Nathan Bransford, Author


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

What's your writing routine?


Much like athletes warming up for a big game, just about every writer I know has a routine to get them ready and focused to write.

What's yours?

Mine: I wake up relatively early on the weekend (7:30-8:00am), start up a pot of coffee, go outside to get a bagel or breakfast sandwich, come back, turn on soccer, answer emails, and then get myself started writing.

What about you?

Art: Été by Claude Monet






33 comments:

JohnO said...

I marinate in a puddle of coffee, neurosis and self-doubt, just like everyone else.

Andrea said...

I get up at 6:30 and get ready for the day. Then I get my toddler up and feed us both. I catch up on email and social networking, along with my responsibilities in committees. Then we have snacks and I make sure I've got fresh water on hand. I turn on music, make sure she my girl has toys to play with, and pop a piece of gum. Then I'm ready to get started. :-)

Andrea said...

I get up at 6:30 and get ready for the day. Then I get my toddler up and feed us both. I catch up on email and social networking, along with my responsibilities in committees. Then we have snacks and I make sure I've got fresh water on hand. I turn on music, make sure she my girl has toys to play with, and pop a piece of gum. Then I'm ready to get started. :-)

Ryan C said...

Yup. That is "relatively" early speaking as a kidless man. By 8:00 I'm into my afternoon coffee and feeding the kiddos for a second time! Pretty haphazard with the writing these days as I'm making a career change, but super early and dedicating a chunk of internet free time in a place with no Wifi seems to put a few words on the screen. Haven't been here in a while. Garnered a lot of useful information years ago. Thanks for keeping the site up and running. Cheers. Ryan

Carol Coven Grannick said...

Up at 5am ("day job" from 10-6), glasses on, coffee made, settle in for a solid two hours of work time. After day job, another couple of hours of business-related writing work.

Bruce Bonafede said...

Beverages are required, either coffee if it's morning or wine if it's evening. No distractions; I can't work if there's music on or TV or radio. I stop checking email; my clients know if I don't answer an urgent email they should text me (and they do, unfortunately). Then I take out my Shakespeare action figure and stand him up on my desk for inspiration.

Mary Ellen said...

I have a day shift factory job where I have frequent access to coffee and stay very busy. I only get to write on the weekends, so I get up at the same time, make that coffee and use my routine to stay busy writing for hours. Except when chores get in the way, alas.

Nadine Brandes said...

I get up around 8 (I don't have kids either yet, so I figure this number will change when I do), make some tea and toast, play piano while the water's boiling (and to get my blood and brain flowing), take a half hour of focus and prayer time, and then jump into the manuscripts.

dolorah said...

I check out a few blog posts and e-mails too. Just to get myself in the writing mode. Diet Pepsi is my steady infusion of energy. When I am working though, its a hit and miss in the evenings.

Mike Ranson said...

Emails are death to writing. I even go so far as to write on an old laptop on which all forms of connectivity have been disabled because the internet, generally, is bad for writing.

I need to get into the 'fuzzy thinking' mode. Things like emails, or any non-fiction work, seem to engage and awaken the wrong parts of the brain. Those parts need to be quiet while the fuzzy-thinking, day-dreaming parts take over: the parts that are capable of childish impossibilities, of ignoring the laws of physics, of twisting reality around their middle digit.

The problem is that those parts are often shy and even a taste of some serious-minded reasoning or technical discourse can send them scuttling back into the shadow of my rational adult mind.

So preparation usually consists of time spent constructively doing nothing, except perhaps drinking tea and staring out of the window while I wait for the creative juices to start to flow.

But email first? That's an absolute no.

Anonymous said...

I like to caffeine up and eat chocolate while reading Nathan Bransford! Your blog is my official switch from corporate writing work and my own blog to the literary world... and The Book Zone. Glad to see you're blogging more often these days. Thanks!

Tiffany said...

I like to caffeine up and eat chocolate while reading Nathan Bransford! Your blog is my official switch from corporate writing work and my own blog to the literary world... and The Book Zone. Glad to see you're blogging more often these days. Thanks!

