Haruki Murakami’s Writing Routine and (Running) Habits

How to create a daily writing rhythm and use exercise to boost your creativity

N.A. Turner
9 min readJul 20, 2021


Photo by Isaac Wendland on Unsplash

Haruki Murakami’s routine is one to envy, but it requires discipline. He wakes up before 5 a.m. and writes first thing. In the morning, his focus is at its peak, a moment when he can work on the most essential work of the day, which is usually writing a novel.

Then he works out. His discipline is reflected in his running routine. He aims to run every day or at least six days a week. That is a commitment. When he gets back home, he focuses on work that’s doesn’t require much concentration. He concludes the day by relaxing, reading and listening to music. Then he goes to bed early.

Does this routine make him one of the most prolific writers in the world? In his book, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, he argues that exercising sharpens the pencil of his creativity. He runs daily to stay in the best shape to create as focused as possible and as long as life lets him in good health. Talking about dedication to his craft!

The book is a delight to read. You get a glimpse into the mind and manners of one of the world’s favorite writers. When I read books like these, I’m always the most interested in what makes the creative person in question tick. What can other writers learn from him?

Haruki Murakami teaches us something simple yet powerful. A daily exercise routine helps you stay fit and focused, which dramatically complements a writing routine. You will stay productive, motivated, and creative. Here’s how he does it and how you can too.

“For me, writing a novel is like climbing a steep mountain, struggling up the face of the cliff, reaching the summit after a long and arduous ordeal. You overcome your limitations, or you don’t, one or the other. I always keep that inner image with me as I write.” — Haruki Murakami.

#1: Writing is a marathon, not a sprint

Murakami draws a comparison between running a full marathon and writing a novel. Both endeavors are highly measurable. For writing novels, it can be how many words you’ve written per day. For running a marathon, it’s about training your body to…



N.A. Turner

I write about writing & creativity. Short story writer and novelist. Amazon best-selling author. Free eBook with writing tips: bit.ly/TurnerMail