Friday, April 24, 2015

7QT~ My Morning Writing Routine

What is your morning routine? Do you have a writing routine? I do almost all of my writing in the morning. Thus, I give you My Morning Writing Routine.

1.  Wake Up.
Every morning, I wake up before the kids. I have to set an alarm, so that I have time to write, pray/meditate, and do a quick check-in on what’s going on online.  It’s a great system, and one I would definitely recommend to other stay-at-home Moms wanting to add more writing time to their day. I usually wake up around 6am. I am an early bird, and I would love to wake up earlier, but because I’m pregnant, I can’t. Otherwise I would not feel rested! My husband has an app that wakes us up according to our sleep cycles, and it is aptly named SleepCycle (it measures our movement and waits to go off when we have started moving).  So, 6am it is.

2. Really, Actually Wake Up.
I make coffee using my (our) V60, then I wake up my brain by checking in with Feedly and Twitter.  I use those to read blogs, news, and just generally see what’s going on in the world. Sometimes I buy an actual newspaper, but more often than not, I read it online. My favorite newspapers are the New York Times, our local paper, the Times Free Press, and USA Today. I also keep up with several journals and magazines via Twitter, so I check in with those as well.  I also do a quick email check, but I don't use this time to respond to email.

3. Pray.
After my brain is awake, I sip on my coffee and spend time in prayer. I do a short reflection of Scripture and pray, read the Morning Readings, and sometimes pray a Rosary.  If the kids are starting to stir, I sometimes let prayer get rushed, but I try to make at least a few minutes’ time for it everyday. Even a few minutes can make a difference in my day.  With kids, you never know for sure how much time you will have before you are pouring a bowl of cereal, or making pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, or eggs and bacon.  Or pouring juice- or wiping up spills, or getting a bib or what-have-you. If Molly has a test, it's eggs.

4. Blog.
Back to my routine plan/idea.  I then open up my Blogger account, and upload any photos from iPhoto,  or transfer writing from TextEdit that I have done the previous day onto various blogposts. I usually have 2-3 blogposts or articles going at a time.  I use TextEdit to write outlines for blogposts, or to work on articles for Real Housekeeping, and I can add ideas or phrases or quotes that I want to make sure and include in my post or article.  I have a constant itch to write, and I love the process of brainstorming and making outlines, then filling out the outlines (now and) later. The reason that I transfer my writing, is that I turn off the internet in our house after 10 am everyday. Like I said, you never know how much time you’ll have each day for writing when you have kids and stay home with them, so this works for me. I can’t access internet on my laptop at all after 10am, so if I do have an idea for a post during the day, I write it in TextEdit on my Mac.

5. Edit.
I then spend some conscious time and effort editing and polishing my writing until it shines. I make sure the grammar is correct, and the writing has a good flow. I read my writing out loud to myself. I check for any mistakes, grammatical errors, or factual errors.  I double-check my ideas, facts, and my awesome writing work ;) using the almighty Google.

6. Use Social Media.
After spending some time writing and editing, I then go back to Social Media to basically finish up for the day. I check in, usually in the same order everyday. I check Facebook, then Twitter, then Google Plus, then Instagram, and finally, Pinterest. If I’m promoting a post, I add the link to all- or almost all- of those places. If I need ideas for recipes, or if I’m updating a board, I go on Pinterest. I don’t spend as much time with Instagram or Google Plus. I then check Feedly and - let’s be honest- click refresh a bunch of times, because  I love blog-reading, and blogposts are always magically appearing in my Feedly. I subscribe to a bunch of blogs, so it’s fun to see who is posting what each morning.  I have feedly on my iPhone too, so I usually check in with the app again in the afternoon, while waiting for pick-up at the end of my daughter’s school day.

6. Plan the Week
Finally, if I have extra time, I use it to plan my week on Mondays, my day on every other day. In a nutshell, I open my planner (my method is this awesome planner from Hobby Lobby) + iCal to double check dates and deadlines for upcoming posts and articles. I check to make sure I'm ready for the weather- which can be very unpredictable where we live! I otherwise mind-map and write things down to get them out of my brain. Week-planning, or daily planning, done.

7. Read+Answer Email
When I'm done, and I have even more extra time, I read and/or answer email and text back and forth with the hubs (who is by now at work). Sometimes I make another cup of coffee. I have a lot of books going right now, so grabbing a few minutes in the morning for reading, without feeling rushed, is icing on the cake.

What do I love about this morning routine?  I have trained myself to do it all in the morning, so I am very productive during this short amount of time, with writing, and I'm also more productive in my housekeeping and childcare duties, during the day, as well. I love everything about it, actually, because it keeps me consistent about writing and blogging, and the energy comes naturally now. Along with this energy is increased creativity, because I have trained my brain to 'wake up and write.' This past year, we hired a babysitter to help out twice a week for three hours at a time. She moved and I figured out that it is very hard to replace someone so awesome, especially during the Summer. That's the main reason this routine has been my lifesaver this year. It makes me feel like my writing is possible even though I am a stay-at-home Mom. And it is!  I’m passionate about blogging; I think it is a fabulous medium.*

The other reason I like it is that since I have several posts going at a time, I can keep adding links or photos without feeling the pressure to post something right away.  I can spend a good chunk of time each day adding edits, quotes, or thoughts to an article, and then leave it alone for the most part. And I still feel good about it. I don’t pine for more writing time, usually.  My husband knows that the internet turns off at 10am every single day, so he is very gracious with letting me have writing time in the morning. The rest of the day is totally taken up and saturated with childcare and housekeeping. In the evenings, I read or sometimes watch an episode of something on Netflix. I linger with a second cup of coffee on Saturdays, catching up on the news or feedly if I can carve out the time.

If you're wondering how I balance my routine or "do it all," well, this is me on a very good and very productive day.  The time frame is somewhat flexible. I come back to my list throughout the morning while changing diapers and starting Barney. If I have time to blaze through the first several things, then I have time to read. It varies.  If I have a burst of insight or a flash idea during the day, I can always add a little time to write during nap time. But any serious writing time is saved for morning, and I like it that way.

*Some of my favorite blog/bloggers are :
Like Mother, Like Daughter
Modern Mrs. Darcy
Catholic All Year

Does this give you any ideas? What is YOUR routine? Do you work best at night, or in the morning? Or another time of day, such as rest or nap time? Let me know in the comments.

Adding my link to Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum today!


Ann-Marie Ulczynski said...

I love this! So true. I get up at five for the same reasons. And you are right, once it becomes a routine, it is so easy to just get up and do it. I am curious about the app. How does it work? Is it just on your phone, or are you wearing a watch or something on your person?

Tacy said...

It is on my husband's iPhone! He puts it on the bed, behind/above our pillows.

Laura {a spoonful of joy} said...

I'm such a morning person and definitely do my best writing first thing in the morning but I'm also an avid morning runner and I end up putting that love before my love for writing. ;) Plus my boys are up by 6 am so while I can't write when they're awake, I can put them in the stroller and go for a jog. That means most of my writing occurs during naps which is almost as peaceful around here as the early morning hours.
What a fun idea for a post - I love hearing how other moms manage their time and spend their days.

Tacy said...

I hear ya Laura! I was doing the 7 minute workout every night or almost every night for almost my entire first trimester. Now I am getting out for walks sometimes and that's about it. My husband does yoga in the AM, so he is in much better shape at this point . I will say that I try to go up and down the stairs while I'm cleaning as much as I can! It gets my heart rate up!