My ideal writing day starts at 7 in the morning, and usually happens only during the weekends.
The morning routine is not that complicated; I usually wash my face and brush my teeth, apply a light toner and moisturizer to my face, and check my phone for messages as I boil some hot water for my morning caffeine fix.
I used to drink a lot of coffee, but lately I’ve been shifting more and more to tea. I don’t have a designated tea for my mornings, so I usually just pick whichever I see first in the cabinet. Sometimes it might be classic English Breakfast, other days it might be a Japanese Matcha.
Breakfast is usually simple—a slice of bread with jam. Or Nutella. Or sometimes both. I don’t bother toasting the bread because it will just distract me from doing the one thing I should be doing: journaling.
I don’t keep a gratitude journal, or a morning pages journal. Mine is a simple diary-formatted entry in my trusty Hobonichi Techo, with some rooms for planning. I usually write my top 5 to-do list, movies-to-watch list, books-to-read list, games-to-play list, and leave an empty space for the actual journal entry at the end of the day.
This is especially handy because I get to plan my “rewards” for the day. Stuff I write in the “watch”, “read”, and “play” list usually will be some kind of a compensation for my hard work during the day. They become my motivation, so to speak, so I can work on my to-do list and be productive.
After listing down my to-do lists, I finish up the bread and tea, and proceed to work on something. Usually I reach for my notebook and handwrite several proses, poems, or even short stories. I don’t ever plan these pieces; I just treat them as a warm up to the actual writing sessions that will occur later in the day.
On Saturdays, I usually post a question sticker on my Instagram story–opening submissions for writing prompts. This doesn’t usually take long; only five minutes tops. I then proceed to seal my phone away from my working desk to avoid distraction.
Speaking of working desk, I try to have as much natural lighting as possible. Since my house is not that well-lit, I usually try to find other places I can work at. I’ve talked about TOSKA, one of my favorite cafes in the neighborhood to get some work done. But you can also find me in other places, like Erasmus Huis Library, or even Fillmore Coffee.
So I usually scramble my belongings, and commute to the working place. This can take anywhere from several minutes to hours, depending on the place I pick for the day. Either way, I try to get some writing done before lunch time. If I’m currently working on a project, I try to get as much work done as possible in a single seating.
When it’s lunch time, I usually just order anything from the cafe I work at, and then spend my break (finally) browsing my phone again. This is when I usually reply to messages, open Instagram, and get lost in procrastination, just like everyone else on the planet.
After lunch, I have several options. If I think I haven’t gotten enough writing for the day for a particular project I’m working on, I would continue working on that until around dinner time. But on good days when I actually achieve my writing goals sooner than I expect, I would usually whip up my A5-sized notebook, and scribble away.
What do I scribble, you might ask? Random things!
Short stories, story ideas that may never even see the light of day, bits and pieces of conversations that I want to write about—usually without context, so you will not even understand the significance of the scene before I put together a whole story to make that conversation relevant. I can also start outlining my novel, or do some research if I’m not ready to write anything.
Basically, my afternoons are booked for doing a bunch of writerly things. I don’t usually keep a strict deadline for this, so you might even see me lounging about and start to watch/read/play my “rewards” in the late afternoon.
I usually eat outside for dinner, or sometimes skip it completely. When I get home, I brew myself another cup of tea (my current favorite being TWG’s Lemon Bush), and take a shower to refresh myself after the long day.
I’m usually less harsh on myself if I’m not working on any particular project, so this time frame is reserved for me to actually enjoy my weekend–watching movies, Netflix, read books, play video games, etc. But when I am working on a project…
But that’s about it. I tend to stay up late until past midnight, but when I start to get drowzy, I would charge all my electronics, turn off the lights, and go to bed. There isn’t a lot of things better than ending the day knowing that I have written a lot—which is usually the case when such an ideal writing day happens from time to time.
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