How My Daily Routine Has Changed

39a-Older-Dalton-Trumbo-resizeRegular readers of this blog will know that I have toyed with many different types of routine. Routine is something which is important to me. I guess it comes from once having a regimented, conventional career for quite a while and the thought now of having a routine makes me feel as though I have a proper job.

Over the last two years of full-time writing I have played around with the routine and tweaked it, desperately trying to find something which works. I currently feel quite settled in my newest routine and also, more importantly, quite productive. Let me show you…

I have children and, due to the laws of the land, they have to go to school. Sadly, they also have to come home from school as well, but despite this tragedy, I still do my best to talk to them occasionally when they’re here. So, my routine has to fit in around the little cherubs. Anyone with kids will know what I’m talking about and how much of a challenge it is to be creative with kids around.

It was important for me to find a way of working which enabled me to stop dead at a particular point in the day.

6:30 – 8:30 – After waking, I then set off on the morning treadmill of shouting, eating, lunch making, bag packing, sock finding, book finding, more shouting, counselling, washing, dressing, uniform monitoring and finally, driving.

8:45 – 9:45 – Once they’re at school, I’ve now started going to the gym. This isn’t something I’m particularly used to but I was increasingly becoming sluggish from this writing way of life and knew I had to do something. I’ve surprised myself to find that I actually enjoy it. I either swim or run, and on the run days I listen to a writing-related podcast which puts me in the right frame of mind.

10:00 – 11:00 – I’m back home now and in my office, my sanctuary, my prison. You, my darling reader of this blog, become my soul attention for the next hour. I really should write a post one of these days on the power of blogging, but suffice it to say that I find the whole process extremely cathartic. It also helps me to get into the writing rhythm as well, which is handy given that I’ll be doing a bit more of that later. After the blog is posted I treat myself to the one luxury of the day, an americano brewed up on my own swanky coffee machine. This bit alone beats working in an office.

11:00 – 12:30 – With the swirls of coffee steaming away in front of me on my desk I begin to get into the main event. My Book. Whichever project I’m working on, and whatever stage that project is up to, I dedicate this time to progressing with it. If I’m writing then I stick to a word target of 2,000 words a day. However, often with books you’re not writing but editing. It’s hard to put the same word target to this, so I just do the hours instead.

12:30 – 1:00 – Lunch. Usually a cheese sandwich in front of a pre-recorded episode of a sitcom. I’m loving the re-runs of Frasier at the moment.

1:00 – 2:30 – Back on with the writing. Another hour and a half session to either complete the 2,000 words, or dedicate to editing.

2:30 – 8:00 – Stop and collect children. Chaos once again descends upon my zen. The next five and a half hours are full with various moments of confusion mixed with genuine glimpses of affection. I fluctuate from being frustrated at the beginning of this period, through to appreciation and kindness, and then finally end with a strong desire for them to just go to bed and leave me alone.

8:00 – 10:00 – Depending on how productive I’ve been earlier, I either finish my word target or do something else which I’ve not had time to do. Then I either read, watch TV (although not as much as I used to), and occasionally talk to my wife about how her day has been. I then go to bed happy, blessed with rarely having a problem falling asleep.

In tomorrow’s post I’ll compare my routine to other authors and see how I fare.


Wow, that was tedious. Sorry about that. If you stuck with it all the way to bedtime then… night, night. XX.

Until next time…


9 responses to “How My Daily Routine Has Changed

  1. Michael.. I like your schedule… a lot…. And consider it an inspiration. I assume you’re still using Scrivener?
    I just have one comment – when you finish with Fraser, you truly should try Big Bang Theory 🙂

    • Thanks. I’m still using Scrivener for everything but because I went over the top writing about Scrivener at the beginning of the year I’ve decided to calm down a bit with my praise. Plus, I don’t think I could’ve said anything more about it.

      … and I like Big Bang Theory too. 🙂

  2. Big Bang Theory rocks, by the way 🙂

    I’m still working full time as a software engineer, so there’s a huge block of time during the day that I just can’t write.

    7:30 – 8:30: Get ready for work and head out the door.
    9:00 – 12:00: Morning work routine and meetings
    12:00p – 1/1:15: My first block of time for writing during the day.
    1:00 – 5:00: Afternoon work routine. More meetings, etc.
    5:00 – 6:00: Cooking/eating
    6:00 – 9 or 10pm: Writing.

    I deviate from this on the weekend. Saturday is a full day of writing from 8am – 10pm. This includes, usually, the following things:
    – Social network management (follow backs on Twitter, following new people, Loading HootSuite with the upcoming week’s “writetip” tweets, figuring out what I’m going to post on Facebook the following week.)
    – Actual writing/editing. The lion’s share of my time.
    – I blog once per week, or once every other week. The topics usually spring from my writing sessions (lessons learned). If I’ve discovered something interesting this week, then I chart a course for a blog article and start outlining.

    Sunday I steal as much time as I can get. When the occasional “must see” movie is released, this is the day I usually get out of the house.

    Now to just earn enough from my writing to get rid of the pesky 9-5 during the week!

  3. I should know this, but who’s the guy in the tub? Great post, Michael! Like you, I also relish a good routine and, now that I’m back from our summer cottage, and in familiar “writing” surroundings once again, I can get my routine rolling once again. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Pingback: Routines of Famous Writers | Michael J Holley - Writer

  5. Pingback: Encouragement From The Front Line – Hugh Howey | Michael J Holley - Writer

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