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I like going to coffee shops to write, and fortunately in Chicago there are plenty of coffee shops. I wake up early so I can get to one of the cafes early and avoid the later morning crowds. I also like how the coffee shops typically play good music that isn't too distracting. And, of course, I love coffee.

A. A. Woods said...

I get up at 7:30-8:00, make myself a cup of coffee to begin the caffeine drip. I throw together some sort of breakfast, and then I go up to my writing desk to edit the last bit of what I wrote the day before. Then I get into it, keeping a mug of something hot with me at all times and delving into the desk snacks when my wandering mind needs a break.

Emily Wenstrom said...

On weekdays I get up between 5 and 5:30, get ready for work as quickly as I can, and then write for about 40-80 minutes until I have to leave for the office.

On weekends, I wake up at 7 and write on the couch while my husband enjoys TODAY and we jointly down a pot of coffee together.

Emily Wenstrom said...

On weekdays I get up between 5 and 5:30, get ready for work as quickly as I can, and then write for about 40-80 minutes until I have to leave for the office.

On weekends, I wake up at 7 and write on the couch while my husband enjoys TODAY and we jointly down a pot of coffee together.

Cinthia said...

Oh dear, I am totally not a morning writer or morning person in general. I take delicious long runs in the afternoon, come home, eat, catch up on email/social media and usually begin writing around 9 p.m. I then write half the night or, when it's going well, all night. I sleep late, slog around for a few hours, go out running and start all over again.

I don't drink coffee (hate the stuff) but do cram in an ungodly amount of chocolate when stuck in a plot.

Sandra Stiles said...

During the school year most of my writing is done on the weekend. I still get up between 5:30 and 6:00 in the morning. I pour a cup of coffee and re-read what I had last written. I read any notes I had made during the week of ideas for my writing then I begin. I write until my mom gets up. When my husband gets up he pours his coffee and sits quietly at his computer. When my mother is up all bets are off. That is usually around 8 or 8:30. When she takes her nap in the afternoon I have another two hours to write. Any other writing time is a bonus.

Rebecca Taylor said...

When I'm working on actual writing (not editing, fixing, tweaking, etc) I get up at 4:00am, put on the same tatty robe I've had for the last 12 years, slippers, find my glasses, fix a cup of coffee in the Keurig--black, find my laptop, and open to the current chapter. I read my last few lines/paragraphs and then get typing. I work until 5:30-6:00 and then wake my kids up for school. Then I get dressed for my day job (school psychologist) and we are out the door by 6:45-7:00. Work all day, pick the kids up from school (homework, piano, dinner, laundry, life, etc) try to get everyone in bed by 9:00 and then write until 10:00 (maybe) if I'm not too exhausted. Much like Ryan C., my body has not been in contact with my bed anywhere near 8:00am for a very, very, very long time (but it sounds quite lovely)

Naomi Bellina said...

Different every day. My work schedule varies, a lot. I have last-minute clients so I have to be ready to stop and go to work. But then, sometimes I can sneak in time between clients and late at night when I don't have to be up early. Variety is good.

wendy said...

When working on the early drafts, when the story is new and exciting, I beaver away day and night. No routine. However, when at the stage I'm at currently - trying to get the ms into acceptable html format for Kindle - I seem to let it slide and sleep more. I only enjoy creative or spiritual things as I'm far up that end of the spectrum. Anything else is avoided as much as possible. Originally, I did hire someone to do the formatting, however mistakes still existed and then I kept changing things and adding extra elements... This work will prob be published posthumously.

author Christa Polkinhorn said...

I get up at 5:30 am and write for three solid hours. Ha, ha. Just kidding. I get up, have tea, then coffee, go for a walk, write, eat a piece of chocolate, drink a glass of wine, work, write, sleep, eat, read--but not necessarily in this order. Happy Writing, fellow scriveners!

Amalie Berlin said...

