Why My Writing Routine Won’t Work For You

Writing routines and rituals are an important part of the writing process. They are the answer to ‘I don’t have the time to write’ – figuring out a writing routine carefully can help us find available hours in our busy week. 

But here’s the critical thing about creating a writing routine…it has to fit in with your life.

I have helped many writers go through the process of creating a writing routine. It can sometimes be lengthy, as the process requires a level of investigation into time, creative data, and a little more. So, it can be tempting to look at other writers and see what they are up to, because there lies the promise of it all being figured out for you.

Following Other Routines 

So, let’s say we listen to Stephen King and pay close attention to his writing routine. He writes every day. Awesome!

At first, it goes well. Writing every day can be a bit addictive even, but then, there comes a day when something gets in the way. It could be anything from taking the car to be serviced to forgetting to sit down and begin, but ultimately it means that a day is missed. The overall feeling that comes from this is that it didn’t work, and it may even stop us from having a go at another writing routine.

If we haven’t spent time considering whether writing every day fits with our lives, it can be a rigid and strict rule that must be broken at some stage. Life happens, and if we restrict ourselves to fixed structures not developed for us, it is far more likely that these structures will be broken.

This is exactly why I do not recommend my own routine to anyone else. Finding a routine that works for you is all about just that! It is wonderful to take inspiration from others, but a routine is more likely to work when it takes your personal schedule into consideration.

A writing routine has to fit with your life and your responsibilities, and nobody else’s. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be challenging to work this out because I can share the process of development with you.

Finding Your Own Path

So, are you ready to find your writing routine and fit more writing into your life? If so, I am excited to tell you that I am making it easier than ever for you to do this.

There are three ways I can help you:

1:1 Coaching 

It’s Time to Write Your Novel – The Masterclass

And now…(launching 17th September!)

The Time to Write Workbook

For the price of a cup of coffee, I have created a workbook that will help you:

  1. Find time to write
  2. Create a writing routine that fits with YOUR schedule
  3. Identify writing areas you would like more information on
  4. Set and achieve writing goals

If you are ready for a taste of coaching and want to see a way forward in your creative life, this is the workbook for you.

Here’s what Emma had to say:

‘Love the layout, very visual. It’s really useful, and I love how everything is broken down, so you’re not so overwhelmed with the task at hand.’

Here’s what Hannah had to say:

‘This workbook is a great place to start. Knowing what my Creative Data is and using that to structure my time has been eye-opening. There’s real value in providing a structure that makes the seemingly huge (and very intimidating) task of sitting down to write achievable.”

As a writing coach trained by an ICF accredited company with a PhD, MA and BA in Creative Writing, you can trust that this book has been created carefully, using tried and true coaching practices informed by writing knowledge.

So, stay tuned. I will send you an email when it’s launched, and I cannot wait to share this with you! 

Are you looking for a similar read?

Check out:
Reasons Not To Write Every Day
The Ultimate Guide to Creating Your Writing Routine
3 Ways to Hold Yourself Accountable (Writing Edition)


The Time Blocking Tools That Can Help You Write Your Novel

You may know by now that I am a time blocking fan. Put simply, time blocking enabled me to complete a PhD while working two jobs, and finish two novels in one year with time for querying. So yes, time blocking works for me. I use time blocking tools to help me with this, and here are some of the ones I recommend for you!

But hang on, what is time blocking?

Essentially, it is understanding how much time you have to do tasks in your day, and blocking out your time, dedicating each block to a task. Did you know that just one hour of planning can save you ten hours of doing? Seriously – the amount of time planning can save us makes it a no brainer for writing a novel.
Looking for an introduction to time blocking? That’s what I share in my free class right here: Novel Writing Masterclass.

There are so many time blocking tools that can help us, so I thought I would give you my top four! I’ll include the links so you can explore more if you like the sound of them.


One of the most popular time blocking tools and the one you have probably already heard of – Asana helps you keep track of all of your To-Dos in your various projects. It has reminders, you can link it to your phone, and if you love ticking off tasks as I do, it works well.

Perfect for: Collaborations and writing with others. You can add ‘team members’ to Asana, which is ideal if you’re sharing a writing project.


ClickUp has a reputation for being super easy to use, and it is free for the full version. You can manage multiple projects at once, and it even has an inbox.

Perfect for: Single users who want to manage their daily routine as well as their writing routine.

Google Calendar

It’s the one you may already use, and I love it. It enables time blocking through easy colour coding and reminders, and it speaks beautifully to your other calendars. It also adds in tasks for you when you accept invitations, and that is a dream.

Perfect for: The writer who wants to give time blocking a go before they commit fully to it!

