self-care in your morning routine for writers.
After the walk, I’ll make a cup of coffee, and while that’s brewing, I’ll start the morning pages. Yes, the morning pages I’ve written about before.
I got out of the habit, but now I’m back in.
The thing about writing is that your nightmare factory brain has a ton of things swirling in it. So, if you don’t get those weird thoughts out on paper, it can be almost impossible to write good words when you’re sitting down to write.The thing about writing is that your nightmare factory brain has a ton of things swirling in it. So, if you don't get those weird thoughts out, it can be almost impossible to write. Click To Tweet
Morning pages clear my head and make it a lot easier for me to focus in on the tasks of the day.
Also, I find after I do morning pages, I’m much more clear about what needs to be done, and I don’t add unnecessary tasks to my to do list.
Basically, morning pages clear my head, make it easier to work on my novel, and keep my to do list intentional. It’s a win-win-win.
003: Start writing.
After I’ve finished my coffee and my morning pages, then it’s time to open up the ol’ novel project and get to writing.
Admittedly, I could write all day. Or rather, I could schedule the whole day as a writing session. But that doesn’t mean that I’d get much writing done.
I find that the best way for me to make progress is to do some writing sprints. I’ve talked about these before, and they are the best way to write fast.
They’re also the best way to get some words on the page and move forward in the novel you’re working on.
So, instead of just slowly meandering through the draft, I read my outline to figure out what I need to tackle in my two 20-minute sprints.
Then, I write until the timer goes off. I’ll take five minutes to get a drink or go to the bathroom, and then another five minutes to reassess the outline. Then, it’s time for draft two.
After that, I usually have a good chunk of words done, and that means I’ve done the writing I need to do for the day.
I can always come back and write more later, but there are other things that need tending to before that can be done.
004: Refill the well.
After writing, I feel accomplished. But sometimes, I also feel a little drained.
Even though the average non-writer thinks writing is a luxury where you just play all day, it’s not. You’re creating whole worlds out of nothing.
So, you have to do something to replenish that creative energy.
I like to take some time for a second cup of coffee and some reading.
I wrote about my syllabus for self-study for 2020, and this is the time of the day when I prioritize that. I take some time and do some reading, either on the book for the month or one of the books that I’ll be reading throughout the year.
This gives me some time where I’m not expending creative energy, and lets me slow down to be a little more contemplative.
I like to think of this as the equivalent of Lara Croft finding a medi-pack in the middle of the game.I like to think of refilling the well as the creative equivalent of Lara Croft finding a medi-pack in the middle of the game. Click To Tweet
My creative health bar goes back up, and I can continue to do the work I need to do.
005: Then, do the other stuff.
If only my work day ended there…alas.
This blog, my YouTube channel, and all the freelance stuff I do also needs to get done. and the rest of the day is dedicated to that.
This may seem like I’m taking a huge chunk of time to do things that don’t necessarily pay the bills. And maybe I am.
But I didn’t choose the writing life so I could monetize every hour of my day. And I would argue creativity is it’s own payoff.
But I do know that when I start my day off slowly and take a couple of hours to focus just on the creative part of my life, I feel infinitely better.
And it’s all a part of creating an intentional writer life. You have to make the choices that enable you to be a writer.It's all a part of creating an intentional writer life. You have to make the choices that enable you to be a writer. Click To Tweet
What Does Your Writing Morning Routine Look Like?
Do you start off writing first thing? Are you a coffee first sort of writer? Do you go for a walk to wake up your head? How do you refill the well after your writing sessions?
I’m gonna try it! Thanks for sharing!!!
I usually draw a morning Tarot card, watch a little YouTube, and only sometimes write morning pages. I feel way better when I do morning pages, so I’d like to make it a somewhat strict habit. I am not a morning person though.