Here’s my weird daily writing routine that’s highly-tuned to my personal schedule and probably won’t work for anyone else!
I work morning and afternoon drive-times for a small radio station, doing traffic and weather reports. So…
STEP ONE: GET A DIFFERENT JOB THAT LEAVES YOU FREE FROM 9AM to 3PM DAILY
This could be like, a weird part-time job. Like maybe at a hotel that’s not very busy in the middle of the day. Or a restaurant that doesn’t want you there during lunch because you think lunch is cursed and you refuse to serve sandwiches or even touch them.
Or maybe you could work in an office, but be that office’s superhero and only patrol it during the night hours. Everyone knows that superheroes don’t sleep or eat so you’d be completely free to write from 9am to 3pm.
Or if you don’t have a job that’s good too as long as your brain is a master of handling existential fear.
STEP TWO: GO FOR A WALK AT 9AM EXCEPT NOT REALLY
Often at 9AM I will go for a 20-minute walk around my neighborhood.
Except I don’t actually do this 90 percent of the time.
Walks are a great time for thinking about ideas, or just distracting yourself from the various stressors in your life.
And of course they count as *shudder* exercise.
But you have to actually go on them in order to reap these many benefits. You can’t just think about going for a walk and then say “I’ll do this later” and watch Youtube videos instead.
STEP THREE: PACK TOO MUCH OF YOUR CRAP INTO A BAG
I always bring my MacBook, a sleeve around my MacBook, a portable DAC/headphone amp, an Apple Magic Mouse I never use, a bunch of extra USB cables I don’t need, a pair of headphones, and some glasses wipes.
If you have a computer that doesn’t need to be plugged into power, that’s good. Some people call this a paper and a pen. Others call it a phone, or a Chromebook, or a MacBook.
Don’t be plugged into a wall.
Be free from the tyranny of the wall!
STEP FOUR: DRIVE TO THE NEAREST STARBUCKS INSTEAD OF WALKING TO THE INDIE COFFEE SHOP NEXT DOOR
I live right next door to a small local coffee shop… so of course the most logical thing to do is to drive my vehicle to the nearest Starbucks instead. The local coffee shop makes better drinks but they don’t give me bonus rewards points/stars on my phone and they don’t make drinks with “cooling mint crystals” in them.
Also, I’m not hip enough to hang out there because I write shouty articles on the internet. Everyone there is quiet and has fancy blue/rainbow hair.
ANOTHER STOCK PHOTO FOR VISUAL VARIETY
STEP FIVE: ORDER A DRINK AND THEN FILL YOUR TABLE WITH ALL THE CRAP FROM YOUR BAG
I have entirely too much stuff on a table that’s entirely too small. This is very important.
The amount of stuff has grown about every month.
Also, I get touchy if this table or the one next to it isn’t available. I know we just had a second stock photo and thus it’s not time for Photo Number Three but look at all this.
That’s enough cabling to wire up a small house or an old-school telephone. Why did I bring the headphones with the 10-foot cable? I don’t care if they’re your favorite ones Alex, bring the mobile ones next time.
Be free from the tyranny of long cables!
STEP SIX: WRITE
Now that you’ve done all of that, it’s time to start writing. It’s where you take all the ideas that you’ve built up in your head over the last 12 hours of completing steps one through five, and vomit them onto the screen/paper.
I usually do this to pop music. Either pop music that’s really cool and hip right now according to Apple Music, or pop music that might make you question my musical tastes.
There is no middle ground.
Why don’t I just listen to the background music in the Starbucks? Well, that’s what the headphones are for, silly. If I brought the headphones and didn’t use them, what would be the point of bringing them in the first place?
Plus, sometimes I’m reviewing those headphones so I need to use them. Most people don’t want to know what my experience was not listening to headphones.
STEP SEVEN: TAKE A BREAK EVERY TWENTY MINUTES TO REFRESH SOCIAL MEDIA FEEDS YOU’VE ALREADY READ
This step is very important to preventing writer’s block. It will distract you so well from the sentence you were stuck trying to write, that you may very well forget what the article was supposed to be about in the first place! There’s no better way to get unstuck!
“But shouldn’t I work without distractions?”
I know that’s the big real world advice out there. But no. Distract yourself.
We live in a world full of distractions and you want your writing to feel true to modern times.
THAT’S BASICALLY IT BUT WHAT ABOUT ALL THESE QUESTIONS I HAVE
You probably have questions. It says so right there above this. You’re probably wondering how someone can write an article a day on Medium without any kind of organization.
I’m wondering too, dear reader!
DO YOU EVER TAKE NOTES?
No. Notes are for the weak.
In all seriousness, I get tremendously bored and angry if I start taking notes of any kind. I don’t plan out articles ahead of time outside of my head. I don’t write out character sketches, or plots, or any of that stuff when I’m writing original fiction.
It’s probably really bad for me to not take notes. All the big tips out there say to take notes all the time. But I just can’t do it.
Be free from the tyranny of notes!
SO WAIT YOU’RE JUST FREE WRITING ALL OF THIS?
Kind of yes. With extensive editing. I know. It’s stupid. Please refer to the title of this article.
DID YOU GET YOUR WEIRD JOB WITH THE INTENTION OF WRITING DURING THE DAY?
Haha no. I never intended to be a writer. That’s how life goes.
DO YOU WORRY ABOUT DAILY WORD COUNT?
Only during NaNoWriMo. Otherwise, I just try to write at least one more-or-less complete thing a day…whether that’s a blog/article/review here on Medium, or a complete scene of a fiction piece, or whatever.
WHY DO YOU LIKE *THAT* TABLE SO MUCH?
It’s at the back of the store near the bathrooms and it’s right by the emergency exit. If I ever need to run away quickly it gives me options. Also, it’s not right next to any other tables so no one can sit near me. And there’s even a window!
Ideally you should find a coffee shop table that has all of these qualities. You need all of them. Don’t skimp! If you can only find those circumstances at a cool place, that’s fine, as long as you yourself are cool.