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.


  1. Pingback: What’s Up Wednesdays: Olympic Routines « Beyond the Rhetoric

  2. Linda   •  

    Thanks for reminding us its about consitently writing.I certainly ffind excuses not write because it does not feel right or its not right becasue of that, none of which have to do with a real justifiable reason.

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