Famous Writers’ Morning Habits: How to Start The Day, Get Inspired and Do Your Best Writing

Famous Writers' Morning Habits: How to Start The Day, Get Inspired and Do Your Best Writing - letsreachsuccess.com lidiya k

I’m a writer, and a lover of early mornings. And I believe that these two fit together perfectly.

Writing in the morning (be it for work or not) is one of the best ways to start the day, improve yourself, be less stressed and more creative and positive in general.

And why not do your best work during or right after your morning routine?!

Some of the most famous writers have created a morning writing ritual. And once they see the benefits it brings to their work and life, they quickly decide to make it a permanent part of their day.

So here are the habits and rituals you can do each morning to become a better writer, get more done, feel accomplished before others have even woken up and make your days successful:

The Best Writing Morning Habits You Can Develop

I will share them in 5 different categories.

I’ll talk about:

  • why do it first thing in the morning;
  • how to get inspired and actually get yourself to work;
  • how to change your environment for success, creativity and productivity;
  • things to do to be disciplined and organized and how to take your work seriously (especially if you work from home);
  • how to have a mindset shift, enjoy your work and be present.

1. Making The Most of The Early Morning.

5 Nighttime Tips for Becoming a Better Morning Person

Get up early.

The first hours of the day are a big inspiration for creative souls.

Many writers have done their most productive work before dawn. Here are some examples:

“Every day for years, Trollope reported in his “Autobiography,” he woke in darkness and wrote from 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., with his watch in front of him.

He required of himself two hundred and fifty words every quarter of an hour. If he finished one novel before eight-thirty, he took out a fresh piece of paper and started the next. The writing session was followed, for a long stretch of time, by a day job with the postal service. Plus, he said, he always hunted at least twice a week.

Under this regimen, he produced forty-nine novels in thirty-five years. Having prospered so well, he urged his method on all writers: “Let their work be to them as is his common work to the common laborer. No gigantic efforts will then be necessary. He need tie no wet towels round his brow, nor sit for thirty hours at his desk without moving,—as men have sat, or said that they have sat.” ~ Anthony Trollope [source]

In The Daily Routines of 12 Famous Writers (And How They Can Help You Succeed), James Clear has collected a few powerful and inspiring examples:

  • “When I’m in writing mode for a novel, I get up at four a.m. and work for five to six hours.” (Haruki Murakami);
  • “When I am working on a book or a story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write. You read what you have written and, as you always stop when you know what is going to happen next, you go on from there. (Ernest Hemingway);
  • “I awake at 5:30, work until 8:00, eat breakfast at home, work until 10:00…” (Kurt Vonnegut);
  • “I tend to wake up very early. Too early. Four o’clock is standard. My morning begins with trying not to get up before the sun rises. But when I do, it’s because my head is too full of words, and I just need to get to my desk and start dumping them into a file. I always wake with sentences pouring into my head. So getting to my desk every day feels like a long emergency.” (Barbara Kingsolver);

Most of the times even reading about such people’s routines can be an inspiration boost and get you to your desk.

The early morning is the best part of the day for such creative activity (but which is still work) for a few reasons:

  • no one distracts you;
  • you’ve just woken up and your mind isn’t overwhelmed with the daily lifestyle and other people’s problems. So you will be thinking clearly and will be able to unleash the creativity within;
  • there’s nothing else you should be doing (which can be a distraction itself);
  • you can enjoy the silence and peace that can only be found in the early morning;
  • writing and drinking your morning coffee are a great combination.

2. Finding Inspiration in The Early Hours of The Day and Getting Yourself to Work.

enjoy coffee in the morning

To get in the right mood to write productively, do some of these:

Read the last thing you wrote.

Simone de Beauvoir said “I spend a quarter or half an hour reading what I wrote the day before, and I make a few corrections. Then I continue from there. In order to pick up the thread I have to read what I’ve done.” in an interview.

Make an outline.

