The Daily Routine of a Full-Time Writer

What does the daily routine of a full-time writer look like? I’m going to say the norm is probably somewhere in between crazy-busy and lots-of-staring-into-space. What should the daily routine of a full-time writer look like? No one can say. But I can tell you what mine looks like.

When I asked you what you’d like me to write about this year, I received a surprising number of requests for “a day in the life” post. James Richards wrote:

Give us a peek into your day and show us what a day of writing looks like for you. Your work habits, your goals per day & etc. Let us see how you format your workday.

I’ve been waiting to share this post until spring arrived, so I could also share some photos that actually have green in them. And since spring finally arrived (and the smoke from the Alberta fires finally left—sending love to all our friends up north right now), I decided now is the time!

So come along with me today as I show you what my routine looks like on an average day.

A Few Notes on High-Quality Habits

Daily routines are one of my favorite topics. In fact, I’m a bit of a routine nut. Mostly, this is because my INTJ brain goes little nuts (literally) without structure and stability and predictable patterns, but also because I truly believe in the power of high-quality habits. I have seen their rewards in my own life, not just in the short-term, but as years of good habits have paid off in all areas of my life.

Here’s a quote I picked up somewhere from Will Durant:

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.

Here’s another one from James Clear, author of Atomic Habits:

The more control you have over your attention, the more control you have over your future.

My goal is to make sure every moment in my day, everything I do, every to-do on the checklist is as absolutely high-quality as possible. I’m always tweaking to try to maximize my time and energy to allow me to pack in only the best stuff. If something is low-quality with poor returns, I figure out a way to eliminate it or replace it. I live my life like I imagine a pro athlete eats their meals—every calorie and nutrient optimally has a purpose. One good habit that takes even just five minutes, done every day, offers huge returns down the line.

That said, I also have to be careful. Once I get a habit started, I am super consistent, which means it had better be the right habit. For instance, if I’m consistently doing the wrong exercise every day (or doing it wrong), I’m going to be doing myself more harm than if I was only sporadically remembering to do the right exercise.

It’s valuable to consider your daily habits and rate how high quality you think each one is (e.g., how healthy is your regular breakfast?). Then you look for ways to leverage little moments in your day. After all, as the fly says in A Bug’s Life:

I only get twenty-four hours to live, and I’m not going to waste it here!

The Daily Routine of a Full-Time Writer

It goes without saying that I’m extremely privileged to be able to manage my days how I want. I work for myself from home, and I don’t have kids, dependents, or many outside demands on my time. This allows me a lot of flexibility in tweaking and adjusting my schedule. For instance, I used to write in the late afternoons, but as my thirties have ticked on, I find my brain is just too fried and exhausted to be sensible by then—so I’ve switched my fiction writing to the morning. What’s best for any one writer will always depend on their own energetic preferences, as well as outside demands upon them, including work and family.

Morning Routine

  • Breakfast

I like to be out of bed by six and get my eyes on the sun as soon as possible. I putter around for a bit, oil pull for my teeth and gums, do skin care, and brush my teeth. Breakfast starts with a warm glass of lemon water, which I drink while standing in the sun. I follow that up with two baked eggs (farm fresh right now from the generous neighbors), since I wake up hangry and do not have the patience to stand over the stove. While I’m waiting for the eggs to cook, I’ll eat an apple. I end with some sort of carb; right now, I’m using a grain-free blueberry muffin mix from Bob Redmill.

  • Prayer/Meditation/Yoga/Workout

Next up is what I have come to consider the most important part of my day. I take a full two hours at least five days a week to focus on prayer, various meditation/visualization/energy practices, yoga (or what I call yoga—it’s really just light stretching), and working out. I’ve struggled with chronic muscle pain in my neck and back for many years, but I’m managing it pretty well now, thanks in part to my diet (I cut out all sugar, grain, nightshades, and dairy for five months over the winter and saw huge changes in my pain levels) and in part to a workout routine that I feel is finally paying off. I alternate core, arm, and leg workouts by day.

  • Reading

This is probably my favorite part of the day. 🙂 After working out, I take half an hour to sit on my infrared heating pad and read whatever non-fiction books are grabbing my fancy at the moment. I’m always hungry again by this point, so I eat a nut-butter protein bar. I really like these from Lairds right now, since they do a pretty good job balancing carbs and protein.

  • Walking

Actually, this is also my favorite part. I could walk for hours—but, alas, I usually only have time for about thirty minutes. I’m fortunate to be able to walk outside in nature. The trees and the grass are glorious right now, so green it almost makes my eyes hurt–which is a change from the usual drought (although apparently we’re still in a drought?). I use my walk as my time to talk to myself and clear my brain. I sort through ideas I may have encountered while reading, dig through anything that’s bugging me, and work through patterns and theories I’m playing with.

