Writers appear to be creatures free from the restraints of “regular” jobs, working only when the moment strikes. This is not true – many writers work at other jobs while producing their art; and just like in their regular jobs, it’s a good idea for writers to build and follow a schedule when they sit down to write.
Writers can increase their productivity and help ward off the dreaded writer’s block by following a fixed routine. I work part-time in an office, but on days I don’t go to my job, I get up at the same time in the morning and get ready, as if I was preparing to go to the office; I’ll plant myself at my desk by a certain time and proceed to write for a specific amount of time before my first break. I found it a great benefit, when I held a full-time job, to write at the same time every day – I usually did it on my lunch break. As my routine developed, I noticed that each lunch hour I sat down with my notebook, the words flowed onto the page without effort. I had trained my mind to be prepared to write at that time each day. Most people arrive at their jobs and slip into a working mode without even realizing – the same principle can be applied to writing.
There are lots of days when you may not feel like writing, but follow your routine just the same. You’re teaching your mind to be ready to work the moment you sit at your desk, pull out your notebook or open your computer. At some point, your brain will naturally switch into a working mode; you won’t even notice it until you’ve filled your first page.
This is not to say that I don’t take advantage of writing whenever I can; I always look for my ten to fifteen minute opportunities throughout my day; but my fixed routine is where I get the most out of my work.