Do it like A.J. Jacobs:

“I am a big fan of outlining. I write an outline. Then a slightly more detailed outline. Then another with even more detail. Sentences form, punctuation is added, and eventually it all turns into a book.” (source)

Just read something inspiring.

Choose something that can motivate you, give you a productivity boost and just get you to work. Be it poetry, quotes, your favorite personal development blog, just read a few paragraphs/pages.

Then write down your thoughts on it. This will get you going. After that, continue with the writing you do for work.

Get in the mood by thinking how your writing can inspire.

Try morning pages.

This simple practice is one of the top habits you can develop that will turn your life around in the long term.

The benefits are countless – you clear your mind, start your day by doing a creative activity, generate ideas, share your thoughts and thus feel free and relaxed for the whole day, focus easily and improve your writing and creative thinking.

There are health benefits too. You reduce stress. You can complain to the morning pages about everything that bothers you. This way you let your negative energy out and are more relaxed and calm during the whole day.

Morning pages make you use both the left side of your brain (the rational one) and the right one (where creativity is).

When combined, you brain becomes more powerful and you generate ideas, think of ways to solve your problems in life, organize the thoughts in your head, start understanding yourself and the world better.

If you want to learn more about it and build the habit of doing morning pages daily, check out my book Morning Pages: All You Need to Know About Writing in The Morning

It’s a simple guide containing everything you need to know about this exercise.

Journal your thoughts if you’re just staring at the blank page/screen.

Do some research on the topic you’re going to write about.

Brainstorm.

A.J. Jacobs also advises the following:

“Force yourself to generate dozens of ideas. A lot of those ideas will be terrible. Most of them, in fact. But there will be some sparkling gems in there too. Try to set aside 20 minutes a day just for brainstorming.”

Meditate.

That can be helpful.

It’s a good practice to try to breathe deeply, empty your mind so that there are no distractions and unnecessary thoughts, and start repeating positive affirmations that will get you in the mood or will unleash the creative genius within.

3. Creating a Pleasant Working Environment.

10 Small Changes You Can Make Today for Optimal Performance - Let's Reach Success, Lidiya K

What’s around you has a big effect on how you feel and perform.

In fact, environment is one of the biggest success factors. And if you change it so that it makes you more productive and creative (by experimenting and seeing what works best for you) you can double your results.

Here are some quick environment hacks:

  • keep your office (even if that’s your bedroom) clean and organized, especially your desk. If clutter is the first thing you see when you get up, you won’t be able to approach your work with an organized mind;
  • let in natural light and fresh air;
  • have a place dedicated only for work (usually that’s your desk) and respect it.

And here’s a super inspiring example of the author and poet Maya Angelou shared in her interview:

“I keep a hotel room in my hometown and pay for it by the month.

I go around 6:30 in the morning. I have a bedroom, with a bed, a table, and a bath. I have Roget’s Thesaurus, a dictionary, and the Bible. Usually a deck of cards and some crossword puzzles.

I have all the paintings and any decoration taken out of the room. I ask the management and housekeeping not to enter the room, just in case I’ve thrown a piece of paper on the floor, I don’t want it discarded.

But I’ve never slept there, I’m usually out of there by 2. And then I go home and I read what I’ve written that morning, and I try to edit then. Clean it up.”

She’s literally created for herself a whole new world. The environment breeds success, productivity, inspiration and creativity.

You can try something like that if you’re easily distracted and find a hard time getting to work.

4. Mini Habits to Help You Build Discipline and Get Serious About Your Writing.

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Eliminate distractions.

  • tell others what time you’re writing every day so that no one comes in the room, calls or texts you during that time;
  • when you write, write. Nothing else should bother you. Everything else can wait;
  • don’t listen to your inner critic. It has no idea what it’s talking about;
  • don’t think about editing while writing.

Be productive online.

  • use software that blocks everything else but the document you’re writing on;
  • don’t check email or social media all the time. Do it before you get to work and in the afternoon, for example;
  • if you’re using the Internet, have only one tab opened at a time;
  • be mindful of what you’re currently doing. Don’t think about the next thing you’ll write.

