As a writer, I have often tried to deduce ways to find more writing time, improve my writing skills, and also increase my writing output.
Hey! No problem! Just stick to the job and everything will be fine. Uhhh…I don’t think so.
When it came down to the nitty-gritty of optimizing my writing routine, I tested several theories from time to time. Did I stick with them? I guess not…that’s why there were several.
I’m not ashamed to say that I often turned to the internet for advice, searching for the most effective habits and steps to boost my writing superpowers…though the red cape and black catsuit clashed miserably.
Just like a wide-eyed kid in the most awesome amusement park, I wanted to try out all the rides and tricks. And as my writing career progressed, I discovered many patterns, schedules, and techniques that should have worked wonders…the only wonder they worked is that I’m still left wondering.
Okay…let’s go through a short list of five habits that I have followed and then happily unfollowed.
- The Early Morning Habit – Wake up! Wake up! It’s 4 am! Writing Before Dawn!
Now if I had a flower wreath on my head and a ganja pipe in my hand, I might have actually been ecstatic about this. But seriously, waking up when it’s still dark, and trying to write when your brain is telling you that your butt should still be in bed is quite a dangerous scenario.
Myth: Early morning + Fresh Brain + Peace = Inspired Writing
Fact: Early morning + Me + Laptop = Head resting on laptop, fast asleep
Warning: Not recommended for after dawn risers.
- The Late Night Habit – The night is young! It’s only 11pm! The Clandestine Writing!
Now if I had been an owl in my previous life, this could have actually worked. But after a long day of coping with life’s tribulations, the last thing I could imagine doing was coaxing my exasperated brain to expel a river of words, and that too in a pretty way.
Myth: Late night + Revved up Brain + Quiet = Highly Creative Writing
Fact: Late night + Me + Laptop = Head lolling back, drooling and fast asleep
Warning: Not recommended for anyone except night owls. Hoo-Hooo-Hooooooo!!
- The All Day Coffee Habit – Coffee! Coffee! And more coffee! The Writing Buzz!
Tell this to a person who has been a habitual coffee drinker and happily relishes mugs of coffee. I’m a tea drinker, and that too ‘all milk, no water, and some sugar please’. I probably spent more time making the cups of coffee than actually writing, plus the horrible acidity and gas it created was equivalent to a fireworks display in my stomach. The excessive caffeine turned me into a thinker more than a writer…on the lines of…the aliens are here, but where am I?
Myth: Coffee + Alert Brain + Energy = Nonstop Writing
Fact: Coffee + Me + Laptop = Eyes wide open, brain hijacked, incoherent mumbling
Warning: Not recommended for milk drinkers.
- The Exercise and Jogging Habit – Run! Run! Run Faster!!! The Writing Workout!
I haven’t been a regular gym-goer, but I do know the basics of healthy exercising, and regular exercise is essential to build the body’s stamina. I realized this the painful way when I began to exercise and jog after a break of few years. Forget about clearing my head and writing better, I could hardly sit, stand or walk without cursing myself and groaning in pain.
Myth: Exercise + Calm Brain + Happy Thoughts = Flawless Writing
Fact: Exercise + Me + Laptop = Praying for the pain to go, and kicking myself, if I could
Warning: Not recommended for those who think faster than they move.
- The Get Out and Write Habit – Pick a spot! Anywhere you want! Practical Writing!
This is literally for someone who doesn’t mind stepping out, and experiencing the world. Not for someone like me who thinks that walking from one room of the house to another is as good as a small outing. Yes, I like my personal space, and find it difficult to step outside it. But still, I’ve tried writing at cafes, libraries, parks, and even in my car to get the creative juices flowing. All I ended up doing was wandering about like a gypsy, and wishing my laptop was a kilo lighter.
Myth: Out in Public + Perceptive Brain + Vibrant Ideas = Diverse Writing
Fact: Out in Public + Me + Laptop = Prolonged bouts of Agoraphobia and Germophobia.
Warning: Not recommended for paranoid homebodies.
I’m still looking for habits to suit my style and temperament. How about you?