  • Writing

And now is the writing time of the writer’s daily routine. After showering and dressing after my walk, I settle in for an hour with my fiction work-in-progress. Right now, I’m in the process of outlining a new fantasy novel (tentatively called Wildblood, a Celtic-inspired tale about a dying princess and an immortal protector). I prefer to outline longhand in a notebook, away from my computer. Since I currently have an extra desk set up in my bedroom, I’m using it exclusively for my fiction writing. I like having the psychological cue that this is writing space and not check-your-email-and-do-business-stuff space.

I light a candle to set the container and play music I’ve downloaded onto my phone. I’m not much of a phone user, so I’m not usually too tempted by keeping it at my elbow. But I always put it on airplane mode, both because I always do that to mitigate EMF exposure where I can and to keep from being distracted by notifications.

Right now, as I’m outlining, my routine is pretty simple. I will glance over my notes from the day before and dive in. I’m pretty loosey-goosey in the outlining stage and don’t put much pressure on myself to be perfect or to always write on topic. I ramble a lot, veering away from the story sometimes to discuss thematic theories or even writing techniques with myself.

Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success by K.M. Weiland

Outlining Your Novel (Amazon affiliate link)

I have, of course, written about my outlining process extensively elsewhere. Basically, I look at outlining as brainstorming. My outlines are a conversation with myself on the page. I ask myself questions and follow my curiosity wherever it leads, using my sense of the story’s structure to always come back to what blanks might still need filling in.

>>Click here to read the full transcript of the outline I used when writing my dieselpunk novel Storming

At the end of the hour, I will glance over the day’s notes and highlight those I want to keep for later. Every few months, I will stop and transcribe the highlighted notes into my Scrivener outline for easy reference.

Afternoon Routine

  • Work: Blog Project/Social Media/Other Projects

After lunch, I’ll take another quick walk outside to check the mail, then head to my computer desk to get to work. I like to start out working on that week’s blog post and podcast episode. One day I will write the post, the next I will edit it, then record the podcast, then edit the podcast, etc. I will also use this time, before my brain fries out too bad, to work on social media posts. If I have time here, I may also work on whatever other projects need my attention. Sometimes this might be a new project underway, but more and more, it is maintenance or upkeep on existing material I’ve published whether on this (now gigantic) site or in my books.

  • Coffee Break

By 3PM, my head usually feels like it’s ready to fall off, so I take a thirty minute coffee break. I’m obsessed with the British Baking Show (even though I don’t bake) and have been watching it and its spinoffs pretty much non-stop for over a year. Right now, I’m extra in love with the Junior Bake Off. I usually split the episodes in half, both to make them last longer and to make sure I’m back to finish work in a reasonable amount of time.

Let me just say that for someone of my personality (who tends toward workaholism), letting making myself taking this break in the middle of the afternoon has been a game changer. It totally recharges my energy both physically and emotionally (because JBO is hilarious!), lets me rest my eyes for a bit, and gets me moving at least a little bit away from desk.

  • Email/Shopping/Education

I return to my desk around 3:30 to tie up the day’s loose ends. Usually, I will sort and answer emails at this point, as well as look through my “daily” sites, such as those for the weather and personal banking. I keep several different email accounts, which allows me to sort my emails into categories—business stuff, social media stuff, and subscriptions/shopping stuff. I don’t let myself look at the subscriptions/shopping one until last, since it can see me opening a dozen tabs I want to look at and explore.

Sometimes I will use this last bit of the afternoon to work on projects, but I also let myself use this time for educational purposes. If there’s a YouTube video I want to watch, a course I’ve purchased, or just an article I want to study, this is in when I work on it.

Evening Routine

  • Supper and Household Chores

I quit the computer at 5:30, eat supper, then usually spend thirty to forty minutes catching up on other chores, like laundry and house cleaning.

  • TV/Tiny Bit of Phone Time

Then it’s finally time to collapse on the couch (on my infrared mat again) for a hour and a half or so to watch TV (I admit it: kinda a Jeopardy! nerd), before starting my evening routine. I usually let myself have a tiny bit of phone time first, usually just browsing online shopping that I might not have had time to really do (or enjoy) earlier. My phone is off by 8:20PM. I put on my heavy-duty blue light glasses and don’t look at another screen for the rest of the night.

  • Final Practices

I try to journal every night. I’ve journaled sporadically throughout my life, before completely falling off the wagon for a few years when I was going through a tough time. But then, toward the end of that rough patch, I started writing at least a page every day. I believe it is a practice I will continue throughout my life. Not only is it cathartic and brain-clearing in the moment, but I have found so much support and context for my own process by being able to look back through old journals and see where my head was at during certain challenges and decisions. I make it a daily point to read the journal entry from one year previous, and it is often so enlightening and comforting (and humbling) to see how I have changed (or not changed) in regard to particular struggles or goals.

