Creating A Daily Writing Routine That Actually Works | Alicia Zwingler | Skillshare

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Creating A Daily Writing Routine That Actually Works

teacher avatar Alicia Zwingler, Creative Writer, Poet

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Why You Need a Daily Writing Routine


    • 3.

      Set Writing Goals and Track Your Progress


    • 4.

      Schedule and Protect Your Writing Time


    • 5.

      Create Your Workspace Aesthetic


    • 6.

      Develop a Writing Ritual


    • 7.

      Embrace Bad Writing and Forgive Failure


    • 8.

      Just Keep Writing


    • 9.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Do you struggle with maintaining a consistent writing habit? The 6 steps in this class will guide you through how to create a personalized daily writing routine that actually works for you.

Follow along with my guided worksheet and create your own writing routine game plan. Learn how to:

  • Set clear and achievable writing goals
  • Prioritize your writing and increase productivity
  • Deal with bad writing, feelings of failure, and lack of inspiration
  • ...and more

Perfect for aspiring writers, hobby writers, bloggers, journalists, authors, poets, et cetera, these skills will help you build a daily writing routine that actually works for you. All you need to get started is something to write with!

Additional Resources

Stream of Consciousness Writing - visit my blog to learn more about this writing technique

Meet Your Teacher

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Alicia Zwingler

Creative Writer, Poet


Hi, I'm Alicia! I’m a published poet and writer based in Denver, Colorado, and the creator behind my online shop and writing blog World of Words by AG.

The number one question I’m asked as a writer is where my inspiration comes from. And the unhelpful truth is I draw inspiration from everywhere - from nature, from my own personal life and feelings, from the best and worst parts of life itself. 

But my favorite creative inspiration is love - and hope. They go hand in hand. And although some of my writing is dark, and may feel cynical, it's real. It's authentic. And sometimes we feel these things even in the midst of love. Sometimes we feel these things because of love. I write about it because my ultimate between-the-lines message is this -&n... See full profile

