Aspirational Writing Routines
Why I envy Haruki Murakami.
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ASPIRATIONAL WRITING ROUTINES
It happens to me around this time every year. The energy of a new year trickles right into my writing routine. I wake up earlier. I write longer. I read more. It’s wonderful!
However, wonderful as it feels to wake up and get right to writing, these habits are hardly ever sustainable. Whenever I inevitably fall off the horse, I always end up right back where I started: overanalyzing the routines of the writers I love.
The first writing routine that really spoke to me was that of novelist Haruki Murakami. I’ll never forget coming across the following description of Murakami’s writing routine, originally published in The Paris Review, in’s blog. Emphasis mine:
“When I’m in writing mode for a novel, I get up at 4:00 am and work for five to six hours. In the afternoon, I run for 10km or swim for 1500m (or do both), then I read a bit and listen to some music. I go to bed at 9:00 pm. I keep to this routine every day without variation.
The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind.”
Mesmerism! Maybe that’s what I need, I tell myself over and over. Maybe that’s the key to writing an incredible novel.
What’s even more appealing to me about Murakami’s daily routine, though, is the space in which he writes. He has a massive vinyl collection of jazz records—after all, before Murakami was a full-time writer, he owned a jazz club!—and he keeps the records lined up tidily in his office.
No wonder he’s able to wake up a 4AM to write, I find myself thinking constantly. I would, too, if I had 10,000 records there to distract me.
I don’t think the act of aspiring to another writer’s routine is such a bad thing, as long as we don’t judge ourselves too harshly when we don’t follow those routines to a T. For me, romanticizing someone else’s routine is all part of the mystery and allure of the creative process. To wake up at 4AM and listen to a jazz record while writing would certainly shake things up, and doesn’t the act of writing just beg to be shaken up?! If I’m clicky-clacking on my laptop for hours at a time, I want to have a little fun while I’m doing it.
If you’re feeling that new year energy the way I am, keep leaning into it. Don’t let the resolution naysayers get you down. As long as you’re writing, why question it?
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HARUKI MURAKAMI 🎈
Hilariously, while writing this very newsletter issue, I learned that today is Haruki Murakami’s birthday! Talk about synchronicity. The writer turns 75 today. In his honor, I’m going to do some writing, listen to Miles Davis, and maybe even squeeze in a run.
A NEW INTERVIEW
Recently,spoke with me about my writing process and growth on Substack. Catch the full conversation below! I recommend this one for folks who are considering starting a newsletter this year.
BOOK CLUB FOR WRITERS
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