  • Earthing

During the summer months, I get to do one of my favorite things ever, and that is walk outside at night with no light but the moon and the stars, and no company except the trees talking to the night birds. (At the house I lived in previously, I got to walk in a centuries’ old graveyard. Oh yeah.) This year, I bought myself a pair of leather earthing shoes so I can get the added benefit of grounding out the day’s electricity while strolling.

  • Reading

By now, it’s nearing 9:30PM and I’m pretty zonked. I end my day reading fiction and try to be in bed by 10:30. (A little earlier would probably be better, but the books are just too good, you know?)

***

So there’s my day in the life. Obviously, this is my “ideal” routine, with no interruptions from outside sources or appointments or shopping trips, etc. It’s a good day. It’s a day I’m always happy to wake up to and always feel satisfied at the end of. I hope this little peek into my life right now was interesting and that perhaps you picked up one or two ideas that feel inspiring for your life as well!

Wordplayers, tell me your opinions! What does your daily routine look like? Tell me in the comments!

Click the “Play” button to Listen to Audio Version (or subscribe to the Helping Writers Become Authors podcast in Apple Podcast or Amazon Music).

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About K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland

K.M. Weiland is the award-winning and internationally-published author of the acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs. A native of western Nebraska, she writes historical and fantasy novels and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.

Comments

  1. I’m jealous. Your day sounds fabulous! I spend my day in a stuffy office doing a job I hate. I scrape to find time to write.

  2. Barbara A Mealer says

    I’m one of those whose schedule is always in flux due to a paying job. I work on my writing at work when not busy. I easily put in 3-4 hours of writing/editing/outlining, or learning while at work and when at home. On my days off, I’ll work for 2 hours, take a break. Go play with my dogs or visit the horses or just chill by enjoying the view. then return to work.
    I live in the middle desert, so it is dry with a lot of juniper, brown grasses, and wild life like my pronghorn, jack rabbit, cotton tails, road runner, moles, a few snakes and of course the every present bugs. Being outside is a must for me, even in the winter. I enjoy the warm weather but also like my winters where we do get snow and heat with a wood stove.
    I’m learning to set aside time to do the things I avoid because I don’t feel like I’m good at it like social media, setting up a website, etc. And unlike you, I do everything on the computer because I misplace papers all the time. My reading time is while my other half is watching TV. To keep from getting lost oin research on the computer, I allow only 5 clicks and then I have to return to work.

  3. Thanks for this. So just to be clear: your writing time is an hour per day? I’m surprised you manage to be so prolific with books though you clearly invest a lot of time in the blog and social side of life. Does this change depending where you’re at with your writing project?

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      That’s what I’m doing right now. I took several years off from fiction writing and am just now easing back into it.

  4. Wow, sounds awesome! My schedule is more of an idea than a practice, but I’m working on new habits that will help it solidify. This is an encouragement!

  5. Funny how much you sound like me. The EMF awareness, balanced food, blue light glasses, healthy shoes, the whole nine yards. ^_^
    Thanks for the post! It’s always fun to read other peoples’ routines.

  6. John Dorsey says

    So relate to much of what you’ve written here, Katie, even though I am writing only minimally right now. From the importance of meditation/prayer/stretching time in the morning, to the EMF grounding (Really? How many others have I met who even know what that is?), to the walking (my daily one-hour form of exercise). As an INFJ and “creative” who also works at home and lives alone, one thing I add is to have daily contact with PEOPLE – either in person, by phone, or Zoom. Otherwise, too much alone time for contemplation on self/God/universe/Life can turn into “morbid introspection,” as the spiritual teacher James Finley said. It’s kind of Mental Health 101. Sometimes I have to force myself to do it when a new writing inspiration strikes, and I don’t want to let any of that lightning in a bottle escape – preferring to spend the next eight hours without a break in a brainstorming fire session capturing every character and arc and sub-plot and snatches of dialogue that won’t stop coming. (And I have done this, many times!) Thankfully, I have many great friends in my life who are a true pleasure to connect with and who balance out my solitary tendencies. Lastly, I also have some body pain issues and would like to pass on two recommendations: The Gokhale Method (gokhalemethod.com), which teaches primal posture, and the work of John Sarno, MD and protoges (Drs. Hanscom https://backincontrol.com and Schubiner

    ), who document and treat the powerful relationship between emotions and pain. Okay, back to work-work now (the bill paying kind). Blessings.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Thanks for sharing. Gokhale sounds familiar. I’ll definitely check it out.

