Musings, Writing

Writing habits

I wondered yesterday whether it’s important to develop writing habits, whether you need to set up a routine to make writing work for you or whether you should go with the flow and write wherever and whenever you can. I realised that I have developed a writing routine without really meaning to – I write at the dinning room table on my laptop. I tend to do better early on with my attention waning by the afternoon. I don’t know if this has happened by accident or whether this is my writing habit – the optimum environment for me to write well. Would I struggle if I changed my environment?

I’m guessing that quite a few writers have a writing routine – a certain place or time that works the best for them. JK Rowling famously wrote Harry Potter in cafes in Edinburgh.


I’ve never written in public. Kind of feels like a confession. But it’s true – I’ve never felt the need to take my writing out into the big wide world. Some of this I’m sure is a slight fear or embarrassment about people noticing me writing but mostly I wonder if I would concentrate as I like to people watch plus I don’t drink coffee – yes another confession, I hope this hasn’t shocked my fellow writers πŸ™‚ – so I’m not that attracted to coffee shops. Plus I’d probably eat too many cupcakes!

But I’m intrigued about writers who have a place they like to go to write. Perhaps they are inspired by the people around them or are too distracted by other things at home. The internet I’m sure holds many a writer back so maybe getting out of the house means they can just focus on writing. Although if they end up somewhere with free Wi-Fi, it may not work. I wonder if I’ll ever find somewhere that feeds my inspiration and makes me want to write there or if I’ll always stick to writing at home. Perhaps my writing routine is too entrenched now and I’d fail if I changed it or maybe that’s just crazy and I could write anywhere.


What is your writing habit? Would you be scared to change it?




52 thoughts on “Writing habits”

  1. Wake up — orange juice, coffee.
    Back to bed — 500-600 words
    Back to bed — 500-600 words
    Eat something
    500-600 words (at table) or re-read the morning’s output.

    I think I just really like being in bed.

    1. I sometimes write in bed when the dinning room is off limits but seriously I’ve hurt my shoulder and I think it’s because of that. Also Marian Keyes slipped a disc in her back writing in bed. So be careful πŸ™‚

  2. It sounds strange, but it really depends on the weather for me. If it’s cold I like to write on my bed (or in my bed!), but if it’s warm I prefer to sit at a desk or table.

    I’m generally a bit more productive in the morning too, or in the evening. I’m good for pretty much nothing straight after lunch…

  3. I write pretty much anywhere. A lot of times I leave the house simply because, if I don’t, I feel like I am completely alone in the world. I often go to a Barnes & Noble coffee shop because I feel like I can sit there and not buy anything (although usually I get a chai). It does have WiFi, so sometimes that distracts me, but if I’m really into my writing it won’t. Some days I want to be home and write.

    I don’t think the routine or location matter as much as simply making yourself write. I haven’t been doing that much lately because my writing time has been interrupted by a horrible work schedule and illness. On MW, in order to teach my one 12:30pm class I have to get to campus 2-3 hours early to find parking. I don’t have an office, so I head to the library, coffee shop but I CAN’T WRITE THERE. 😦

    1. It can be a bit lonely writing at home but if I get into what I’m writing and have music on, the time usually slips by. Sounds like you have a nice place to go – I’m not sure where I would go to write actually. I agree – getting the words down is the most important thing! I hope you get your writing time back soon πŸ™‚

  4. I always shied away from the idea of writing in cafes/public, as it just seems too easy to turn into a pretentious writer cliche. However, now that I’m self employed, and spend all day working in one room with no human contact, the idea of being in a busy environment with other humans is much more appealing.

    I don’t think I have a set writing routine, although I do work better at night. Unfortunately my brain seems to really get into gear in the early hours of the morning when I really should go to sleep. But I try not to have an actual writing routine, as it’s overall a creative endeavour, and for me to formalise it would sap the creativity out of it. I can see that it works brilliantly for other people though.

  5. I try to have a routine, but I have a lot of people who sabotage it! Not my husband, he’s very supportive.
    Mostly write at home, mostly in my cupboard, but I have been known to write in hotel rooms, and in cafes occasionally too.
    And I’ve written morning noon and night time, depending on how my time has been stolen by others and how the Muse moves me. If I can’t sleep, then I will often get up and write.

  6. I understand the attention waning by afternoon thing. I’m totally a morning person, so I try to make sure I get up early every day to capitalize on my productive writing/editing time. I love working in coffee shops πŸ™‚ I find that sometimes the background noise helps me concentrate.

  7. I don’t like writing in front of other people. Even if my husband is in the same room as me, I feel paranoid that he’s looking over my shoulder! And I’m not a big coffee drinker either. For whatever reason, I could down a cup of coffee or a bottle of Ex-Lax, and they would both have the same effect on me…

  8. I can write scenes anywhere. I always have a notebook with me. But I put everything together on my laptop in the kitchen. And I revise using the desktop in my living room. =) I wish I could read/write in transit. I get motion sickness. =(

  9. I write anywhere, any time I can. If I’m away from a computer, I feel like my arms have been chopped of. (I don’t write long hand because I can’t read my writing and I can’t write as fast as my brain can spew out the words). I’ve been away from my blog for almost 2 weeks and I’m going nuts. I’m happy I will be back to my normal routine on Monday.

  10. I like writing at my desk and I usually clear everything off it before I begin (except basic things like a pen pot). This is because I get too distracted and when writing passionately I don’t like to be surrounded by too much. It’s really difficult to explain – I guess that shows how much of a personal habit it is – but it’s like the things around me are being nosy. It needs to be just me and my notepad/laptop.

  11. I really wish that I could say I do, but I don’t. I don’t drink coffee either. The beach is nice in theory, but not in practice, with all the sand and all. Haha. I really just want my own writing space. As soon as I have the money to make it happen, I will. I’ve picked out the most awesome desk which I was supposed to get for my birthday last year. It was paid for and everything, but months later when it still wasn’t deliver, I got a refund. 😦

  12. Great post Victoria! I used to write while working full time. I wrote on a post it during lunch, edited pages on the subway. Drafted scenes in doctor’s offices. I prefer to write at my desk on my laptop, but I’m pretty flexible and tend to seize the moment when inspiration or time permits. πŸ™‚

  13. I prefer writing habits because I am naturally a creature of habit. I feel very unsettled if I don’t write at 4am, for instance. As far as writing in public, the only time I’ll do that is if I’m struck with an idea and I have to write it down lest I forget it. Otherwise, I keep my writing to myself, in the privacy of my study.

  14. There’s absolutely no way I could write in public. I have to be in my bedroom to spread out all my notes, outlines, and everything else I might need handy. I figure if someone walked in they’d see a mess, but really I know where everything is when I’m in the midst of it working.

  15. I’ve never written in public either. When I do try to do that, I just end up getting distracted by everything and eventually put away my notebook/laptop. I prefer to write at home at my desk, with my headphones on to tune out any distractions. πŸ™‚

  16. I write on my laptop and sometimes even on notes on my iphone if I am in bed. I like this concept of writing out in public, never done it and I am a little afraid to but I think I am going to push myself to do it one day. It sounds a bit rebellious in a way especially if you’re afraid you are going to get caught.

    1. Ah yes the iPhone is handy for a quick note or two! I think it’s worth trying to see if you like it or not but if you’ve found a way of writing to suit you, you don’t have to change it.

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