Structure your day around your writing sessions.

  • find your most productive time;
  • set fixed hours;
  • set goals/deadlines – write in 30-minute chunks, then take a break. Or don’t allow yourself to leave the desk before you’ve written a certain number of words or pages;
  • track your time and the work that gets done;
  • constantly make changes to your routines so that you can find the daily schedule that gives you best results.

Here’s how Henry Miller has built discipline by creating rules to follow:

  1. Work on one thing at a time until finished.
  2. Start no more new books, add no more new material to “Black Spring.”
  3. Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.
  4. Work according to Program and not according to mood. Stop at the appointed time!
  5. When you can’t create you can work.
  6. Cement a little every day, rather than add new fertilizers.
  7. Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it.
  8. Don’t be a draught-horse! Work with pleasure only.
  9. Discard the Program when you feel like it—but go back to it next day. Concentrate. Narrow down. Exclude.
  10. 10.Forget the books you want to write. Think only of the book you are writing.
  11. 11.Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema, all these come afterwards.

They’re published in this book.

And here’s how other famous writers keep their writing life organized:

  • “Turn off your cell phone. Honestly, if you want to get work done, you’ve got to learn to unplug. No texting, no email, no Facebook, no Instagram. Whatever it is you’re doing, it needs to stop while you write. A lot of the time (and this is fully goofy to admit), I’ll write with earplugs in — even if it’s dead silent at home.” (Nathan Englander)
  • When he first started writing, Grisham says, he had “these little rituals that were silly and brutal but very important.”
    “The alarm clock would go off at 5, and I’d jump in the shower. My office was 5 minutes away. And I had to be at my desk, at my office, with the first cup of coffee, a legal pad and write the first word at 5:30, five days a week.”
    His goal: to write a page every day. Sometimes that would take 10 minutes, sometimes an hour; ofttimes he would write for two hours before he had to turn to his job as a lawyer, which he never especially enjoyed.”
  • “First drafts as early in the morning as possible, then second, then third (retyping, I work on a manual). Once the first draft is 80% completed I start on the second, so that there’s a conveyor belt of drafts in progress: this helps me to grasp the totality of the book. I accelerate towards the end, usually because I’m on or past my deadline.” (Will Self)
  • “There are certain things I do if I sit down to write,” he said. “I have a glass of water or a cup of tea. There’s a certain time I sit down, from 8:00 to 8:30, somewhere within that half hour every morning,” he explained. “I have my vitamin pill and my music, sit in the same seat, and the papers are all arranged in the same places. The cumulative purpose of doing these things the same way every day seems to be a way of saying to the mind, you’re going to be dreaming soon.” (Stephen King)
  • How do you begin writing?
    Fitfully. I’ll write something, but it won’t be the beginning or the middle or the end — I’m just getting an idea out on the page. Then, as the words accumulate, I start thinking about how they need to be organized.
    Is there any time of day you like to write?
    I’ve always written best very early in the morning and very late at night. I write very little in the middle of the day. If I do any work in the middle of the day, it is editing what I’ve written that morning.” (Michael Lewis)

Source

5. Zen Habits for Writers.

Writing: Getting to Work and Unleashing The Writer Within

There’s also the spiritual side of the whole writing process. And it’s closely related to how much work you’ll have done in the end and how good it will be.

Here’s how to enjoy the process, be yourself and do your best:

  • let go of judgement, fear, expectations and doubts while writing;
  • be present – don’t think about what you’ve written before or what you might write in the future. Focus on your work now and put pen to paper;
  • don’t compare it to someone else’s work;
  • be okay with the mistakes you make and know it’s all a learning experience;
  • enjoy the process – appreciate having the chance to do what you love;
  • turn the whole ritual into a pleasant experience.