    • Hi John! Thanks for sharing this info. I’m looking into it.

      And thanks, K.M. For sharing your routine with your readers. I’m about to start writing full
      -time so this was very helpful!!

  7. Colleen Janik says

    This is the post I’ve been waiting for! Alas and now I see that, at least what I believe, is that you actually seem to be a naturally organized individual. I can picture that back in junior high and high school you were very likely a self-disciplined student who started that book report the first day just like the teacher said.
    I have your wonderful book on outlining and I love it and it use it, but there is also a natural part of me that wrestles with being so disorganized as far as my notes and sequence of events, all and that.
    I suppose that if I discipline myself to sit in the same chair everyday at the same time, the organization will follow.
    It’s also fascinating to see how the physical habits such as exercise, fresh air, and good nutrition make a difference in our productivity.
    Thank you again for all your help!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I do believe the key to successful habits is recognizing the natural bends and curves of our personalities. Structure is my happy place; I have to consciously work at spontaneity. But others are different, and the spontaneity is their greatest gift.

      • Colleen Janik says

        THANK YOU for reminding me, and others that we do have spontaneity and other gifts. God can work with all of us and He does send us each inspiration to use and to share.

  8. This is timely, because I’ve been struggling to set a schedule for myself. I was literally scolding myself about it when I came to this post. My sleep patterns are all messed up right now, partly for external reasons and partly because I just don’t sleep as well as I need to.

    To combat my sleep trouble I’m experimenting with “green noise” (which as far as I can tell just means nature-oriented white noise, like rainfalls, etc). I stumbled across a video at the Guild of Ambience on YouTube that puts me in a relaxing mood in the hours before bedtime, of a thunderstorm and cracking fireplace.

    My thing is that I’m a natural night owl, so I enjoyed writing around midnight or later, because anyone who might interrupt me would be asleep.

    But … I come from a family of night owls, which means that since my parents are retirement age, my mother now calls me at 2 am 🙂 Not to mention the friend who works the night shift. I’m strongly contemplating becoming a full-time Day Walker until I can cross a few things off my to-do list 😉

    I’m getting back to my long-neglected journal as well, and my mother actually sent me an email about the importance of “writing the vision” just an hour ago. Synchronicity!

    On one hand, my to-do list is short, but on the other hand everything on it is time-intensive. So, a establishing a routine has become a necessity.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      In regards to struggling with certain habits, something I’ve been learning for myself is to hold those habits in a bit of compassion. To look at them and ask *why* is some part of me insisting on doing this (staying up too late, etc.)? Instead of condemning that part, I try to understand the deeper wisdom it’s communicating. Even if it’s running a script that isn’t productive, the underlying reason is almost always sound. If I can identify and work with that, I can often find a more effective way to meet that need.

      • That’s an exercise that bears looking into. I can pinpoint one thing in particular, a thread worth following. Thanks!

        • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

          Yay! Pull the thread! That’s one of my favorite ways to start on something. Never know where it will lead you. 🙂

  9. He, where’s the sleeping? Speaking for the geezer contingent, there’s nothing more important that a good night’s sleep!
    I have to be honest. I’ve completely lost control of my writing schedule since I got returned to the office, which took about 90 minutes of free time out of my daily schedule. I write when I get the chance to, but I do some sort of writing activity (outlining, critting, revising, drafting) almost every day other than Sunday. If you count journaling, I write every day. I know at some point I need to fix time for writing and book appointments with myself, and that will probably happen in a few weeks.
    More seriously Katie, I do not see time for friends/family in there, and I hope those relationships are a part of your life, though I do recognize this is none of my business.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      In my book “some sort of writing activity” counts as writing as much as the writing.

  10. Okay, I love reading about other people’s routines here, but what’s bugging ME is that I saw that little clip of you sitting and writing at your desk, and… you appear to be hand-writing right to left? Is that correct? I watched it 2 or 3 times, and yeah… you DO appear to be writing in your notebook RIGHT TO LEFT, which to me is BACKWARDS. Can you clarify that at all?

  11. I love the peacefulness of your day. Calm and quiet and all the connecting with nature. We are hoping to move out of town and onto some acres this year (lots of miracles need to happen).

  12. Thank you for sharing this. It’s inspiring. I start my day with meditation and some stretching, but sleeping issues mean I’m not a morning person. I would like to be; I miss mornings. Catch up on emails, blogs, and some Duolingo. Afternoons are writing time. Exercise before dinner, usually too much TV (I’ve already binged TGBBS & Jr.), then reading to calm my mind before sleep. My routine has improved since I started, and I’m keen to continue improving. Keeping a weekly planner on my desk helps keep me accountable.

