My $2,250 Writing Day Routine

An honest look at the writer life

Michael Leonard
Mar 4 · 8 min read
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I don’t write every day.

Well, I don’t write massive amounts of content every day.

When I quit my six-figure job in 2017, I had two goals: build an online business and pursue professional golf.

Three years later, I’m still doing both and loving the journey. Not to say it’s been easy by any means, but I love being my own boss and controlling my destiny.

But the professional golf goal kind of gets in the way of having a weekday routine, so I have to schedule my writing time wisely. This works for me because honestly, I hate doing the same thing every day (hence quitting the nine-to-five world).

In the writing side of my business, I pump out quite a bit of content each month. I usually have two to five freelance clients, write for my email list, and publish six to eight posts per month on Medium starting in 2020.

Sometimes it’s a lot of content. I think the most I’ve written in a month was more than 120,000 words. It’s not something I want to do again but it did yield the highest-income month of my life ($20,050).

I love writing as long as I schedule my time properly. If I feel stressed or flustered, no one is going to read my best stuff. For me, planning is key to juggling so much at once.

To avoid context-switching and to stay organized, I try to keep my days simple to maximize productivity. I block my days into four types and schedule the week in detail every Sunday:

  • Day 1: Writing + Working out (write content + two exercise sessions per day)
  • Day 2: Coaching + Inspire your success (coach my writing students + grow my brand by recording podcasts, Instagram, funnels, etc.)
  • Day 3: Editing/researching + Golf (three to five hours at the golf course + editing content from the day before)
  • Day 4: Sunday = Free day (I try to leave this open so I can catch up, disconnect, and recharge for the following week. Usually, it’s just golf and fun, non-work related stuff.)

Writing Day Routine

Here’s a breakdown of one of my three writing days during the first week of February.

(Thanks, Tim Denning, for motivating me to write this after reading your awesome post.)

5 a.m. — Wake up

The alarm goes off.

I usually lay in bed for ten minutes listening to my girlfriend snore and petting our Corgi, Munchie, who found her way in between us.

5:15 a.m. — Pop pills

Take three nootropics (Tyrosine, Aniracetam, and Theanine) to protect my mental health and increase mental clarity for the massive writing day ahead.

Plus, I take a chewy multi-vitamin because I’m basically still a child. Chug 16 ounces of water to get my body going and grab some bulletproof coffee.

5:15 to 6ish a.m. — Morning rituals

I’m not here to preach any specific morning routine, but I do think having something to start the day grounded is vitally important, especially as a creator.

In my routine, I include two or three rituals such as self-hypnosis, journaling, meditation, or reading. These all help me set intentions for the day, monitor my thoughts, cultivate new ideas, and reprogram my subconscious mind for my goals.

It’s important to start your day off proactively rather than reacting to the world. I don’t check emails or social media before 6 a.m.

6 a.m. — Writing session #1

Around 6 a.m., I start hitting the keyboard.

The night before, I set myself up for success by getting everything ready for the day of writing ahead. I make it so that I can turn on my iMac and instantly start writing with no distractions.

I wear noise-canceling headphones, beta-blockers, have one or two tabs open, and work at my stand-up desk to start the day.

During writing time, the spell check is off and I write for 25 minutes with five-minute breaks or for 50 minutes with ten-minute breaks (Pomodoro Technique).

On this particular day, I was doing 25/5, writing content for one of my personal development clients. I got three sessions completed before heading to yoga.

8 a.m. — Hot yoga

One of my big pushes in 2020 was to focus on mental health above anything else. After several breakdowns riding the entrepreneur roller coaster in the past few years, quieting the mind and guarding my mental health is my number one priority.

I joined a 21-day yoga challenge in January and got hooked. Now I do hatha yoga, hot fit (30-minute workout in the hot yoga room), and yoga Nidra (sleep yoga) for a total of three to six classes per week.

9 a.m. — Gym

I go straight from hot yoga to my group training gym (F45) for a wildly efficient workout in 45 minutes. I find that on heavy writing days, the extra exercise seems to give me more of a boost and also gets me out of the house.

9:50 a.m. — Breakfast procrastination

Even though I got home at 9:50, I procrastinate, make breakfast, and finally get back in front of my computer at 10:30 a.m.

10:30 a.m. — Writing session #2

During writing session number two, I write four Pomodoro sessions (25 minutes on, 5 minutes off). During this session, I write two blog posts of around 2,000 words each for my client.

