A New Year Needs a New Routine

Megan Norris Jones

The key to being a writer is writing. The key to writing is establishing a routine. And the key to routine is consistency. But do you know what my life isn’t? Consistent. Sure, I’ll have a routine that works for a season, but schedules change, and then my routine falters, and my writing suffers.

For the second year, WriteOwls is hosting Write by Midnight in the month of February with the goal of helping you—and us—establish a daily writing routine by the end of the month.

Write by Midnight was a huge success for me personally last year. At the time, I had five hours every Tuesday to write, and  I used Write by Midnight to establish a short daily morning routine to keep my momentum going throughout the week.

But, do you know what? I don’t have Tuesdays any more. And I don’t have mornings either. Life has changed since February 2017, and I need a new push to establish a new routine.

So when can I write? Turns out it’s time to return to my old undergraduate ways and just stay up later to get it done. My goal for February is to write for ten minutes (or more!) every night.

I’m not perfect yet. I’ve already had one mini-crisis that cut into my late-night writing time, but even if I’m tired and ready to fall into the bed, I can usually convince myself to work for just ten minutes. Some nights by the end of that time, I discover that my eyes have actually been closed for the past three minutes. I won’t lie. Those nights are discouraging.

Other nights, my story sparks, and ten minutes is nowhere near long enough. I hit my stride and keep going well past midnight. But whether the night is discouraging or inspired, each night combines with the next night to create a pattern of writing. The momentum toward a habit is building.

We are almost halfway through the month. Are you at least halfway to your goal? If not, what tweaks can you make to get on track? If so, what advice can you offer the rest of us? Is your habit building?

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