    “The more control you have over your attention, the more control you have over your future.” Love this.

  13. So fun to see your daily routine and the lovely pictures, esp. of you out in the meadow surrounded by trees. I’m another INTJ who thrives on routines. I try to write morning pages daily, but resume them after morning Mass if I don’t get up in time. I need to do morning chores before writing though and love walking with my dog. Since covid times, my husband has been joining me for walks and I have to admit as much as I love it, I still miss my solitary walks. I’ve started walking to church though (it’s newly built on our island and soooo beautiful) so it’s a perfect way to get additional quiet time. Best writing time for me has changed over the years. In the beginning, it was at night after I put my husband and kids to bed. I’d take an afternoon nap with my kiddos and an hour nap bought me 2-3 hrs at night 🙂 Later, it was during school hours. But 2:30pm always came too early for me. lol. I still kind of keep school hours but enjoy writing until about 4pm. Once in a while I’ll stay up late. There’s just something about the night-time that’s just so wonderful. I can’t explain it. But I can banish any distracting with a simple “demain.” Our landlord in Belgium always said this if we asked him for anything, lol. I’ve discovered I was much more disciplined with kids at home. Now I can while an entire day away reading (I call it research–all of it, hehe). But it sure is nice having grown kids. When they visit, all routines go out the window.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I agree. I love writing in the winter evenings, when the night comes early. There’s just something very grounded about being in a small pool of lamplight with the darkness all around.

  14. Thanks for this peek into your daily routines, it gives me inspiration for some adjustments I can make.

  15. At first, I thought this post was satire.
    Daily Routine Of a Full Time Writer…. and then writing only one hour a day lol
    I write more than that with a full time job but if it works for you that´s even better I guess.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      That’s just fiction writing. I have a probably “bad” tendency to think of writing time as only applying to fiction. “Projects” are what I call non-fiction. But, yeah, I spend more time in the business of writing than the actual writing on most days.

  16. This is SO interesting, Katie! Thanks for sharing!

    First of all, shout out to all your crunchy references. 😉 Morning sunlight, EMFs, lemon water, grounding/earthing–my wife and I have been on our own healing journeys the last few years, so I really appreciate those rhythms.

    In terms of the actual writing life, I’ve got a question for you, but it takes a bit of rambling context first. I’ve done quite a bit of thinking around what a full-time writing life would look like for me (what writer hasn’t?), and I know that I would struggle with a perceived lack of productivity…or at least a perceived lack of productivity that directly leads to financial output. I love the writing process itself, but I imagine I’d struggle at the end of most days with anxiety around being unsure I’d taken enough concrete steps toward growing my business. For instance, I love outlining and brainstorming and would do it all day, every day. I know it’s a necessary part of the creative process that leads to actual writing, which leads to finished books, which leads to revenue streams. But that part of the process is so loosely tied to any financial output, I feel like I’d struggle to be present to it.

    Do you ever struggle with a sense of it’s “just” outlining or it’s “just” research? Do you ever feel like you’ve wasted your time when you could’ve been doing something more productive to grow your business?

    In my heart, no creative effort is ever a waste of time. I truly believe that. Creating with our Creator has rewards in and of itself. But those rewards aren’t always financial, and you have to be more conscious of the financial impacts of your creative choices when its your livelihood, right?

    After all of my rambling, I think I’ve landed on my intended questions:

    How do you balance engaging the creative process with openness and patience while also being conscious of making decisions that impact the bottom line?

    Is it difficult to dedicate time to a creative process that may or may not lead to tangible output? I’m thinking of your morning fiction writing time, specifically. It’s pretty easy for me to dedicate a lunch hour researching stuff or brainstorming an outline because absolutely nothing is riding on it. I imagine it’s more difficult to commit time to that particular part of the process when you could be, for instance, banging out another blog post that you KNOW is going to be read by a bunch of people.

    I always appreciate your perspectives!

    Jason

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Good question. And this is something I am still working with in my own life. If you’ve followed the blog for any length of time, you may know that I spent the last seven years or so going through a major burnout, which climaxed with three years of writer’s block for my fiction.

      I have learned so much in these years about the importance of a creative life including downtime and scheduled space for just being and thinking and dreaming. But I still catch myself–all the time–feeling like I’m not being productive enough. I have spent a lot of this year working through programming about what actually adds value to my life and my job and the bottom line–and it isn’t always the tasks with the most obvious productive output.

      Actually, I may write a post on this, because it has been and continues to be such a huge growth arc for me: that creativity happens as much, if not more, in the non-productive moments as in the moments actually spent writing or producing something for public consumption.

      It’s a balance for sure, and I have worked (and am working) through a lot of lack-based mindsets that being able to earn a livelihood only happens if I’m pushing myself to produce, produce, produce.