Ray Bradbury says the following in an interview:

“My passions drive me to the typewriter every day of my life, and they have driven me there since I was twelve. So I never have to worry about schedules. Some new thing is always exploding in me, and it schedules me, I don’t schedule it. It says: Get to the typewriter right now and finish this.

Susan Sontag prefers to do things slowly in order to fully experience the process:

“I write with a felt-tip pen, or sometimes a pencil, on yellow or white legal pads, that fetish of American writers. I like the slowness of writing by hand. Then I type it up and scrawl all over that.”

Ernest Hemingway describes writing as a journey of self-discovery and a deep life experience, and even compares it to making love:

“You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again. You have started at six in the morning, say, and may go on until noon or be through before that. When you stop you are as empty, and at the same time never empty but filling, as when you have made love to someone you love. Nothing can hurt you, nothing can happen, nothing means anything until the next day when you do it again. It is the wait until the next day that is hard to get through.” [Source]

Don DeLillo is all about solitude, finding peace and spending time in nature:

“I work in the morning at a manual typewriter. I do about four hours and then go running. This helps me shake off one world and enter another. Trees, birds, drizzle — it’s a nice kind of interlude. Then I work again, later afternoon, for two or three hours. Back into book time, which is transparent — you don’t know it’s passing. No snack food or coffee. No cigarettes — I stopped smoking a long time ago. The space is clear, the house is quiet. A writer takes earnest measures to secure his solitude and then finds endless ways to squander it. Looking out the window, reading random entries in the dictionary.”

Jodi Picoult denies the existence of writer’s block:

“I don’t believe in writer’s block. Think about it — when you were blocked in college and had to write a paper, didn’t it always manage to fix itself the night before the paper was due? Writer’s block is having too much time on your hands. If you have a limited amount of time to write, you just sit down and do it. You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.”

So do I, actually. I think it’s just an excuse we come up with, a way to procrastinate, and is a result of insecurity, fear of failure and other self-limiting beliefs.

And it can be easily overcome with the right mindset and attitude.

***

So I think I covered all important aspects of creating a writing morning ritual that can help you boost productivity, produce your best work and be in a great mood while doing it.

What else can you add?

Share the techniques that work best for you, other examples of famous writers’ daily routines and morning habits you admire, and the mistakes you’ve done in the past.

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How This Family Guy Makes $10,000/Month Online Teaching Others How to Make, Save and Invest Money

How This Family Guy Makes $10,000/Month Online Teaching Others How to Make, Save and Invest Money - Interview with R.J. Weiss from TheWaystoWealth.com

This is an interview-style post with R.J. Weiss from The Ways to Wealth.

Hey R.J. What’s your background and what do you do?

I blog about all things personal finance at The Ways to Wealth.

Before I went full-time into blogging, I spent ten years in the financial services industry. Specifically, helping families buy the right type of life insurance.

During my time with a full-time job, I’ve always had different side hustles going on. From freelance writing, Amazon FBA, conversion rate optimization, to website design — there were many projects I pursued outside of work.

How did you start your career in finance?

I got started in finance straight out of college working for my the family insurance business. As I love the financial planning side of things, I choose to specialize in life insurance planning. This led me down the path to obtaining the CFP® Certification.

What made you start blogging?

The Ways to Wealth, which I started in 2016, has been my 5th blog.

The others mostly fizzled out most due to a lack of interest. But, in 2009 I started a personal finance blog called GenYWealth.com (no longer around) that had some success.

The idea GenYwealth.com was to write about what I was learning about studying to take the CFP®. The blog was, by all means, a success. I was able to gain valuable knowledge, pass the CFP® exam, earn some extra money and build up a good community.

I then took this knowledge and started a business blog, which allowed the insurance agency I was working for to generate leads.

I started The Ways to Wealth because my passion is personal finance–from investing to travel hacking, I love the challenge of optimizing my finances.

How was The Ways to Wealth born?

I didn’t have much of a plan for starting The Ways to Wealth when I purchased the domain name.

