A Writer’s Shiny Sink—10 Ways to Write Every Day

The home cleaning website Flylady.net is devoted to helping people establish routines for getting rid of their clutter and keeping their houses clean. Flylady starts everyone off with only one task to do every day–shine your kitchen sink. From there you take baby steps to add more items to your routine until the next thing you know, your house is consistently no more than 15 min away from being company-ready.

And it all starts with the shiny sink.

What is a writer’s shiny sink? What is the one thing we should do every day to start building our routines on? The obvious answer is write every day. [Groan, I know! I know!] It all starts with the writing. You can’t edit what you don’t have. You can’t sell what you don’t have.

So if you need to change up your routine so you can write every day, here is a list of 10 ways to write every day:

1. Nifty 350—besides being fun to say, this is a nice number of words to start with to get the juices flowing (borrowed from James Scott Bell); also, Club 100 from Stephanie.

2. Set a number of pages/day—like 1, or 5, or 10 (remember baby steps!)

3. Set the number of scenes or chapters/day—like one chapter

4. Set a time limit, such as one hour before the kids get up, or one hour after they go to bed. Or, like Flylady says, “You can do anything for 15 min.” Set the timer.

5. Take your laptop to a coffee shop.

6. Find a writing partner—not to do the work for you but to keep yourself accountable. You have to check in with each other every day.

7. Graph it—record how much you write in a spreadsheet.

8. Keep a writer’s chore chart.

9. Create a writer’s playlist—only play this music when you are writing to get that pavlovian response. True confessions—I happen to play ABBA’s Greatest Hits—upbeat music and I already know most of the words so it’s not too distracting.

10. Get a deadline—enter a contest, submit your work to an agent or editor, sign up for a critique at a conference, etc. Anything that forces you to put fingers to keyboard.

NaNoWriMo meets Flylady

To understand this new blog there are two key words you need to know: NaNoWriMo and Flylady.

“Wouldn’t it be great if we could do Nano all year round?” began the conversation.

Nanowrimo is the website that challenges writers to write a novel in one month. You kill yourself trying to do it, but in the end you’ve got a novel. Last November the three of us dove in. Kitty and Stephanie both completed the challenge with over 50,000 words. I think I came in just under 17,000. Note: That counts as a novel for me since I’m writing children’s books!  Really, it does.  And I’m not even jealous of all the work they managed to do.


However, Nano is too intense. No one could survive 12 months of Nano.


Flylady is the website that helps homemakers set up cleaning routines to make housekeeping automatic. The idea is, once you’ve got your routines down, the house seems to take care of itself. Flylady is famous for “baby steps” and “you can do anything for 15 minutes.”

So, introducing Nano (getting words on paper) to Flylady (setting up routines) you get Routines for Writers! Setting up your writing routines so that the words seem to take care of themselves. Wouldn’t that be great?

The three of us have spent the last two years or so helping each other get more written. My NaNo novel has grown by many thousand words and I’m preparing to send it out to agents.

Some of my background? Well, in my LBK (life before kids) I was a working writer. I wrote computer help files and educational software content. On the side I sold (a small number) of articles to teen mags. My dream has always been novels. Now that my kiddos can keep themselves busy long enough for me to put two coherent thoughts together, I’m working on the dream.

Are you with us? Let’s encourage each other to keep our fingers on the keyboard.