    • Katie, if I had to support myself with my writing, I doubt I would feel that I could take that hour to work on stories of my heart. I would be far more interested in commercially-driven books. Also, I find nonfiction a lot less taxing than fiction. I used to question the value of creative work that didn’t give results right away, but I had a shift in my attitude after my religious conversion. I’m in this for the long haul and I try to remember that nothing is wasted. I’ve been singing in our little Latin choir for a decade and only now able to sing alone or hold my part. But it’s still hard and I’m often just a beat away from completely falling apart. I think of artists like Vincent van Gogh who didn’t sell a painting in his lifetime, yet, what an artist! Thank God he didn’t stop. Anyway, sorry for rambling. It’s such a good question and you are so very thoughtful in your replies. I’m learning a lot here, both from you and your commentators. Thank you all.

      • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

        @Vijaya: This is beautiful. I agree with everything you’re saying. “Nothing is every wasted” is something I return to all the time in my own life. 🙂

  17. C. O. Merp says

    I love the quote about habits. What we choose to spend our time doing shapes who we are. A fellow INTJ, I also used to be very deliberate about when and how I did tasks, duties, and practices… and then grad school happened. 🙂 The discipline developed by consistency has still been helpful in a less structured lifestyle, though!

  18. As another INTJ I found this really interesting- thank you. I’m hopeless at maintaining a routine, I even journal about how hopeless I am at sticking to a routine 🙂 I think I’m a scanner as I find focusing very difficult and I am easily distracted. I write when I’m in the mood even though my head is full of ‘stuff’…I need to try harder I think – maybe I could start with outlining my novel rather than percolating it in my head…

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Outlines have always been my best friends. You might be interested in this post I wrote about my process specifically from the viewpoint of an INTJ: https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/how-to-get-stuff-done-as-a-writer-or-how-this-intj-leverages-her-te/

      • Thank you. Love your outline book (and there’s a great James Patterson Masterclass) but I’ll go read this now

      • Holy smokes! Thank you so much for that link–I nearly cried when I read that because I go through the same stuff (Men in Black movie where a character considers all the variables–quite angelic actually) and have to force myself to get out of the studying/analysis mode. Love outlining. I’m good at revisions. But that first draft is a killer. Deadlines help. Handwriting has helped me tremendously. I didn’t quite understand the opposite thingie–but it makes sense that we need to spend some time shoring up our weaknesses.
        And Anne, I’ve done the same as you–beat myself up in my journal for not being able to stick to my own goals. We should give ourselves some grace, no?

        • I have a 115k word manuscript and I’ve abandoned it to start again. It’s pretty rough but I’m hopeless at editing. I am Olympic gold standard at beating myself up though Vijaya 😊

        • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

          I love writing by hand. I do all my brainstorming/outlining that way, and it is so helpful for dropping me into my creative brain. Glad the post resonated for you!

  19. Thanks for sharing!

    I’m currently trying to find a schedule that works for raising a puppy, tending a garden, keeping a house vaguely clean, and working on a graduate degree (in writing). So seeing a structure that includes exercise and food and breaks is genuinely inspirational. <3 Thank you for modeling those habits!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Well, it’s been a long road for me learning that schedules *should* be such. 😉 Puppies help though…

  20. This sounds like an amazing routine! I’m trying to figure out what actually works for me these days since what I used to do in my 20s was to stay up half the night writing. I’m naturally nocturnal and late night was my most productive time, but now I have two kids who are up at 6am. I also went back to paid work this year, teaching middle school English and really only got any writing done by going to the library for a few hours on one day of the weekend. I find it takes me so long to get grounded back into that world that shorter stretches don’t work very well for me. I have my girls in half day camps over the summer, so trying to maximize my mornings for productivity.
    I’ve always wondered whether I was the only writer who can’t read fiction right before bed. If I read much, then I spend all night having dreams where my mind tries to continue or finish the story and I wake up often, so it’s not restful. Maybe since I’m not writing enough during the day, my brain wants to write at night! Anyway, only nonfiction for me at bed time.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Hah, I’m exactly the opposite. I can’t read non-fiction before bed, because then my brain is off to the races integrating and expanding on what I’ve read. I like dreaming about fiction. 😉

  21. B.L. Albina says

    Mine is I do my chores first-inside or yard work outside. We will build a chicken coop at my house since we have chickens. I will have seven in all. When chores are done, I am doing two projects writing-one a novel and the other a screenplay.
    My yard work is re-planting perennials or digging holes for the ones that need to go in the ground. We are also planting grass in the not-dog yard. Walking is also good for me for ideas.
    I like to write down and then type what I write.
    I do like to watch movies that are not Westerns. I don’t like those. I do like to read.
    What do you like to read?

