How to Set Up a Writing Schedule
I briefly touched on the importance of developing a regular writing schedule on Tuesday, but sometimes that sort of advice can be like telling someone who can’t swim that it is important to regularly move your arms and legs while you’re in the water—the advice might be technically correct, but some specifics would be appreciated. That’s why today we’re going to look at some simple and specific advice for how to set up a regular writing schedule and stick with it.
The first thing that you should keep in mind is that writing, like any other task, will take exactly as much time as you give it. This might sound obvious but a lot of young writers make the mistake of giving themselves very open schedules, either by describing their schedule in terms of the amount of work they want to finish every day (e.g. “Write 2,500 words per day.”) or in terms of some vague intuition or feeling (e.g. “I’ll work until I’m done with it.”). These approaches might work for some writers—and by all means, if something is working, don’t change it—but the former tends to leave writers frustrated when they can’t accomplish the amount of work they set out to do, while the latter provides no metrics that a writer can use to make themselves accountable.
That’s why it is always better to develop a schedule based on specific and strictly defined periods of time. Structuring a writing schedule this way still provides a metric for tracking progress, but it also builds confidence by being relatively easily to accomplish. An ideal writing schedule is at least an hour every day, but the important thing is writing regularly and without interruptions. Whether it’s thirty minutes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, or two hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the important thing is to find time in your schedule that you can focus on your writing.
It can also be very helpful to keep a log or journal about your writing. It doesn’t need to be filled with long entries, just quick notes everyday about your accomplishments. A typical entry should read something like:
07/08/2015: 2 hours. 2,100 words on second chapter rewrite of neo-noir story.
You can also add a few other details, such as the status of various projects, how you felt about the day’s work, and any problems you might be having. This will not only help reinforce your writing schedule by making it part of a process (i.e. “I have to write today so I can record it in my writing log”), but it will also give you an easy way to identify any potential problems (e.g. “I keep skipping Wednesdays because my friends want to go out, maybe I should adjust my schedule to accommodate this behavior”).
These are only two things you can do that can help you begin to develop a writing schedule, but they should be enough to get started. The important thing to do is to find ways of reinforcing the structure and accountability a regular writing schedule provides. This can be accomplished by joining writing groups, rewarding yourself for sticking to your schedule, or uploading your work to a blog. Just so long as it helps you keeping writing regularly, there are no wrong answers.
Now that you’re equipped on how to setup a writing schedule, contact us today to get you that final polish by clicking on our Order Form.