The Writing Routine that Will Help You Write a Novel This Year

Get that novel done this year just by writing a little every day.


Writing a novel takes a long time. It’s hard to do when you have a lot on your plate, but it isn’t impossible. If there’s something stopping you from starting or finishing that novel you’ve always wanted to write, there’s a simple solution to get you on track.

Want to write a novel this year, from start to finish? Here’s the routine that will help you get it done.

1. An hour after you wake up, start writing. Write 500-1,000 words.

Get some coffee in your system, sit down and write. If you get at least a little writing done first thing in the morning, a few things happen. You’ll feel pretty accomplished before you even really start your day, which can help motivate you to get other things done more efficiently. You’ll also be able to walk away from it still feeling fresh and inspired, which means you might still come up with more ideas throughout the rest of your day to return to later.

Does this mean you might have to wake up a little earlier to make sure you don’t skip this step? Probably. Either that or you won’t be able to spend the first hour of your day glued to your phone. It’s a sacrifice worth making, but of course, it’s also completely up to you.

2. Complete whatever daily tasks you need to cross off your list.

This includes everything from running errands to going to work to catching up with friends to eating three or more good meals (important). Do your homework, if you have it. The point is to put your writing aside (unless it’s your primary job, which isn’t likely the case if you’re reading this right now) and get everything else done before you head back to it.

This way, you won’t neglect any of your real-world responsibilities. You won’t distract yourself by thinking of more things you need to do. You also won’t have quite as many excuses for not getting more writing done later in the day.

3. Reward yourself with an hour of down time.

Days are long. Though it might seem tempting, you really shouldn’t just jump right back into writing as soon as you get home from work or school or whatever you spend the majority of your days doing. Give yourself some time to wind down physically and let your brain decompress before you put it to work again. Burning yourself out is a guaranteed way to set yourself up for failure.

4. Write 1,000-2,000 more words.

Believe it or not, this step will actually be a lot harder than the writing you did when you first woke up. By this point in the day you’re probably tired, and your ability to focus is quickly fading. Sit yourself down in a room where you’re not going to be easily distracted. Put your phone down, close out of your web browser and just write until you’ve hit your word count goal for the day.

You should have been already almost halfway there anyway from your morning writing session, so it won’t be anywhere near as draining as you’re expecting. You can do it. Be strong.

5. Give yourself a little more down time, then, please, get some sleep.

When you’re done for the day, spend the last few hours before bed doing something that relaxes you. Watch an episode of your favorite T.V. show or read a book. An hour before you go to sleep, turn off your electronics and stay away from screens. Get some sleep: sleep deprivation will pretty much make writing impossible.

The average novel comes out at about 75,000 words (roughly), so if you average about 2,000-3,000 words on weekdays, 500-1,000 words over weekends and add in some “vacation” days here and there, you won’t have much trouble getting your first draft done this year.

In a nutshell, just sit down and do it. Give yourself breaks and reward yourself for a job well done. Eat. Sleep. Keep at it. No one else can do it for you. You CAN do this.

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