My writing life is ever-evolving, and I’m always looking for ways to streamline it. Today I’m sharing what my ideal writing life would look like, and what it actually looks like in practice.

 

a stack of books with a teacup on top and the text "my writing life"

Original photo by My Life Journal on Unsplash

Writing is something that I’ve been doing ever since I was a kid. But since quitting my job back in December, it’s something that has been the focus of every single day. I love it. And I’m struggling.

I know by now you’ve seen me talk on my YouTube channel about how I wrote over 100,000 words in April, or maybe you’ve seen the Medium essay where I shared what made that possible.

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Overall, I know what I need to have a good and productive writing day. And I know that I can’t always have it.

It’s with all that in my mind that I thought I would share what my writing life is in theory and in practice in an effort to be transparent about how easy it is to derail the day.

I even filmed a day in my writing life for YouTube, and collaborated with author Katlyn Duncan. We’re sharing what a real day really looks, and you can check out the videos below.

As with everything on this blog, this is my writing life, and not yours. So, if what i say doesn’t jive, then I totally get it.

But I know I love to see what works for other writers, because it’s always good to get an idea of ways my process could change.

So, with all that, let’s talk about my writing life.

My Writing Life in Theory

001: Intentional mornings

Ideally, I would wake up before 7 AM and get a work out in first thing. Well, after chugging a liter of water.

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I know this is what I need to start the day because it gets the biggest burden out of the way first. If I don’t work out first thing, I know it won’t happen. (Side note: Did you know there are people who will shower, do some work, and then work out in the middle of the day and basically WASTE THAT SHOWER??)

After working out, I wake up the dog and feed her while I cool down. Then, after Rosie has eaten her breakfast and gone outside for a few minutes, I let her back in, tuck her in on the couch (since she needs a post-breakfast nap most days), and then hop in the shower.

After the shower, I make a pot of coffee, and let me tell you a little secret: Drinking coffee outside in the morning is glorious.

I love the feeling of going outside to sip the coffee, which is kind of a meditative activity already. I drink it slowly since it’s too hot to chug, and I just listen to the birds outside.

It’s glorious. And on the days I’m not able to do this, I definitely miss it.

002: Writing first

The first work task that I do must be writing.

It can be fiction, freelance stuff, a blog post — doesn’t really matter what it is. But I need to start the day with writing. I was really good about this almost all of April, except for the occasions that I slept in too late to write before my livestreams.

By writing first, I’m getting my head in the right place for the day. I’m focusing on the most important thing first, and it’s the perfect way to make me feel very productive.

Also, because writing is like solving tiny problems in your head, it gets my brain awake and ready to tackle bigger things.

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003: Slow living

Ideally, I would focus on a few tasks a day, and then have time to enjoy the quiet or read. And for the most part, this happens.

Naturally, there are days when I have to put out a bunch of little metaphorical fires and it feels like I’m at my desk for the whole day. But I try to not let this be the norm.

Instead, focusing on only a few things throughout the course of one day has made my writing life a lot easier to handle. And it gives me a lot of time away from work so I can rest and recharge.

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My Writing Life in Practice

001: Distractions and demands

Admittedly, there are days where I can’t have a slow and intentional morning. Right now, in the middle of this global pandemic, I have been going to the grocery store first thing in the morning on a weekday. This means that there is one day about every other week that I don’t get my slow morning.

And I’m not always great about waking up on time. If I don’t get enough sleep or if my sleep has been disrupted by tornadoes or my own weird, anxious brain, then I’ll let myself sleep in. I try not to beat myself up about it, but I know I feel better when I don’t sleep in because then I have time to work out.

And there are random things that come up sometimes.

My small business received an unemployment claim the other day from an employee I’ve never had, because the scammers are out in full force. But I had to take care of it by making copies and sending letters to the appropriate state offices. That took the entire morning and it was awful.

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So, I try to set the conditions for a good day as much as possible, but the slow and intentional morning where I start the day doesn’t always happen.

002: Scarcity mindset

There are days when I feel like I’m not doing enough, or like if I don’t mark everything off my to do list that I’m a failure. Or that I’ll never make any money as a writer.

It’s weird how my brain will go to these places, but I know it’s just because I’m seeing other writers doing big things, and it makes me feel like I have to double my efforts and move faster to catch up.

Intellectually, I know this is false. But in my gut, sometimes this feels like the truth.

In those cases, I have to remind myself that I’m working and creating at my own pace. I’m making big things. I’m doing things that I love. (Basically, you have to have your own definition of success.)

And even though I may not move at the same pace as everyone else — something I have literally never done as a late bloomer — I have to remind myself that there are plenty of opportunities for everyone, and the only game I have to play is my own.

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Tell Me About Your Writing Life

What does your writing life look like? Do you like to write first thing like I do? Are you one of those weirdos that works out in the middle of the day? Do you have whole days that get hijacked by a scarcity mindset or the weird demands that pop up in your inbox?

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