What's your reading/ writing practice?

AnRoinnUltra

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Just a quick question if it's not too personal a thing. Writing seems a bit of an individual thing so it's not obvious how people tackle it. Least I've never heard someone say 'can't wait to get finished up and go home for a good write'.
I'm guessing it's up to each of us what we do but I noticed that two of the more accomplished writers I met rise at 5am and get in an hour -although another one brings a notebook to bed and jots down stuff he remembers from dreams. I'm on a half hour of reading/ day, and short writing sessions whenever. Any recommendations, is there a standard way ye write?
 

AnyaKimlin

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At the moment I am doing a creative writing degree which is challenging me beyond what I thought I could do. I find when I get to the holidays that I really need to collapse and not write for a bit. I'm not regretting it because my writing has moved up so many levels from what I used to do. The novel and the screenplay I am writing is something I could not have tackled three years ago.

I do try to start each day with a herbal tea or coffee on the back step, ten minutes yoga, have my breakfast and then write a stream of consciousness for about five minutes and then do a meditation - sometimes I use a guided creativity one from YouTube.

Then I sit down and focus either on college work or my novel or screenplay. Today it was a poem written in Scots. It's nae my first language so it took longer than it should.

I try to give my mornings to writing and any paperwork then do stuff with the kids in the afternoon. I also take my weekends off. My novel is particularly hard work and I need the break otherwise it's no longer fun and writing should always be fun.
 

Dragonlady

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i have a target of 300 words, though i don't manage to write every day. A short target makes it more likely to happen.
 

sknox

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General life circumstances play a big role. Kids or not kids, plus variations within that (babies, toddlers, teens ...). Work or not work is another (full-time; part-time; retired; in office, at home; oh, and length of commute). In school or not. Physical issues. Psychological issues. Tons of variables there, and that is before we even get to personal style, habits, and discipline.

To put it another way, it's not so much how I do it as it is how I'm doing it this time round.

When I was working, I'd keep a physical notebook with me and would write in fragments, during break, during lunch. Write a bit more on a weekend, but weekends were mainly the work you did when you couldn't get to it because of work. When I retired, all I had were fragments, though I did manage to get a short story to completion.

Once I retired, I wrote (write) for somewhere between two and four hours a day, five days a week. For a long time that fell in the afternoons, but recently that shifted to mornings because we have a puppy and she tends to be more active in the afternoons and my wife can use the help. Puppies are busy!

For the past couple of years I fix myself two mugs of tea, once of which is in a Yeti cup so it stays warm for a couple hours. Always something strong, like Scottish Breakfast tea. I tend to fuss about at first. Read email, visit the forums, then I drag out the notebook and get to work. I can't go for more than about four hours at a stretch. The body gets tired and achey.

Wednesdays are for Other. Marketing, working on side projects like presentations, maybe learn something new about Scrivener or another tool. Stuff that tends to offer distractions on writing days.

That tidy schedule regularly is interrupted, mainly by family visits that can see me gone for a week or having company for several days. But, see above, that has only been habitual for a few years. I expect it will change, more than once.
 

Steve Harrison

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I read every day, for probably around an hour all up. I only write on weekends, sometimes both days (sometimes neither), for two or three hours. I can write a novel in a year to 18 months at this pace. I think about my writing a lot, so I can usually hit the ground running when I get to the keyboard.

I have a demanding non-writing career, so I'll treat writing as a hobby until I retire and go full time. Not far away... :giggle:
 

Kerrybuchanan

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I try to write every day, but editing for others takes up much of my time (favours, not paid!). Because of family stuff, I’m pretty hit and miss but when I get my head down I turn out a 80-90k word novel in a couple of months. These novels then go through an editing process with the publisher (two different editing passes then proofreading usually), before release, during which I’m writing the next one.

Reading? All the time. Not sure how many hours a day, but every time I’m not doing something else. And when I am doing something else, e.g. cooking or driving, I’ll be listening to an audiobook.
 

AnRoinnUltra

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Thanks for all the great in depth replies. There doesn't seem to be one standard approach, which is good to know. It's great to read about the post 'work' second career @sknox, and fair play @AnyaKimlin for going all in with it. I guess everyone is different, there's no way I could write every other weekend and remember who was who or what was what -gonna borrow the 300 word a day thing and keep track of it with Scrievener, seems realistic ...famous last words. Reading loads is prob vital too (who would've thought!), reckon it's no coincident that you read all the time @Kerrybuchanan .
The only common thing I can see with writing practice is that no one is finding it easy to write regularly, and you need to push yourself in whatever way works -fair play lads, great stuff.
 

sknox

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I neglected to mention that, while I was working, I would write in that physical notebook; very short, sometimes. On the weekend, I would type that up. This allowed me to review what I had written (which was not always entirely clear!) and to make small adjustments as I typed. It served to get me into a zone for writing even if the zone lasted only an hour or two.
 

Guanazee

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I try to dedicate writing time. I also jot bits down when and wherever. When starting out, it can be useful to formulate a routine that keeps you plugging along one way or another. Once you get in a groove, you may find flexibility works just as well.

One thing I am a stickler about, though, is keeping a running spreadsheet of story ideas. You never know what will inspire you, or what ideas you can combine and parse in different ways. Those little nuggets of fun might keep you going to finish your current project. Or they might turn your head. Ha!

Point: whatever works for you.
 

AnRoinnUltra

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I try to dedicate writing time. I also jot bits down when and wherever. When starting out, it can be useful to formulate a routine that keeps you plugging along one way or another. Once you get in a groove, you may find flexibility works just as well.

One thing I am a stickler about, though, is keeping a running spreadsheet of story ideas. You never know what will inspire you, or what ideas you can combine and parse in different ways. Those little nuggets of fun might keep you going to finish your current project. Or they might turn your head. Ha!

Point: whatever works for you.
Thanks for the advice, the spreadsheet is a great idea -I've a bad habit of writing random stuff on scraps of paper that makes no sense to anyone, including myself, when they turn up. (y)
 

sknox

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Thanks for the advice, the spreadsheet is a great idea -I've a bad habit of writing random stuff on scraps of paper that makes no sense to anyone, including myself, when they turn up. (y)
This is one reason I advocate a physical notebook. It can be a small one (for small ideas). It keeps ideas all in one place, which is a Good Thing. And, if you can get into the habit of typing it up once a day or at most once a week, the idea is still fresh and you can elaborate on it as you type.

That approach also requires you have one and only one file for keeping all your ideas. I have a separate Scrivener project called Ideas. In earlier years, it was a Word file. Every entry has Date, Title, and Details. The title doesn't need to be a future book title, just something short to facilitate scanning. When it was in Word, I made Date and Title into headings, which let me use Word's Navigator to see things at a glance.
 

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