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  • Writer's pictureStefanie Barnfather

My Morning Routine

Ahhh, artist routines -- the endless debate. Are they worth the hassle? Can they be harmful? Or do we like them, and think they help?

Let's be real, friends. It can take a long time to find writing rituals that work for you and even longer to get in the habit of doing them every day. But being an indie writer is difficult: You, and only you, are responsible for your time. It's easy to succumb to flexible-schedule temptations, like binge watching Netflix (story research, right?) or being available whenever your family, friends and pets need you (hello? puppy wants a belly rub? that seems more important than working on my story). So when you have shit to do and little time to do it, a strong routine can help you say, "Sorry, Dog. Sorry, SANDMAN -- I'm working."

I've had many colleagues declare, ROUTINE KILLS ART -- which is sort of true. Lots of artists thrive when their life is in shambles. Fun fact: The human brain is more capable of coming up with original ideas when its environment is a tad unpredictable. Check out this article to learn about the pros and cons of chaos: Messy vs. Minimal

However, helter-skelter work spaces aren't the same as helter-skelter schedules. Find out why routines are awesome for artists: The Psychology of Daily Routines

To get your creative flow flowing, I've created a few sample schedules that could kick-start your day. Each one of these options has served me well during different times in my career. Try them out and let me know if one of them works for you, too.


The Up And At 'Em


Wake up, you bright-eyed bush baby! Greet the sun with a wink and a smile.


Drink water and do a heart-pumping workout -- I like a squeeze of lemon juice in my H20 followed by 20-30 minutes of aerobic activity. My SO loves his weights, or a walk around the block if it isn't too dark or snowy.


Listen to a positivity podcast while you eat a high-protein breakfast. Fueling your heart is just as important as fuelling your body.


Shower, beautification and personal tidy -- before I start work, I like to make sure I feel clean, confident and my home is squared away. It sucks stumbling out of a lengthy writing session and into a cluttered bathroom, or discovering a discarded cup of Joe seeping its stain into a wooden surface.


Check your email, go through your socials (you self-publishing hero), then get crackin'. Give yourself a high-five for being a badass and open that WIP.


The Slow and Steady


Hug your pillow, finish that dream, then stumble to your kitchen in your jammies and robe. Throw your coffee pod in your Keurig, or your beans in the grinder, or your tea leaves in your steeper -- then sit and enjoy your time. I like to slow sip a warm bevy and allow my brain to gently join the day. Then I slurp and repeat until I feel I can tackle my next task.


Take a quick shower, then throw on your comfies and open the window: Marie Kondo lights incense to clear her energy (a candle works, too). Once your vibe is right, settle down to practice meditation or a mindfulness activity. I recommend colouring, puzzles or even a quick personal journalling session. Who knows? You might spark something you could write into your WIP.


Have a lesiurely brunch -- maybe granola, fruit, Greek yogurt and water -- and prep for your day by reading one of your favourite authors. You might want to include a quick socials check, but I suggest you save it for later if you're someone who takes a while to wake up. The last thing you want is a bunch of high-stakes pessimism bombarding your brain before your internal filters are firing.


No shame in starting work at noon! Just keep drinking water, snacking and stretching your legs throughout your writing session. Your story will take shape in no time.


The Quick and Condensed


Roll out of bed and get that coffee percolating. While my beans brew, I check my weather, news and social apps for immediate notifications, then grab a prepared breaky to gnosh while I settle in for some uplifting day-starters. I like to eat a banana and bran muffin while I watch Alpaca reels. Getting my brain, soul and body aligned is my first priority when I wake up.


Shower and tidy -- get your hair off your face, leisure clothes on your body and your home in order. I make my bed, do a light clean and tidy of my kitchen, then head to my home office.


Focusing time! I make sure my puppy is settled in his favourite chair, then I blast some tunes while I check my email and post my first socials of the day. Then I review my writing schedule as I watch the kiddos in my neighbourhood thwack! each other while they walk to school. After that, I'm ready to go.


This is my business time; painting, media prep, blog editing, marketing, beta reader // book model contracts, manuscript formatting, sliding on my hardwood floor in thick woollen socks -- you know. After I've taken care of the daily business, my afternoon is free to write.

Hopefully you've found these suggestions helpful. Remember, whichever routine you choose the most important thing is that you do it. Honest. Having disciplined time you devote to your craft shows respect for your artistry and love for your writing. Take care of it to take care of yourself.

If you have any questions or comments, throw them below! I'd love to hear what works for you or if you have any suggestions that might help a fellow writer.

Disclaimer: Try to practice a new routine for at least three weeks before it's discarded and you move onto another. Habit forming takes time, so don't quickly dismiss something because it's "uncomfortable" or "tiresome". Routines become easy once they become... routine. However, if you really dislike a routine because it dosen't fit with your lifestyle or personality, don't stress. Let it go and try another. Every writer is different and your job is to find the tools that work best for you.

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