How to create a writing routine

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss an interview with author Agnie Abdou about how to create a writing routine…

Angie Abdou is a Canadian author and creative writing teacher at Athabasca University. She is the author of seven books including the novels The Bone Cage and In Case I Go, and more recently the memoir, Home Ice: Reflections of a Reluctant Hockey Mom.

A friend of mine recently sent me an email with the subject line, “piece you might like” and it contained a link to an interview with Abdou. I could see right away why my friend had sent it to me.

Abdou’s advice reflects many of my own beliefs about how to succeed as a writer. For example, in answer to a question about how and where she writes, here is what she said:

“I’m pretty regimented. I come to writing as an athlete, and I’ve transferred the discipline, routine, and work ethic I used in swimming to writing. That’s the only way I know how to do it. When I’m working on a book project, I work every day. The momentum that builds from that (obsessive?) attachment to the work is key to my process. Ideas only arrive – and the story only comes to life – when I commit to daily time with the manuscript. I prefer to write first thing in the morning, then go for a run (where the most creative stuff happens), and then come back to the page for another hour or so.”

I especially like Abdou’s idea of taking a break for exercise mid-morning, after she has written for awhile but, crucially, before she has stopped working for the day. I think she’s quite right that this is when the most creative stuff happens.

If you have ever struggled with how to create a writing routine, read this interview and see what ideas you might be able to adopt for yourself.