How do you write best? Music, no music? At home or in a coffee shop?
We asked some of our lovely Lyrical Host bloggers what their favorite writing rituals are, and here’s what they said…
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“I write in a notebook in the morning then type it out. Must have coffee, but recently dumped a mug on my laptop, so I should probably invest in one of those rubber keyboards. Magic happens with coffeshop sounds from YouTube, or music depending on what I’m writing. I procrastinate or reward myself with reading, watching bloopers, and cooking shows. I don’t cook.”
– Lorna, GinLemonade.com
“I work from home and I’m lucky enough to have a separate office (a spare bedroom) where I have my desk and PC. However, besides using my PC to work on my podcast, I can’t work on “hobby” things in there like my blog because then the line between work and fun is blurred. So instead, I’ll use my laptop or my iPad in a different part of the house (I’ve just set up a little breakfast bar area that I think will be great for working at!).
Ideally, I work best when I’m out of the house, like in a cafe, but unfortunately due to obvious reasons, that’s not an option at the moment! I feel a lot more inspired to get things done when I’m out in a different environment (preferably with a cold drink and a cake) – maybe because my home is where I spend literally all of my time, even for work.
Planning-wise, I’ve been through a ton of different tools over the years, trying to find what sticks. I’ve used Google Docs, Asana, Trello, and all sorts. Right now, I use Trello to organise everything (my blog, 2 podcasts, and a YouTube channel!). Then I’ll write my blog posts either in Google Docs, or more often now, I’ll write them directly in WordPress. I’m also slowly working my way through updating all my old posts and I have a big database of them all in Airtable.
How I plan out a post depends on the type of post – if it’s a book review I have a template I use, but if it’s a different post, especially a more long-form post, I’ll start with some bullet points and expand from there. Then I’ll make all the graphics, finalise the post, do the SEO etc, and it’s good to go.”
– Charlotte, WonderfullyBookish.co.uk
“My best ideas for intros come when I’m in the shower – I’ve been known to make a quick note the second I step out. But when I’m writing properly, I to be sitting at my desk in my home office, with no distractions and I always write in Calibri 11pt, with single spaced lines… even if it shouldn’t make any difference!”
– Cathy, MummyTravels.com
“When I sit down to at my laptop to write, I usually have a cup of tea and a couple of biscuits on the go!
Generally speaking I like to work with no background noise at all, especially if it’s something that needs all my concentration – I don’t like to have any distractions. If I’m struggling with a post and try to write each of the headings out to give myself some structure and go from there.
– Fiona, SavvyInSomerset.com
“I like to plan my posts out before I write them.
A list of headings to the flesh out later.
Must have a cup of tea at all times and a footstool is a necessity.”
– Fiona, FromFiona.com
“To be in my ideal productive zone I need a big bottle of water on my desk, music playing (but not too loud) and snacks within reach but out of sight (so I only touch them if I get peckish). I have my favourite working spot in the living room just next to the window so that I can get some natural light. I also turn my phone upside down so that I’m not distracted by notifications!”
– Emma, BeeMoneySavvy.com
“Getting ready to write, for me, involves making sure that everything I need is close at hand. This includes a drink (usually coffee and my water bottle) and snacks of some form. I also keep a notebook and pen close at hand as I find that writing one blog post often leads to inspiration for future posts! I can work anywhere, often juggling between my home office and my backyard, but I always have music going in the background. Silence kills my creative spark and fast!”
– Brett, ShedHappens.net
“When I’m writing, I have to have some sort of background noise. It doesn’t matter if it’s music, a podcast, or just a random TV show, but there has to be something. There is always a cold drink sitting close by when I’m writing and sometimes a snack. It keeps me from walking into my kitchen in the middle of trying to be productive and getting distracted. I use Trello to keep track of my scheduled posts, upcoming posts that I need to write, and any ideas about future posts that come to me in the moment.”
– Stormi, BewitchedReader.com
“I like to outline my blog posts before I go to write them. There’s nothing scarier than a blank page when you have a deadline! I write my posts in Google Docs so that I don’t clutter up my laptop with lots of files. I’m very lucky to have a spare room I can use as an office because I can’t bear any background noise. It’s earplugs and no music for me!”
– Catherine, TurnerProofreading.com
“I write most of my mine in a notebook first and then type it up because I tend to notice more mistakes that way. When I am truly in the zone then I need to have some kind of classic music playing in my headphones, I find a film score usually works quite well. I keep a list of the ideas that I have for posts at the back of my notebook and so just do the ones that inspire at any one time. Need to keep a bottle of water on hand at all times and if I’m feeling a bit fancy then I’ll have a coffee. I can write pretty much anywhere I can lean a notebook against and get a good angle to write in.”
– Sophie, TheGiraffeFiles.com
“I need peace and quiet to write which isn’t easy with my family buzzing around. It’s too hot to work in my home office in the conservatory so I have a desk in the lounge at the moment.
I usually write a first draft and then leave it for a day as I always get more ideas when I return to a piece of writing. I always have a tab in my browser for WordHippo open so that I have a thesaurus handy.
I usually write directly into WordPress if it’s for my own blog, or in a Word document in Dropbox if it’s for a client. Word is great as you can easily keep an eye on the word count too. For a client post I plan how many words to put in each section, but when I write for myself it’s not so important how long it is.”
– Ali, SummerleyDigital.com/Blog
“First, I grab a cup of tea — recently I’ve been drinking PG Tips.
Then I select a playlist from Spotify to match my writing topic, open up Scrivener, and get to writing.”
– Sarah, SJSiedenburg.com
“I used to write my posts with wine and zero planning, but now that I have to have an actual beginning, middle and end, I changed up my game. I prefer first thing in the morning while the kids are still asleep, but if they are awake, I almost need music to drown them out: Songs that they used to play at the club (like Apple Bottom Jeans, Boots with the Fur), male macho workout music (ie Rob Bailey and the Hustle Standard), or creative soul music (ie India Arie & Erykah Badu).
I usually have a list from previous keyword research, and I pick something. I might do more keyword research, using Google and Pinterest and maybe Quora to find lsi keywords, things to mention, etc. Because I will write 40,000 words if I’m not careful, I first decide if this will be a super long post, or a short normal one. Then I create an outline.”
– Michelle, BloggingLearn.com
Share your own writing rituals with us in the comments – we’d love to hear them!