Do you have shortbread cookies in your pantry?
What do shortbread cookies have to do with writing, right?
Here’s the thing. Most likely, you don’t have shortbread cookies in your pantry. But you do have what it takes to make them: eggs, sugar, and flour, ingredients most of us already have in our kitchens.
The same is true of writing.
It may feel as if we don’t have what it takes to write regularly, but when the layers are pulled back, the truth is that most of us do have what it takes to make a successful rhythm of writing.
In the same way a basic recipe for shortbread cookies calls for three ingredients, here are three ways to navigate through finding a simple writing rhythm that works for you.
- Are you a night owl or an early bird? Knowing and embracing the time of day when you’re at your best can inspire you to confidently and intentionally carve a few moments to devote to writing.
- Set a timer for five minutes. If you really, absolutely need to wipe down the kitchen and declutter the table before you write, then do it. Set a timer and clean as much as you can. After five minutes, follow through on your commitment to write.
- Don’t despise small windows of time. Carry a journal, or replace your Instagram app with the Notes app on your phone. If you have fifteen minutes to scroll on social media, then you have fifteen minutes to draft an outline for a blog post or jot down an idea for a book chapter.
- What fills your cup? Is it six scoops of Café Bustelo, brewed and poured out piping hot, sans cream and sugar? Is it hibiscus leaves steeped long and deep, spooned with thick, raw honey and spritzed with lime? Make it a practice, a habit of fixing up your favorite drink every time you go to write, until the two—your favorite drink and your writing—become inseparable.
- Enjoy the process. Light a candle. Grab a blanket. Write from the sunniest window. Listen to that song on loop if it moves you to make words with all your heart and soul. Make writing an experience you can’t wait to repeat and return to. These small pleasures are the humble beginnings of mundane routines turned into writing rhythms.
- Your rhythm isn’t going to look like hers. The frequency of your writing—every post and every publication—isn’t going to (and shouldn’t) look like anyone else’s.
- Your rhythm isn’t going to look like last year’s. Maybe your job is asking more of you or your sleeping baby grew into a talking toddler. Whatever the change or shift, or loss, it might be time to release your grip on rhythms from past seasons. Acknowledge where and who you are now, and trust that you already have everything you need to make a writing rhythm that works for you.
More than putting together a perfect plan, finding and creating the right writing rhythm is about pulling together the puzzling pieces of your life and forming them together into a seamless pattern.
It’s relentlessly pursuing a routine of tossing together what few ingredients you already have, and believing there is always just enough time, enough incentive, and enough of you to create writing that is worth sharing with others.