Writing Routines

Claire Gallagher

Claire Gallagher | April 5, 2024

Writing Routines


Time and Head Space

When I was teaching full-time, I found it difficult to fit in any writing. It’s definitely not a nine-to-three job! My evenings and weekends were taken up by planning, preparing and assessing, as well as various administrative tasks. Not to mention the demands of family and general life. However, switching to part-time not only created free hours, it also provided some much-needed headspace, which is just as important (perhaps even more so?).

I applied for a place on a selective writing course and got accepted. This gave me the confidence to take my writing more seriously. I soon fell into a routine of writing every day, motivated by deadlines and the promise of feedback. I finished the book I’d been working on and started another, beginning a cycle of submissions to literary agents. I was brimming with ideas for more novels. I wrote four in less than two years. Eventually, my perseverance paid off. One of my novels caught the attention of a literary agent who offered to represent me. I’m writing yet another book while that one is out on submission to publishers.


So what’s my routine?

Let’s say from the off that it’s not for the faint-hearted! I’m usually awake by 3 a.m. I get up immediately and make my first cup of coffee, turn on my laptop and check what I call my ‘admin’: emails, KDP author platform, social media. Then I make my second coffee, open my work-in-progress and read back over yesterday’s work, tweaking as I go along. Finally, I check my Excel chapter plan and get cracking on some fresh writing. I complete anywhere from 500 to 2000 words (with several breaks for more coffee!) before my children wake up and it’s time to start the day properly. At some point, I tell my husband what I’ve written about and talk through any issues I have. He listens patiently and may offer advice, but really the conversation is for me to self-evaluate the progress of my story by expressing my thoughts and working through them aloud. My day ends at around 7 p.m.

I don’t know how I fell into this routine of very-early-to-bed, very-early-to-rise. I haven’t needed to set a morning alarm for a long time. It coincided with the invigoration of my dream when I got onto the course, so perhaps it was the freshly-sparked motivation coupled with the time/head space that was freed up by reducing my working hours. Perhaps excitement triggered my early waking – excitement to get new words onto the page, to find out what my characters would do next. Either way, it works for me. What works for you?



Every Friday, a new episode of the podcast Writer’s Routine is available. I listen to it on Spotify, but it’s available on other platforms. Dan Simpson interviews a different author each week. It’s fascinating to hear what works for them and reassuring that there’s no one way to write a novel.


Final Thoughts

Do you have a writing routine? What is it?

If you don’t have one, when do you get your writing done? And what would your ideal routine look like?

I know some authors like the bustle of a café. Some listen to music as they write. I need quiet. What circumstances help you to write?

Get Our Weekly Digest

First thing every Saturday morning, you’ll receive a short digest of the week’s blog posts from Litopia’s team of writers… entertaining, thought-provoking, witty, diverse and often mind-expanding.

Start your weekend in style…sign up below!

You can unsubscribe whenever you want… but you won’t want to!