12:30 p.m. — Lunch break

After two full writing sessions, I take a half-hour break to walk my dog and get outside. I also have lunch and break my 16-hour fast as I usually eat from 12 to 8 p.m.

Before I get back to writing, I take a CBD gummy to stay relaxed as I got way too stressed out the previous week and am doing a 30-day CBD experiment. (Update: It works great to reduce anxiety!)

1 p.m. — Writing session #3

Write three more Pomodoros.

During this part of the day, I have to intentionally block out all distractions to stay focused. This time of day is when clients seem to email, friends/family text, and my girlfriend is at home.

3 p.m. — Writing coaching

I broke my rule on this day by talking to a 1:1 client on a writing day, but it worked out. I needed a break from the computer, and it was nice to talk to someone other than my dog.

She’s just getting started on her journey, so we talk all things freelance writing for about 75 minutes. It helps me recharge for my final writing session.

4:15 p.m. — Afternoon break

At this point, I feel myself wanting to crack a beer and mindlessly watch TV as my brainpower is dwindling. But I told myself that I was finishing this work for a client, so I do a quick meditation and zone out for a little bit.

5 p.m. — Writing session #4

At this point, my brain is nearly mush. But I power through the final writing sessions knowing full well that it’s going to require a lot of editing tomorrow.

A big theme for me this year is self-integrity. After reading this Harvard Business School study on integrity, I make a conscious effort to do what I say I’m going to do.

The meditation must have helped as I ended up writing pretty solid content and did four more Pomodoros.

7 p.m. — Dinner

I take a deep breath, pat myself on the back, and make dinner. The rest of the night, I recharge, plan for tomorrow, and unwind.

The following day is a golf + editing day, where I’ll spend most of the morning editing today's content and play golf in the afternoon.

9:30 p.m. — Bedtime

After this much mental and physical activity, I’m almost always in bed by 10 p.m.

Finished product

  • 2 blog posts: 2,100 words each @ .25 cents per word ($1,050 total)
  • 2 emails for blog posts: Average 500 words @ .20 cents per word ($200 total)
  • 2 course module PDFs: 2,500 words each @ .20 cents per word ($1,000 total)

Total words: ~ 10,200

Total money earned: $2,250

7 Biggest Takeaways

  • Use the Pomodoro Technique: I use a $5 timer from Amazon to focus on writing in 25-minute chunks. Otherwise, I end up checking email, scrolling the gram, and just wasting time. This is why I use a timer that isn’t on my phone!
  • Listen to instrumental music: I can’t write with music that has lyrics, so I listen to weird instrumental epic fantasy music on YouTube. Or if I need a mental boost, I opt for binaural beats instead.
  • Write about stuff you love: I would never be able to write 10,000 words if I didn’t enjoy the content. This writing day was all about personal development content, which I’m wildly passionate about, so it was a lot of fun. Not only is writing about stuff you love more fun, but you can do it a lot faster.
  • Do what works best for you: Every writer is different. I’ve tried to stick to a more structured routine, but I’m not the type of person who can write for eight hours in a row. This schedule helps me waste less time and get more done, so I can get out of my office and onto the golf course!
  • Don’t neglect your health: When I got started on this entrepreneurial journey, I definitely sacrificed my health at times, physically and mentally. Now, I make a concentrated effort to work out five or six times per week and to do things like yoga, self-hypnosis, and other self-care rituals. Making money isn’t worth sacrificing your mental health!
  • Write and edit separately: As you can tell, I don’t write and edit on the same day. Even if you can’t separate it by a day, I suggest a few hours or more between writing and editing. This makes it easier to disconnect and read your stuff subjectively.
  • Get around people: In the past, I would go days barely having any real conversations with human beings. Being an extrovert, this really killed my energy at times. Know your personality and what type of environment you need to thrive. Now I go to group workouts, yoga, and I intentionally connect with others to recharge.

I hope this breakdown of my writing routine gives you a few ideas moving forward.

Remember: Test, test, and test what works best for you. There is no one way to do this. Everyone has different schedules and peak writing times.

Better Marketing

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Inspirational Writer, Coach, & Creator of Inspire Your Success Podcast. Learn how to find your 1st writing client FAST—>

Better Marketing

Marketing advice & case studies to help you market ethically, authentically, and efficiently.

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Written by

Inspirational Writer, Coach, & Creator of Inspire Your Success Podcast. Learn how to find your 1st writing client FAST—>

Better Marketing

Marketing advice & case studies to help you market ethically, authentically, and efficiently.

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