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Journaling for exam stress blog

Routine is key with any new habit


Writing is like any new habit, you need tobe consistent to see the benefits. Making your writing part of your daily routine is a great way to be more consistent, more productive and achieve better results. 

Although the commonly held belief is that it takes 21 days to form a habit, that has been disproved, it is now understood that it depends on many different factors and can be anything from 18 days to almost a year. This makes finding a routine that works for you even more important. 

There is no point in me telling you that the best time to write is in the morning if you have small children who wake you up at the crack of dawn. Equally if I suggest you write in the evening and you work nights, that might not work for you. So instead of getting preachy about the best times to write and I am going to help you think about your life and find the best routine for your unique needs.

Things to think about when trying to start writing…

Do you have a regular routine? 

Some people have a very rigid routine, they get up at the same time every day, leave for work at the same time, get home at the same time etc. Others have no semblence of a routine and that can make creating a writing habit more challenging, but not impossible. The key is finding a trigger that will remind you to write.

If you always get up and do certain jobs, maybe empty the dishwasher, make a coffee, walk the dog then sit down to work, could you write while you have your coffee? Maybe you could leave your journal out on your desk so it is the first thing you do before you start work?

If you are starting a journaling habit you don’t need hours, just 5-10 mins is more than enough to have an impact. If you are writing a book, then you may need to find longer stretches of time, but be realistic about the demands on your time. 

When my children were little people kept suggesting I got up an hour earlier to meditate and journal. My son was already waking me up at 4:30am so the last thing I needed was to be waking up any earlier. So I started making my “self care time” the hour after the children went to bed. I would journal, meditate and then sleep. It has to work for you and your life.

What time works best for you?

Are you an early bird or a night owl? Perhaps your most creative time is the middle of the day? Understanding your own energetic and creative fluctuations is important when you are thinking about creating a writing routine. If you work best in the morning, perhaps you can write before everyone wakes up. If you find it easier to create later at night, maybe your writing time will be when everyone has gone to bed? 

For women, you may notice that you are feeling more creative around the mid-point in your cycle. Perhaps what will work best for you is writing for hours during this week and just doing little bits for the rest of the month? Pay attention to how you feel throughout the month. There is no point fighting nature.


Be realistic

There is no point in creating a routine that involves you writing for 2 hours a day in the evening, if your evening is often disrupted by helping the children with homework, housework, calls from your parents because they need help… 

Write down everything that impacts your ability to write and then create a writing routine around those factors.

Eliminate distractions

Leave your phone in another room or put it on silent and face down. Tell everyone this is your writing time and only to disturb you in an emergency. Shut down all other windows on your screen, or write on paper. Give yourself the best possible chance to focus.

Don’t be too rigid

Life is always going to happen, if something comes up which stops you from writing, try to find an alternative time to write or just accept that it happens sometimes. DON’T LET IT UNDO ALL YOUR GOOD WORK! Miss that session but get back in the saddle ready to focus for your next session.

Find the best space to write

If you don’t have an office, create a little area where you can write. Perhaps you have a bureau or kitchen table where you like writing. If you can’t have a permanent writing space, create a writing kit in a bag that you can easily take with you wherever you are writing that day. Make sure you make your writing space somewhere you want to spend time. Have a candle you light when you start writing, create a writing playlist, maybe have a photo you love out to inspire you. Make sure you are using stationery you like if you are writing by hand, or that your screen is at the right height if you are working on a laptop/computer. Think about what chair you are sitting on because you may be sitting there for a while, you want to be comfy. Create a really appealing writing space, however permanent it may be, that way you will want to escape to your writing every chance you get!

Track your progress

Make a note of how many days you have managed to journal, or how many words you have written each day if you are writing a book. When you reach a milestone, perhaps 50 days journaling in a row or reaching 50000 words, celebrate your achievement. Perhaps you go to your favourite cafe for a coffee and a cake, or you buy yourself a book related candle for your writing space. Whatever it is that makes you happy. Acknowledging your achievements will help you stay enthusiastic and spur you on to keep going with your writing habit.


Most importantly, enjoy yourself! 

If you don’t make your writing time something you look forward to you won’t keep it up. Your writing time should be something you treasure, creating a routine that works for you is so important because it will stop you from constantly fighting against your own intentions. If you create a routine that doesn’t suit your life, you will waste so much energy being frustrated because you aren’t finding time to write. Find the write routine and it will be effortless and enjoyable. 

Get in touch and let me know when you write and what your routine looks like.



Find out more about writing routines:

I wrote the blog Daily Rituals to Change your Life a while ago, If you want to know why routine is important for our wellbeing this is a great starting point.

I love listening to the Writer’s Routine podcast, if you enjoy finding out about other writer’s habits, why not give it a listen?

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