Level: All Levels

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1. Introduction: throughout this class, I'm gonna be teaching you why you need a daily writing routine. Why? It's really important for your writing that you have one and I'm going to share with you my six steps for building one that you can stick to long term. I've been writing my whole life as far back as I can remember, and I've been writing poetry specifically for the past 10 years or so. Writing has always been really important to me in my life. It's how I best relate others and express myself. And now, through my blawg and through instagram, I'm able to share with others. The joys of writing this class is perfect for anyone looking to improve their writing and build a daily writing habit. Whether you've been writing for years or you're just picking up a penitential today, the skills you learn in this class are perfect for hobby writers, bloggers, journalists, poets, novelists and literally anybody who writes in this course. You'll learn how to set clear, concise writing goals, how to prioritize your time to increase your productivity and how to deal with things like bad writing and feelings of failure, and you'll be able to follow along step by step on my guided worksheet. So by the end of the class, you'll have your very own daily writing routine game plan. 2. Why You Need a Daily Writing Routine: in this lesson, I'm gonna give you four reasons why having a daily writing routine is critical for anyone looking to improve their writing. First of all, practice makes perfect writing on a consistent basis. Is the number one way to improve your skills as a writer, And the best way to do that is creating a writing routine that you can stick to long term. And that's the most important factor. When you're trying to create and build a daily writing habit is creating something that's a doable. A perfect writing plan isn't going to do you any good if you can't follow it. The first reason you need a writing routine is because it's going to help you reach your writing goals. This may seem obvious, but if you have any goals as a writer, whether that's to finish a short story, write a book, blawg every day. Whatever it might be, then you need to write regularly and consistently in order to meet those goals. Reaching goals of any kind becomes much more challenging when you don't have a game plan, and most people give up when they don't know how to move forward. We'll talk about how to set clear goals for yourself in the next video. The second reason you need a writing routine is to help you learn how to prioritize your writing. Our time is precious, and one of the great challenges in life is determining what's worth our time and what's not . When you make space in your daily life for writing, you're sending a clear message that you value your writing. As a result, it will become much easier for you to spend time on your writing. And so let the other distractions go. The third reason you need a daily writing routine is to keep your brain in the writing zone . I like to think of this as a state or a frame of mind, because you can hover in the state even when you're not actively writing. When you spend a consistent amount of time in this state, your training your brain to stay there longer and to fall back into it more easily. Honestly, it's like working out. You're building up the muscle of your brain toe, work more efficiently and to burn longer so that the effects last long after you're writing Time is over, and then when it's time to jump back into it. The next day, you'll find that it's much easier to slip into that frame of mind because you haven't fully left it. As a result, you'll start finding ideas and inspiration in your daily life, things that have always been there but that needed a writer's perspective toe look beyond the surface and see them for more than what they are. Let me ask you a silly question. Do you want more to write about? Do you want to know for sure that you're not gonna run out of things to say? Then you need to write more, and I know it sounds counterintuitive, but it's true. The more that you write, the more ideas and inspiration will come to you. You're not working from a finite supply of ideas As you write more, more ideas and inspiration will come to you. So those are my reasons for you. Why you need a daily writing routine. But what are your reasons for being here? What are your motivations for building the stately habit when you're having trouble sticking to your daily routine? Revisit this list as a reminder of why you got started and the importance of pushing through those difficult days 3. Set Writing Goals and Track Your Progress: Let's discuss how to set achievable goals for your writing. Setting goals for yourself is a must. You need to know yourself and what you're working towards, or else he'll constantly struggle with focus and motivation. If you don't know what you want out of your writing time, you're going to be all over the place. You need some amount of structure in order to move forward, so you need to explore your goals and motivations for creating a daily writing habit and write them down. This is another very important step here, so I'll say it again. Write down your goals. Studies have shown that putting your goals down on paper increases your chances of achieving them. Keeping them in your workspace also serves as a good daily reminder of what you're working towards and motivation for the days that you need it. How you set your goals and the specific language that you use when you write them is another determining factor in how likely you are to achieve them. You want to be specific and intentional. If your goals are too vague, you're likely to lose motivation before you even get started. So, for example, I want to write more is way too big. Of course you want to write more. But how do you measure that? What's your benchmark? If you don't currently right every day, then does five minutes count. Does sentence count a paragraph a page? How do you determine when you've met that goal? The other problem with the school is saying I want This is too passive. You need to use actionable active language that will actually kick you into gear. So here's an example of a better goal. I will write 500 words every day. Now you don't have to use this goal. This is just an example so that you can see the differences. But now we have a benchmark. Now we know what we're measuring and we know that we're done after we hit 500 words a day, also noticed the change in language I will instead of I want. Instead of passively saying that we want something we're actively committing to doing it. All right. So specific and intentional goal setting is really important. Now I don't know if this happens to you. It certainly happens to me. But a lot of times when people are trying to make a change in their life. They overcorrect, they dream big, which is a good thing. But then they expect to go from 0 to 60 and keep that pace. That's when you burn out. That's when people give up. They can't maintain