I used to think real writers wrote every day, all day, beginning in the wee hours and writing until midnight. If that were the case, I knew I’d never be a real writer.
When I joined a few email and Facebook groups, I realized real writers were also real people. They dealt with families that needed them, financial woes, job losses, weddings and reunions, serious illness, and ordinary interruptions to their schedules. In short, they were normal. As Patsy Clairmont said many years ago, “Normal is just a setting on your dryer.”
I knew I needed a schedule, though, or I’d have no way to track my writing goals. One author I know divided her days into half-hour segments and filled in each one for at least a month in advance. She’s far more determined than I am, so I’m hoping it works for her, but I’d be tearing my hair out in a couple of days. Unless I scheduled a lot of half-hour daydream times and breaks.
Another author rises at 5:00 AM every school day to write before her children need her. Again, this is not an option for me. I can only open one eye at a time at five o’clock. I’ve tried 6:00 AM, but my head keeps falling onto the computer keyboard and the results are unacceptable even as first drafts.
What to do? First of all, I need to accept the fact that working at home has its risks. There will be interruptions and distractions. But it’s much more affordable than renting space somewhere else and driving there each day. I’m trying to learn flexibility.
Secondly, I can’t necessarily fit into your writing schedule. We are diverse in our abilities, our energy levels, our personal situations. What works for you will probably not work for me.
But we can share our work schedule ideas and tweak them to suit.
Here are a few of mine in no special order:
- I try to remember to surrender my writing time to the Lord daily and ask Him for guidance
- I practice thinking of my writing time as high priority; it’s the work God has give me to do
- I plan ahead, at least the night before, or better yet, a week or month ahead (I often write my own blogs a few months at a time so I can focus on writing and editing my fiction)
- I list all my writing projects on a whiteboard, with columns to track my progress
- I forgive myself when I’ve taken too many days off (family reunion, Christmas, vacation…)
- I start again when I’ve failed to meet my own deadlines (I’ve moved to indie publishing)
- I try to think of my boss as God, not me
- I’m working on pushing social media down on the scale of first things to do at my computer
- I’ve decided that I won’t keep up with all social media or marketing skills, and that’s okay
What are some of your favorite tips for scheduling your writing time? I’d love to read them below.