I’ve learned the importance of having a writing schedule the hard way. For years, I waited for inspiration to strike or to ‘feel’ like writing only to be disappointed in myself for letting time slip away without actually writing. The bottom line is, you can’t be a writer if you don’t write. And the only sure fire way to write is to make it a priority, which means it needs to be a planned part of your schedule.
But we all know that’s easier said than done. So, how does one create a writing schedule? Here are my suggestions.
Reflect on what worked in the past.
So much can be said about learning from the past. Yes, things change, but it’ll give you a starting point. Were there certain times of day that worked better? Was there something that motivated you more then? Did you have a routine? Are there habits you can start again?
Try out different times.
There are people who are adamant about morning writing. But I imagine you can find just as many who find their stride late at night. If you don’t know where you fall, try out different times of the day. Take note of what’s going on that helps or hinders your progress.
Decide on a goal.
There are many types of goals. For starters, you can have a goal to open your computer and write a sentence. You can have a time goal, like write for an hour. There are word count goals. And of course daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. These can change, but it’s a good idea to have an idea of what you’re working with. Try setting an outcome and a time frame as well as planning action steps to get there. Example: Outcome: finish a first draft in 90 days. Action steps: daily word count. (See 90 novel writing tracking sheet below).
And don’t forget the most important part of goal setting – make it attainable. The minute your subconscious knows it’s not going to happen, it’s likely to give up.
I’m all about tracking. Having a calendar filled with wins is a huge motivator. Track it and congratulate yourself for your efforts. Below is a weekly writing schedule sheet and a 90 day novel writing plan I created on Canva.com. Feel free to use my tracking sheets or create your own. Canva has a lot of free templates that you can modify to meet your needs.
Repeat and adjust.
It’s a good idea to constantly reflect and adjust your schedule as needed, especially in the beginning when you’re learning what makes you most productive. Your goals and times and even the way you track can change. The key is to try to be on the front end creating mindful changes rather than constantly reacting. That could leave you feeling overwhelmed.
Celebrate your wins.
Be sure to acknowledge what you’ve accomplished, no matter how small, even if that’s as simple as opening your computer. Wins add up.
So, now it’s your turn. Was any of this helpful? How do you go about creating a writing schedule?