whatever they've set for themselves, so they believe that they can't do it. But that's where they're wrong. You do want to dream big, have big aspirations for yourself, but start small and work your way up to it. Consistency is much more important than quantity. So, for example, say you write a few times a month right now, just kind of whenever you feel like it. But you found time in your daily life to write two hours a day, and that's what you want to dio. Start with something small. Ease yourself into it. Start with 30 minutes a day and work your way up each week. Start with 30 minutes a day now and increase that to an hour a day. Next week or start smaller were Give yourself a longer adjustment period. Whatever works best for you. Now let's talk about tracking your progress. This is a great way to stay motivated. Watch yourself improve and celebrate those milestones, and there's different ways you can do this. You can create a spreadsheet to track your word page or chapter account. Or you can use a habit tracker like this if you just want to see how many days you've met your daily goal. Whatever you use, set milestones for yourself. Set rewards for those milestones and then celebrate them. You've earned it on the class project worksheet. Write down your right Ingles. Remember to be specific, use active language and start small. 4. Schedule and Protect Your Writing Time: scheduling and protecting your writing time is serious business. Whether you choose a time based routine like writing an hour a day or a gold based routine where you're writing a set number of words or pages a day. If you don't take your writing time seriously, no one else will, and you'll struggle to maintain a daily habit of routine of any kind. Allowing other plans or distractions to cut in sets the standard in your mind that you're writing time and goals are optional. If you want to build a consistent habit, you need to be prepared to make some sacrifices. This doesn't mean that you can't reschedule your writing time. It doesn't mean you have to write at the same time every day. And you have to be rigid in your plans that you miss out on other important parts of your life. That's no way to maintain a long term writing routine, either. What I suggest is treating your writing sessions like their meetings with important clients . Under what circumstances would you cancel those meetings and under which circumstances would you reschedule them? What distractions and excuses are valid for either one of those scenarios planning this now with your goals and your motivations, fresh in your mind will help you focus on your priorities in the moment and make decisions that are more in line with your long term goals. Go ahead and get out your work sheets and make your game plan now for those distractions. 5. Create Your Workspace Aesthetic: whether it's an entire room in your house or just her favorite chair in the corner. Having a designated writing space is vital for your writing sessions, and it's one more key factor that will help you stick to your writing routine long term. Plus, you don't have to spend time deciding where you're gonna work every day or clearing the clutter off of your kitchen tables that you have a space to write. Creating your space can be a lot of fun, so get creative with it and make it all yours. I recommend trying this exercise. Close your eyes and imagine your ideal writing space. If you could be anywhere in the world writing right now, where would you be? Would you be inside, outside in the mountains on the beach? Take yourself there and just be there for a moment. Look around at the details. What do you see? Inspirational posters. Your favorite cup of coffee. Keeping that image in your mind. Open your eyes and think about how you can bring elements of your dream space into the space that you have available to you. Now, for example, if your dream space involves being surrounded by nature. Decorate your writing area with plants and with botanical prints. If your dream spaces a loft filled with pillows and decorated and string lights and find a corner of your home and create something similar there, get beanbag chairs, decorate with string lights, maybe even get a sheer bed canopy to hang for that whimsical feel. Whatever your dream space is, you can find a way to bring it to life in your own home. I recommend creating your space in a room with a window, because fresh air and sunlight can help boost your energy and your motivation. And having a great view can be really inspiring. Bringing plants into your workspace can have similar effects. Nature relaxes and inspires, and it helps you to open your mind to new ideas. These next two examples are great as well, and they both incorporate windows in their space. The work space on the left has a cozy library feel, while the one on the right has a more open, modern, airy feel. And don't be afraid to decorate. As long as you don't feel overwhelmed and cluttered, fill your walls with artwork, inspiration and whatever else you want again the important points to remember our comfort, inspiration and distraction free. The rest is really up to you if you haven't already, write down the details of your dream space on your worksheet and think about ways that you can bring it to life in your own home. 6. Develop a Writing Ritual: Let's talk about developing a writing ritual. This is a process that will trigger your brain to slip into writing mode, making your writing sessions more productive. The idea behind having a writing ritual is that it works the same way as Pavlovs conditioning response. You learn to associate specific stimuli like actions, visual cues or sounds with writing. Sometimes when we first sit down to write, we spend half our time trying to convince ourselves that were in the right mood or frame of mind to write. Using a writing ritual can help you save time and increase your productivity. Your ritual can be a simple as using the same pen to write every day, using a specific paint color only for your writing sessions were changing into your favorite pair of sweats. You could sit down to write at the same time every day, exercise or meditate before writing, or it can be a Siris of steps. For example, Maybe before every writing session you make a cup of tea, close the door, light a candle and turn your phone on silent. No matter what you choose, consistency and repetition are key here. This is a process you'll have to repeat over and over to get your mind to start associating it with this idea of Okay, it's time to focus now on writing, to give you some more ideas. Many famous and prolific writers have had writing rituals of their own, and some of them are a little quirky. So don't be afraid to get creative and have fun with this. In an interview, Stephen King said that he has a glass of water or a cup of tea. There's a certain time he sits down from 88 30. I have my vitamin pill and my music sit in the same seat, and the papers are all arranged in the same places. The cumulative purpose of doing these things the same way every day seems to be a way of saying to the mind. You're going to be dreaming soon, and that's exactly what we're going for here were telling her mind that it's time to dream . It's time to write. Dr. Seuss was a lifelong hat collector, so when he felt creatively blocked, he and his editor would dig through his collection and find it inspiring hat to wear. And Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice in Wonderland preferred writing in purple ink. Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway and Charles Dickens all liked writing standing up, while Truman Capote, Mark Twain and George Orwell preferred writing. Laying down. You can listen to a specific song or genre of music. Listen to nature sounds. Go for a walk. Watch the sunrise, watch the sunset. The possibilities really are endless. Grab your worksheet and create your own personalized ritual, and I encourage you to post and share your ideas with other students. You never know. You might spark some inspiration for someone else or discover new ideas for yourself. 7. Embrace Bad Writing and Forgive Failure: We're all human, We have good days and we have bad days. And it's important to recognize that as writers, we're gonna have good writing days and bad writing days. It's important to acknowledge that and the fact that every writer suffers through them. It's okay. Our aim here in developing daily writing routine is progress, not perfection. The act of writing more than the quality of the writing is the most important part of being and becoming a writer. Sometimes that means embracing bad writing and accepting it is part of the process as a human being, Let me tell you, your inner critic is your greatest threat, and this is true in all aspects of your life. No matter what you're aspiring to do or become, silencing your inner critic makes way for inspiration. If you can let go of your fear of failure or your fear of writing something that sounds terrible and just let it flow, become vulnerable with yourself and with your writing, you'll be amazed at what you can dio. You also need to accept that failure is inevitable in life. Life will get in the way of your writing time despite your best efforts. The important thing here is not to give yourself permission to fail in the sense that you're writing, time becomes optional. If you miss a day or a week, it's not the end of the world. But if you can't let go of your humanity and forgive your failings, it will be impossible for you to move past that and continue on again. We're looking for progress, not perfection. It happens to everyone. You're not alone and you're not any less of a writer because of it. There is beauty and failing. When you give it everything you have. It doesn't matter how many times you succeed or how many times you fail. What matters is everything in between. What did you learn? What are you able to achieve as a result of the failures that came before on your worksheet ? Forgive yourself for failing and right encouragement for yourself to move on and focus on your next writing session and remember to come back to this when you need it. 8. Just Keep Writing: as we talked about in the last video. The active writing is the most important part of being and becoming a writer. You won't feel like writing every day, and that's perfectly normal. It doesn't mean you're not a real writer or that you can't achieve your writing dreams. Every single writer, seasoned or beginner, suffers through the struggle. You're not alone. The important thing here is that you use the tips we've already discussed to push yourself and just keep writing. Everyone goes through writer's block, and everyone goes through days and weeks where they lack inspiration on the motivation to write. But I've discovered that this idea that you need to be in the mood to write is a myth. You don't need to be in the mood. You need to push yourself through those moments, even when it's difficult, even when you have nothing to say. Remember progress, not perfection, right to meet your daily goal and then let it go. Sometimes that's all we can dio push yourself anyway because these are the moments that separate the good from the great. Great writers never stopped writing. So what do you do when you have nothing to say this is when you can turn to writing, prompts and exercise is one of my favorite writing exercises is the stream of consciousness writing exercise where you literally write down everything that goes through your mind, and my favorite way to do this is what I call purposeful stream of consciousness. I don't know about you, but when I have nothing to say and I try to force myself to write everything that's in my head anyway, I end up with sentences like this. I have nothing to say, but here I am writing anyway. Blah, blah, blah, writing, writing, writing. I don't find that very helpful. So what I do instead is I pick a word or a phrase, and I meditate on it for a few moments. Just close your eyes and let it echo through your mind. What thoughts, images and emotions does it evoke for you? Then write it all down. Stream of consciousness style, everything you're thinking. The important part here is that you don't edit yourself. Let it all flow until you reach your stopping point. Whether that's a word, Count Thea end of your timer or if you've simply run out of things to say. Another personal favorite of mine is searching the Internet or Pinterest for inspiring and creative photos, and then writing a short story, poem or caption based on it. I came across this really fun photo on Pinterest a few years ago, and it inspired me to write the short little poem On mornings like these. I wish I could scoop up the sea into my coffee cup, So instead of being halfway around the world, you'd be just across the table and I wouldn't have to miss you so much. Here's another photo. I used to write a short quote, Take my hand and let's get lost in the wilderness of our dreams. I've included other exercises and writing prompt ideas on your worksheet, plus a space for you to write your own. Come back to these when you need an extra push 9. Final Thoughts: a successful writing routine is one that you can manage and fit into your everyday. It's not a one size fits all kind of thing. You have to decide what works best for you, but hopefully you've learned some valuable insights and ideas here on how to put it all together. Remember to fill out the guided worksheet to create your own daily writing routine and share it with the other students. What works for you might be something someone else hasn't thought of. So six steps to a successful writing routine. Set clear goals. Track your progress and celebrate your winds. Schedule. Protect and prioritize your writing time. Create a workspace you enjoy. Develop a writing ritual. Embrace bad writing. Silence your inner critic and learn to forgive yourself and just keep writing to see more of my poetry. Follow me on Instagram at Alicia and Green Poetry. And if you'd like to read more of my poetry, have a free e book available on my website. At World of Words by a g dot com slash e book