Be Careful of Writing Routines

There was a period of time when I thought my notebooks had to be just so; I would only write in a specific type of notebook, with a particular pen. That routine just about did me in as a writer. Rather than offering me a way to be a better writer (no matter how cool I thought my notebooks were), those routines offered me an easy way to procrastinate. If I didn’t have my notebook with me, I couldn’t write.

If I found myself with a spare hour but without my notebook — well, I wouldn’t be using that hour for writing. You can be sure of that. That writing routine of mine actually was an excuse not to write. I know that I purposely forgot my notebook at times when I could have gotten some good writing in, effectively giving myself permission to slack off and do something else.

Breaking Routines

Today, I write on different computers, type out notes on my phone and scribble notes on any piece of paper left in my vicinity too long. I still prefer using a notebook for hand-written notes and writing, if only because I can’t lose pages as easily as I can lose random notes. That said, the type of notebook certainly doesn’t matter to me.

I didn’t set out to break my routine: I found myself in a position where I was traveling and could only write on my laptop for several months. My notebook suddenly wasn’t an option. So I started working on my computer instead and rapidly realized that my notebook had little affect on the quality of my writing. It just happened to be the place where I was writing.

The Right Kind of Writing Routines

There are some kinds of writing routines that do support us in writing on a regular basis and those routines are well worth cultivating. Simple habits, like writing on a daily basis can get us to the point where we’ve completed books or have successful blogs, just by having a routine of writing every day, no matter what. The hard part is recognizing these routines.

Find the routines that work for you: the ones that support your ability to write on a regular basis and improve your skills. Toss the fancy notebooks and special pens, though, along with anything that is an excuse masquerading as a routine.