How to Create a Writing Schedule (and Stick to It!)
Writing is something that we all want to — and should — do more of, but it’s so easy to get distracted, isn’t it?
We get up to stretch, or refill our drinks, or turn on our favorite show to listen to in the background or decide to do a little cleaning or run an errand while we formulate words for our next paragraph — or project.
Next thing you know, this has snowballed into hours or days later and we’ve still written nothing!
This is even worse when you write for a living and you have deadlines — you come back to find you only have an hour left when you had 3 days. Ouch!
Whether you just want to be more productive, or you’re just tired of your editors giving you the side-eye, it’s time to create a writing schedule.
Here’s how to create the writing schedule that will work best for you — and you’ll actually want to stick to it!
Treat It Like Any Other Job
The problem comes when you’re not treating it like any other 9-5 job — real work where you clock in and out, are responsible for duties, and answer to a boss.
Even if you are? Others around you might not be. That’s hard to get around! When family and friends don’t treat your writing seriously, it’s hard for you to do the same and get it done.
Set boundaries. Set time blocks and consider them work shifts. Call it working instead of writing. Don’t let chores and real life override your writing — work them around your work schedule, just like you would if you worked outside of the house.
Do whatever it takes to get yourself — and the others around you – in the right frame of mind about your writing, and working.
If you don’t already have hard deadlines, set them! If you DO, set yourself soft deadlines for certain stages in the project.
Not only will this help with your sense of time management, but it can help break the project into smaller, more manageable goals for you.
Most importantly, make sure you’re keeping track of your deadlines. It’s a great idea to use a calendar or planning app, but it’s also good to have a hard calendar or planner you can look at when you’re not near your computer, tablet, or phone.
Using something such as this 2018 daily planner will allow you to see everything you’ve got going on with one glance — helping you keep multiple projects straight, as well as other appointments and events as well!
Find Your Best Time, and Eliminate Distractions
Whether you’re a night owl, early riser, long walks for inspiration, or 3 cups of coffee to even function kind of person, there’s a time of day where you’ll find that your writing flows the easiest.
Maybe that’s not even the same every day, and that’s fine too. The trick is to find this sweet spot and schedule your writing for that time. You’ll find that not only will you enjoy it more, usually, but you’ll get more done.
It’s also important that you do your best to create or designate a spot for your writing — one that’s as free of distractions as possible.
Doing this will help the people around you to see that it’s work time, and leave you alone.
It will also help you get in the habit of knowing it’s writing time when you’re in this space, getting you in the right frame of mind as well as limiting your desire for distracting activities.
In the end, it is ultimately about will power, and in some cases outside influences, but creating a writing schedule for yourself will help you be more productive, get more written, and make more money.
Figure out what works best for you — and stick to it!