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Sounds lovely! I like to read a good mix of things: fantasy, romance, classics. Right now, I’m lovely Paulo Coehlo’s The Alchemist.

  22. Wow! My writer’s day is so different to yours. In a nutshell:
    8-9am = Wake up, shower, drive kids to school
    9-10am = Emails, admin, bills, phone calls, breakfast, Twitter
    10-1pm = Fiction writing, no phones allowed
    1-1:30pm = lunch, go outside
    1:30-5:30 = more writing OR research/reading/note-taking, no phones allowed (pick kids up from school at 3:15pm / make a cup of tea!)
    5:30pm until bed = dinner, TV, family time
    I like to get all the ‘worse’ stuff out of the way first, eg. paying biIls, organising appointments. My brain fries as the day goes on, so the first three hours of writing are my best/freshest. Afternoons are for reading and research. Sometimes I read in bed at night, and I also like reading on cosy Sunday afternoons. Everything I read is from the 19th century because I write historical fiction.
    P.S. I know I should be posting this under your recent ‘Imposter Syndrome’ blog, but while I’m here… you are the furthest thing from an imposter I can imagine. I’ve dissected your work on archetypes literally sentence by sentence and took paaaaages of notes a few months back. It is the most brilliant framework for character arcs I’ve ever come across, and has already greatly impacted my work. No one can hold a candle to you when it comes to this detailed level of ‘back end’ analysis!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Aw, Rebecca, thank you. I saw your comment this morning. It was a lovely way to start the day. So glad you’ve found the archetype book useful. It has been so meaningful in my own life, and I am delighted that it resonates with others as well. I have some new projects in mind along those same lines. Stay tuned! 😉

  23. Wow, sounds like a great routine. I get up 5.45 and write for an hour, then write morning pages /do journaling, meditate for 15 minutes and then start to get ready for work. I work from 9-5 and usually work out during lunch or after work. I read in the evenings. Hoping to become a full time writer to one day.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Good for you! I hope you’re able to make the transition in the perfect timing. In the meantime, this sounds great!

  24. Patricia E Fuller says

    I ran across this article and believe I will create a similar routine to your. My husband just passed away suddenly and I am seeking structure in my new life. Found it and thank you.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Sending love, Patricia. I know that schedules and routines have been so helpful in supporting me through challenging times. I hope you find exactly what is right for you.

  25. Adrienne Nesiba says

    My typical day finds me ending my overnight shift at 8am, driving home for 30 – 45 minutes, doing laundry and talking with husband and then taking a lot of medication and going to sleep. My husband wakes me between 4and 5:30pm, bathing, dressing, packing things to keep me occupied during overnight shift, and arriving at work by 8pm. then I begin my work routine with client which is highly confidential but I will tell you he can’t walk and he needs medical equipment to go from point A to point B everywhere he goes. So I take care of him, and he chooses his bedtime and waking times. He’s a good guy, I love him like younger brother, and have been with him over 10 years, working is a good experience for me, now. I have been trying to get back to my writing, but there are many interruptions at work and it’s not always easy. I still want to work out my slave girl story, that is the one that interests me. I would like it to be a series, because I loved the Sword of Truth series so much. I have worked out a romance sub story and a way to keep the series going, how to go to different locations and that sort of thing and this time I have better research material. My husband, with just him being himself provided many ideas. So I hope someday, I get to the point where I am working on this project:)

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I know how frustrating it can be when it’s difficult to find time (or energy) to write. But I have come to believe that writing sometimes has to happen in its own perfect timing. Your story will be there for you when the time is right to return fully. 🙂

      • Adrienne Nesiba says

        Thank you so much! It means so much that you have left the message. that is it in a nutshell. sometimes it is so hard to find the time and /or energy, so well said. have a great day!

  26. I begin every single day at 4 am. I write my first major drafts on good paper with a fountain pen. I harvest my subconscious thoughts from the night before with a calm and fresh mind. Ideas tumble out, plots develop magically, interesting incidents arrive in droves.
    This continues until my dog wants a walk about 7 am. I try to get two to three more hours in before family duties intrude. Creativity rapidly fades and is slaughtered by the television. The rest of the day goes to other activities, editing, researching, piano practice, and what ever. Activities later in the day can be by keyboard on my computer (I am a good typist), dictated into Dragon, version 15.6, occasionally a little editing on paper printouts.
    Creativity is dead as a doornail by 2 pm.
    I carry a small notebook everywhere I go and record random ideas when they hit. I have a pen that lights up and record ideas at night without bothering my spouse. I require many edits of my novels to polish them to a workable state. It is a joy to send them to Draft2Digital for distribution.
    My schedule is well engrained since I retired seven years ago and changed career from engineering to authoring historical fiction.
    On another topic, you posted a couple of years ago on the Enneagram. I just read it a month ago. I bought Cron and Stabile’s book as well as Personality Types by Don Riso, and have read both twice. I finally have confidence in my characters. I use especially Riso’s book to write my characters as they suffer from the burdens of stress and interact with other characters. One degenerates into PTSD.
    Kate, you have boosted my writing by many levels with these posts. I owe you profound gratitude. Thank you.
    Cliff at Desert Coyote Press

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      So glad you discovered the Enneagram and found it helpful. That’s great to hear!

