When Do You Write?

I don’t know about you, but I love hearing from other writers about when/where/how they write.

Writing habits are just so interesting. Some people do it in the early morning before the sun comes up (bless those writers, I don’t know how they do it). Some write late into the night. Some do it on their lunch breaks, while others write on and off all day. Some only do it a few days a week, or only on weekends, or only when they can steal some time for themselves. Others have to be in total silence, or at their desk, or in a busy cafe, or outside with a notebook.

Photo credit below.

All the ways we write are fascinating. I think people who don’t identify themselves as writers assume strange things about those of us who do write. For example, I get the funny feeling that sometimes people in my life think I sit around all day picking at my cuticles and watching Dr. Phil because I work from home. Ah, hardly. (Although I do watch Dr. Phil if I need a break at 2pm during the week. What? Sue me. I’m only human.)

This is why I’m so interested in hearing about what works for you as a writer. We don’t really talk about writing habits that often and because of that, it seems like writing is shrouded in some kind of mystery. There’s really no mystery. It’s work, no matter if you’re writing for a client who will pay you next week or an audience of fiction readers who will maybe pay you someday.

So, when do you write? Do you have a set schedule? What hours work the best for you? I tend to write throughout the day because I work from home. I like writing in the morning, but I don’t stick to a set routine. Although, to be honest, I have been wanting to force myself into a writing schedule. Not sure if it will help or hinder me, but it’s something I want to try.

Where do you write? I know a lot of writers who have to write in their spot. I like changing the scenery, though. I have a desk in my home office where I tend to get a lot done, but I also set up shop in the living room (sitting on the couch is easier on my back), and now that the weather is nice, I’ve been holding my writing sessions out on the deck. Sometimes I head to a coffee shop or the library, but usually I stay close to home.

How do you write?  Most of us use computers nowadays. But are you the type who has to write outlines by hand, or carry a notebook everywhere, or scribble ideas on scraps of paper or the back of Starbucks receipts? How you write is just as interesting as where and when. I like to take notes by hand, whether it’s for an article, something I’m learning about, or thoughts for a story I’m writing. Lists are always handwritten, as are thank you notes. I journal sometimes and when I do it’s always by hand. But when I’m actually working on the meat of a project, I type. But when something needs large-scale edits, I’ll print it out and make changes by hand.

I think understanding our writing habits and what works for us individually can help promote productivity. If I know I’m always exhausted by 9pm, I’m not going to put off my work until the wee hours of the night. And if I need it quiet to write, I’m not going to blast Lady Gaga and assume I’ll get anything accomplished. Maybe this all seems obvious, but how often do you stop to really reflect on your habits and your preferences as a writer?

Leave me a note in the comments about your habits. I’d love to hear from you!

Photo courtesy of Paul.

7 thoughts on “When Do You Write?”

  1. I am a rainy-day writer. This is not to say I only write on rainy days, but that I work hard the rest of the week to steal a few hours on one of my days “off” (I am a journalist who maintains death notices. I have no day off.)

    I have always been super jealous, no, envious, of people who can schedule out a few hours of their day to write. The ambition! They have the same ambition for writing that smart people do for saving money: IRAs, CDs, personal financial advisors. I put my spare change in a jar and save it til it’s full, and consequently don’t save (or write) as much as I could (should?) be.

    But sometimes we can’t afford financial advisors. So we do what we can. That’s when and how I write.

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    1. Hey Kate,

      I totally agree, especially about the writers with the ambition to stick to a schedule. I’m envious of that. Maybe in time that will become more natural, but for now it feels like I have to steal time to do creative writing. The rest of my time is work-related writing. And that’s totally fine, but those 5am novel-writers blow my mind!

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    1. Sometimes I feel like if I wait for inspiration, I’ll never get enough writing done. I think holding myself to some kind of regularity, even if it’s just 400 crappy words every few days, works better and gives me more material to edit and mold versus waiting to be inspired. My bursts of inspiration come at odd times! I’ll be showering or driving when a great idea hits me, so if I hold off and only write when those ideas come, I’d have a lot of soggy, hard-to-decipher notes, haha.

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  2. Great post Kristin! I always write after work at 3:30pm, at my laptop which is on the desk in our kitchen. I guess that’s pretty predictable! But when I had first quit my job and I was unemployed, my schedule was different. I didn’t want to be holed up indoors on sunny days, so I wrote whole chapters in the backyard, scribbled down in a notebook. I also tried to write in coffee shops, but I never worked because I felt like people were spying on me! ( and creepy dudes came up and talked to me- haha) I also admire people who get up early to write. I couldn’t do that! (same thing with working out- it happens after work or never). Happy writing!!🙂

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    1. I hear you, Meredith. When it’s nice out, I take my writing outside and I occasionally try to write in coffee shops, but I get too distracted by the noise. The library is actually a much better place for me to try and get work done because it tends to be quieter and I feel like I should be working my butt off while I’m there. If we lived closer to each other we could totally do writing meet-ups, you know!🙂

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