Last week, author and writing expert, K. M. Weiland, talked about one of my favorite subjects:
What does the daily routine of a full-time writer look like?
I love discovering how successful authors structure their time. It lets you see their process and humanizes the work they do, and makes the writing professional feel more realistic.
K. M. Weiland is a full-time author who, I suspect, generates most of her income from her website for helping authors. She also writes Historical fantasy, but when you look at her schedule you can see where her focus goes:
Here’s a summary of her writing routine:
- She takes ~2-3 hours in the morning to focus on health and personal well-being
- She starts writing at about 10 or 11 am and ends work at 5:30 (with frequent breaks in between)
- She spends about an hour on her fiction. The rest is devoted to working on her author blog, Helping Writers Become Authors
- She takes time for personal well-being throughout the day, which helps her maintain a healthy, stable routine for the long term (think: years of writing).
My favorite quote from the article:
“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.”
Structuring your time can free up a HUGE amount of headspace. Instead of worrying about the next task (or a big list of tasks), you get to focus only on the work of the moment:
- Fall in love with a book for half an hour
- Write deeply for an hour
- Go on a walk and let your mind wander.
Stop worrying about “what’s next” and start enjoying what’s right in front of you. Looking at Weiland’s schedule, you can tell she’s very careful about not letting work creep into her rest, and not letting distractions creep into her work.
Lately, I’ve been practicing a similar schedule. Thanks to a few books on time management (like Nir Eyal’s Indistractable) I create my schedule for the day each morning. Do I get more done? Sometimes. But the real benefit comes from my state of mind: I’m much more focused when I need to be, and much more relaxed when I’m on break.
More Eye-Opening Notes from a Writer’s Routine:
- She doesn’t write first thing in the morning. Instead, she focuses on herself and her values first. I love this.
- She weaves self-care, breaks, and healthy habits into every chunk of her day. Is this the secret to maintaining a routine for months and years?
- She only spends about 1 hour writing fiction! That’s so little time. I think I would barely be able to sink into a project if I only had an hour to work on it. Most of her work time is spent on her writing blog and business than working on her fiction. Makes sense—especially if that’s what she loves doing.
Every writer’s routine is highly-personalized. You can’t copy other authors, but you can take inspiration to enhance your own life. I found Weiland’s routine eye-opening: she creates time for her values and interests. She commits to writing regularly, and building a sustainable creative practice.
Judging by the popularity of her books and her website, her consistent efforts are paying off.
What Does Your Ideal Writing Routine Look Like?
- How does your day begin?
- Which chunk of time do you devote to writing?
- What habits do you wish you performed every single day?
- What would you do to restore yourself during and at the end of each day?
- How would completing a successful day of this ideal routine make you feel?
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Tell me about your current or ideal writing routine. Are you writing full-time or part-time, like me?