  27. It was cool to hear that you are an INTJ… me too! I have appreciated your clear and precise thinking

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      INTJs are supposed to be one of the rarest personality types, but I do think there are quite a few of us who congregate around these here parts. 😉

  28. Hi Miss Weiland,
    My name is Izzy, I am fifteen years old, and I LOVE to write! I’ve been writing for personal pleasure, outside of school, for about four years now, but in the past year or so, I’ve begun truly taking my writing seriously. I would love be an author, and I’m hoping someday I’ll be good enough to make my dream come true.
    It was an absolute blessing when I discovered your website three months ago! So far, I’ve been bombarded with so much new wisdom and learned of all the intricate details needed in writing a novel! (You would never have thought when reading a particularly enchanting novel, that the author probably slaved for days trying to figure out their MC’s Ghost, Lie, Want, and Need. 😂)
    As of September, I’d been sitting on an idea for a book for a few months already and stressing over how to plot it out. (I’ve had a sketchy relationship with both plotting and pantsing and I was at a loss for where to begin.) When I discovered your website and the Storming Outline you provided, and after reading the brief introduction, I adapted your plotting technique instantly; it appealed to every part of my overcomplicating, perfectionist personality. Three months in, and so far, it’s been perfect. I love the detail you go into and the attention you pay to each and every part of your story.
    While we’re on the topic of compliments, honestly, you seem like a fun best friend who happens to be an expert on all things writing! 😊 I love your writing style and the intelligent voice it projects. I more than respect how vocal you are about your faith and appreciate to hear how you include God in your writing process. I’ve been more than grateful to be able to read your posts and expand my writing tool belt. You’re a true blessing to the writing world, miss Weiland 💙.
    I’m currently working on plotting the first novel in a fantasy series I someday hope to complete. The catch seems to be that, after a particularly troubling 2022, I can no longer write without feeling the affects of crippling self doubt and harsh inner judgement 🫢. Everyone is their own worst critic (the little voice is especially harsh as an author, I’ve heard), but I can’t seem to move past the fact that I *am* fifteen years old and not at all fit to be writing novels. There is that talent and wisdom that comes with age and experience, neither of which I possess, but I hope that it’s not a decade later until I could even be considered publishable material.
    Writing professionally has been a dream of mine for a while now, and I’m so grateful to you for helping me towards that dream. My one question to you is wondering if you have an advice or wisdom for an aspiring author working through the young stages of finding her style.
    Thank you again, miss Weiland, for writing so that others can too.
    -Izzy

    P.S. Sorry for the long bio… 😅

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Thanks for your comment, Izzy! Very glad to hear you’re enjoying the site and finding the info useful. The fact that you’re starting your writing so young is a wonderful thing. Learning to write well is a life-long journey; it’s never-ending! By beginning so early, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to gain so much experience as the years go on. Don’t be hard on yourself for being at the beginning of your journey. It’s a beautiful place to be, and it will be gone before you know it.

      I always encourage people (myself included) to focus more on the process than the outcome. I particularly like the Anne Lamott quote: “Being published isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But writing is.” Enjoy the process wherever you’re at. 🙂

      My top advice for young writers is the reminder that writing is a journey of stages. It’s hard work, but also exceptionally rewarding, so don’t lose your joy as the going gets tough. Be consistent in studying and practicing. Everything else comes with time.

      You might find these posts helpful:

      https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/writing-perfectionism/
      https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/the-writers-inner-critic/
      https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/imposter-syndrome-for-writers/

      All the best!

  29. Katie Mosher says

    On my days off my routines is something like yours. But on work days those can either be 730-2 or 7-2 or 830-430. I have two jobs. Things are changing for the better. Recently started doing a HB90 course you might know about 🙂 I started fallowing you before Sara. In the morning I have my coffee, light my morning candle while listening to soft jazz music and blog away. Then the walks, and house work, some reading then I will write as well. Now I have a new office I’m working on! So working on my planners in there.
    I know the routine will change once spring is here. Alberta is very dry and still no snow

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