I roll out of bed and write. And only once I've gotten started, is it okay to do anything else. Like tinkle. Or get something to drink. 400-500 words before anything else, or my brain heads off in other directions and I have a hard time getting it to the computer.

I only have so much deep thinking in me a day, and if I waste it pondering the best way to (insert anything here), then I don't have it to spare writing. My first 2 hours of waking are gold, but after that I'm brain dead and worthless!

So I agree with Mike Ranson. Email is a no! Among other things that require thinking :)

John "Ol' Chumbucket" Baur said...

I wake at 5:45, make coffee, get wife and kid off to school. Drink coffee, lots of coffee, Check email, if there's nothing I have to do for my job, I get to work.

Quackerdoodle Jones said...

I learned in the Navy that it is possible to be up and awake at 4 am, and I learned from having kids that it's possible to put that time to productive use. Now that the kids are grown, I'm following Winston Churchill's example by getting to bed as soon after dinner as possible, say 7 pm (in winter, when there's no company). Then up at 1 am to work until 5, down for a nap and back at work by 9 am - 4 pm. . . .

Lady J said...

There's just something about writing at 6 a.m. when the sun is up and everyone else in the house is asleep. When I write, I wake up and write. I don't distract myself with things that are not writing: e-mails, research, editing, getting things together for the rest of the day, etc. I find that if I take care of all the other different things I'll need for later in the day first, I won't have a chance to write. Plus, I like the ideas that are floating around when I first wake up. I also like the ideas that are floating around right before I fall asleep but I never seem to do them justice when I write at night.

Magdalena Munro said...

Since I spread myself between my painting and writing, I tend to write in the morning and paint in the evenings. I work full time and am a single Mom so write from 4:00-6:30 every morning and paint from 7:30-10:00ish while having a glass or two of wine, eating, watching TV in the background. I love my life and have no complaints! I can't even fathom having a boyfriend because that would muck up my routine. :)

Shellah Inman said...

Wake up at 6:30 play cell phone game for 15 min. Then get out of bed and make coffee. Sit on couch and check email and finally start writing.

Topher said...

My routine has to revolve around working standard office hours and family life evenings and weekends. So generally at midday I get to a coffee quick, order a coffee, pull out my notebook and pen and get writing! Then when I am in full flow g have to pack up and get back to work to eat my sandwiches at my desk while working! Sometimes I have been able to go to outside locations, woods, historic houses and grounds, caves etc. where I can incorporate the sights, sounds and smells into my writing. Later on a transcribe onto the computer doing a first edit then, when I can get my daughter and wife off it first :-)

My dream would be to have a small writing office above a garage with views across fields and trees where I would settle down at around 9am to start writing, stopping only for freshly made sandwich, until about 3pm. Then relax for the rest of the day :-)

georgefripley said...

I pull out my guitar and write a song or just jam for a while - then go for a run (5km should do it) and then my mind is just buzzing with ideas. Seems to do the trick. If it doesn't work, then I read the paper because there is so much stuff in a paper to spark and idea. Then I write some shit and feel pretty happy!

LA Jefferson said...

After reading all the other comments, I'd like to recommend all of you to Coffee Addicts Anonymous. LOL! As for myself, I hate to admit that my routine is non-existent. I write whenever I can find some free time, which isn't often enough, which is why it's taken me four years to complete my 2nd manuscript. But, I've got one kid in college and the other is on his way to middle school so I'm looking forward to the days when I'll have a little more of my time for me. Until then, I'll just keep writing.

Pimion said...

Coffee, some food for my brain from the Web (check email, favourite blogs, Twitter)and then writing. I usually need some time to focus but it happens when I just have the words pop up in my head and start to write them down. So, no any specific routine.

Marion said...

I'm TERRIBLE for getting distracted whenever there's internet. I'm still new at this so feel that I have to peruse every writing, book-marketing and editing blog there's out there. So my most productive writing is done twice a week when I wait for my daughter to finish Kumon. I sit in the waiting area and type away happily. My production speed is awful but I'm getting there :)

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