The Classic – The Paper Planner

I won’t lie to you – I’m a paper fan. I like paper books, like writing things down longhand, and my weekly planning is no different. There is also something so beautiful about tearing off a week when it’s over and the physical act of scribbling a task out. There are some excellent paper planners out there, but I favour the type with tear-off sheets!

Perfect for: Old school writers, fans of nostalgia.

Okay, so now you know what tools are out there – ready and waiting for you to try, what about trying Time Blocking? If you are ready for an introduction to the practice (as well as other helpful information), check out this free class I’m giving away as part of my Novel Writing Masterclass: It’s Time to Write Your Novel.

Want to chat more about how it works? You can now book a Discovery Call with ease on my website. It’ll alter to your time zone, and you can book yourself in!

Found this helpful? Please share it with another writer.

If you are looking for a similar read, check out the following blog posts:

Online Writing Tools That Can Help You Write Your Novel
Task Batching: How It Can Give You More Time to Write


Reasons Not To Write Every Day

Do you worry about writing every day? Should you write every day? Stephen King thinks so, and it works for many other people…but I’m afraid that I’m not one of them.

Here’s the issue – I’ve tried it. I have sat down every single day to hammer out some words. Did it go well? Sure, for a while. But, after a month or so, I found that I couldn’t keep up, and eventually, I was left feeling discouraged, guilty, and actually spending time worrying about it. So, overall, it did not work for me. It does work for some people – I have a friend who writes 1000 words a day. That’s so great, and I celebrate their routine! But for me, it just isn’t suitable. If it doesn’t work for you either, that’s okay. You don’t have to write every day to be a terrific writer. Here’s why:

A Writing Routine Should Fit Your Specific Life

I don’t have a life routine that fits with writing every day. Heck, I’m a small business owner, I have family and friends that need my attention, and I like to do various other things that take up time. That’s okay! Writing is a huge priority of mine, and that’s why I created a writing routine that actually does work for me and fits in with my life. It’s flexible, allows for movement, and means that I write around 4,000 words a week. If you want to create a writing routine that works for you, check out this blog post on doing just that! A writing routine that includes writing every day is absolutely fine if it works for you, but the key is making sure it fits in with your life. We all write best when we have the time. Forcing ourselves to write every day when it doesn’t fit will create feelings that I’ve already outlined – ultimately, it can make us feel dejected. I don’t know about you, but writing while dejected does not make me feel awesome, and it doesn’t equal my best work either.

Breaks are Important Too

A work-life balance is vital, and I think breaks in the week are essential. Breaks can also mean we allow ourselves to get excited about our writing projects, look forward to that moment of creation, and refill the well of creativity.

Writing Is About More Than The Act of Writing

Writing is about so much more than sitting down to write. Writing is about research; it’s about thinking, dreaming, planning. It can involve reading, watching movies, taking action. If you spend time in your week working on your novel, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are spending the time writing. Here’s a little picture of me enjoying my character’s favourite meal, a chuckwagon inspired stew with cornbread.

Writing every day

Giving yourself the time in your week to work on your project without writing isn’t just fun; it can deepen your world and create a richer experience for yourself and the reader.

Flexibility Aids Motivation

Writing every day is a rigid and strict rule that must be broken at some stage. Life happens, and if we restrict ourselves to fixed structures, it is far more likely that these structures will be broken. Instead, a writing routine that allows flexibility can motivate us to work and ultimately means that the idea of ‘breaking the routine’ is not such a demoralising one.

So there you have it – you do not need to write every day to be a fantastic writer. Creating a routine that works for you will make you feel more motivated, better rested, and can generate more words!

If you are ready to chat about creating a writing routine that works with your personal life, get in touch.

If this blog post was helpful to you, share it with another!

Fancy reading something similar?

The Power of Taking Responsibility for Your Writing Journey
How to Harness Your Writing Motivation
Ten Tips for Planning Your Writing Week
The Ultimate Guide to Creating Your Writing Routine


The Ultimate Guide to Creating Your Writing Routine

A 7 Step Journey from Time Poor to Productive Writer

Did you know that only 3% of aspiring authors finish their manuscript?

Now, of course, there are potentially plenty of reasons for why this is, from maintaining the desire to write to having the information you need to write a novel…but I’m going to take a guess here that one of the prevailing reasons is time.

This is actually more than a guess, this is based on my research into the pain points of aspiring authors online.

Time to write is vital. Writing a novel takes persistence, writing knowledge, a thick skin, hard work, the list goes on and on, but the thing writing a novel really requires? More time.

So, what if I told you that the answer to this issue was as simple as creating a writing routine that actually works with your life? Whatever your reaction is to that, surely it’s worth a shot.

If you’re ready to go from time poor to productive writer, read on!

My Experience of Time

Years ago I was in a high-pressure time sensitive situation all the time.