I was actually thinking it would be a niche site, which was inspired by Pat Flynn’s niche site duel. Then, I came across the income reports of Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and wisely changed direction to a more traditional blog.

This change came about 6-months after starting to blog.  I did a timeline of the site in one of my income reports.

What worked best when trying to grow the site?

I had a decent knowledge of SEO. So at first, I started growing the site with email outreach. One of the first posts I had about best investing books of all time, had about 15 links to it.

This was nice to start with but was quite slow to build up, as it can take a while to earn Google’s trust.

The big turning point came when I started to understand Pinterest. I spent a few frustrating weeks on the platform, then it finally started paying dividends.

I went from about 100 sessions a day to 1,000, which was huge for me at the time.

How did you get to 3 million monthly viewers on Pinterest?

the ways to wealth pinterest 3 million monthly views

I lay out my Pinterest strategy here. But at the core the idea is to:

1) Write high-quality content that Pinners want to click through, read, and share.

2) Pin to my own and high-quality group boards, with a keyword-rich description.

3) Continue to Pin my best pins across my own boards/group boards, ruthlessly eliminating Pins that don’t perform well.

One thing to keep in mind is impressions don’t mean much on Pinterest. What counts are clicks to your website. So, you want to design not for impressions but clicks.

What aspects of the online business are you outsourcing or automating and how?

The first thing I outsourced was Pinterest design. I’ll design about 30-40 pins a month, so this was big time saver for me.

Of course, it took some work to get going. At first, I hired 5 or so people on Fiverr. I found one decent designer but the work quality deteriorated over time.

I then went to Upwork and posted a job for a  graphic designer. I found a great team down in Argentina, who I’m very happy with.

I’m currently experimenting with working with a ghostwriter. A few of my latest posts have been transcribed from my recording, with the ghostwriter making sense of it all.

I can compile about 3 posts in 90 minutes, then take another 90 or so minutes to prepare them. Saving me around 3-4 hours per post this way.

What’s your main income stream and why do you think it works for you?

My main source of income for the blog is affiliate revenue. It works because the partners I do have are high-quality businesses, who deliver value and solve real problems. This makes it easy to naturally link to such a partner.

When did you start making more than $10K/month and what was the turning point?

My first month over $10K was in January of 2018. In December of 2017, income was around $3,000 and in July of 2017 around $500. So, it was definitely a jump.

What happened then in January?

First, personal finance is at its peak interest in January.

Second, I had multiple Pins go viral.

Third, in November I started driving traffic via Facebook to the site. So, in January I could take campaigns I’d been fine-tuning for a few weeks and scale them.

How do you balance work and family life?

I have a routine I stick to Monday through Friday.

When inside of my designated working hours, I work. When outside of these hours, I’m not.

This is a lot easier said than done. But the thing important for me is not to take work everywhere I go. This means I don’t have any apps on my phone that are work-related (email, analytics, etc..)

What are you 3 best finance tips for newbies?

  • Focus on your savings rate. How much you save is the most important decision you’ll make.
  • Small incremental improvements add up over time. My favorite example is increasing your savings rate 1% every quarter, means you’ll be saving 20% of your income in just 5 years.
  • Study happiness. Become a student on how to increase your level of happiness. The natural result is you’ll want less overtime, making the game of personal finance a lot easier to win.

What books, blogs or podcasts help you stay motivated along the way of growing an online business?

I read a fair amount to keep fresh ideas in my head.

My favorite podcast is The Tim Ferriss Show.

Two blogs I enjoy reading are:

Farnam Street
Barking up the Wrong Tree

And as far as books. I try to read one a week. A few books I would recommend to online entrepreneurs would be:

Deep Work by Cal Newport
The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss

Pin this post if you enjoyed the interview.

Check out my interview with R.J. from TheWaystoWealth to see how he entered the finance niche, started making money blogging, began bringing traffic from Pinterest and monetizing it with affiliate marketing, and is now making $10,000/month from his online business. #blogger #interview #blogtraffic #incomeideas #income