I was working two jobs alongside completing my full-time Creative Writing PhD. Time was precious, and I felt overwhelmed and tired.

Then, I developed a way to cope and followed the techniques I’m about to present for your reading pleasure in this blog post. After this, I thrived in each of my roles. I had a waiting list of students trying to get onto my creative writing classes, and full mark observations of my teaching. I won business excellence awards at a national level in my part-time office job. I completed my PhD in four years with minor corrections.

Since then, I’ve put my routine building skills to good use, planning my wedding for four months from the day my partner proposed, writing two novels in one year with time for querying, and more.

So, come in a little closer writer, I’m about to tell you my secrets of productivity!

1. Pinpointing Your Time Wasters

We all waste time in our week, and that’s absolutely fine.

After all, life is not just a series of work tasks to be completed – sometimes there is pleasure to be had in sitting on the sofa, switching on the television, and delighting in a little bit of time wasting.

But when this delightful time wasting turns into a daily habit, it often stops becoming enjoyable and can turn into a negative practice.

The first step of building your writing habit is to pinpoint those time wasters in your week. How much time do you spend mindlessly scrolling, for example?

Once you understand what tasks fill up your week, and which ones you feel you can do without, you can start to understand where space exists for your writing.

2. Weekly Goals over Daily Goals

Setting daily goals can often be an inflexible way of planning, meaning that there is no space for movement.

This in turn can lead to stress – after all, inflexibility in a routine means that the routine is most likely not sustainable.

Instead, weekly goals can help you achieve your writing ambitions.

Ask yourself what you would like to achieve this time next month, and then break down your goal into weekly easy to digest chunks.

For example, now you know that you would like to have written ten thousand words in one month, how will that fit into each week?

3. Your Creative Data

‘What on earth is creative data?!’ I hear you ask.

Well, it’s the time it takes you to write.

Next time you are writing, keep an eye on the clock and check how many words it takes you to write in one hour. Don’t race or hurry yourself along, because this is not realistic. Your data should be honest in order to work for you.

Once you know how many words you can write in one hour, on a normal day, you can understand how many words you can fit into a week.

4. Overestimating Your Time

Always overestimate how long it will take you to complete a task.

You might be able to write five hundred words in fifteen minutes on a good day when the work is planned, the sun is shining, and the house is quiet – but how many words can you write realistically in one hour?

For example, I write ninety words a minute, but when I’m writing creatively it can be more like ten words a minute. My personal best is 714 words in fifteen minutes…but on some days it takes me two hours to write 1000 words!

Overestimating how long it will take based on my creative data ensures a space in my calendar for the actual amount of words I’d like to get written.

5. Planning Flexibility

Life happens, and sometimes there is nothing we can do to stop it.

We can balance our writing routines by ensuring that there is space for some movement and flexibility.

For example, time blocking back to back and squeezing writing in where we can is one thing, but leaving small gaps in between tasks in the day will mean that there is movement for something to change.

This also means ensuring that if one writing session is missed, another one won’t be too hard to find.

For example, I don’t usually write on the weekend unless I missed a session in the week. Having that option means that my writing routine doesn’t get thrown out if life throws a spanner into my washing machine.

6. Building a Habit

Building a habit is something that I talk about often because it is a powerful way of keeping yourself writing.

It takes three weeks to build a habit into your life, and three weeks to lose one. So, once you have your writing routine ready, try it for at least three weeks to really give it a shot.

Building a habit requires the following:

Cue – An alert to remind you the habit is about to start.

Craving – Imagining the action. Inspire yourself by thinking of how wonderful it will be to write, how it will feel to have the finished product.

Response – The act of writing.

Reward – The incentive to write, whether it’s a cup of tea, an hour of your favourite show, or a pat on the back.

So, once you know what your time wasters are, you have set yourself your weekly goals based on your creativity data, you’ve overestimated your time and ensured that you have movement for flexibility in your week it’s time to start this writing habit by setting alerts into your calendar.

Once the alarm goes off, don’t ignore it, pay attention and imagine the action of writing. See yourself completing the task.

7. Holding Yourself Accountable 

This is key! No one can tell this story but you, so it’s time to keep yourself accountable.

Use rewards, be clear and realistic in your planning, and set yourself up for success!

If you struggle with holding yourself to account it might be a good idea to find an accountability partner who can support you.

This is exactly where a writing coach comes in useful! Through my work with my clients, I hold them accountable to action points they set themselves and investigate any issues that stop them from achieving.

Complete these seven steps and see how your writing routine grows beneath you – try it out for three weeks, and you’ll have a word count to be proud of.

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Get in touch.
I help authors write their novels and create a writing routine that takes them from procrastination to print, and I would love to help you! Click here for more information.