The Importance of a Writing Schedule

I run into a lot of writers that say they can only write under very specific circumstances. These special snowflakes claim that they can only write at the right place and during the right time, like a work-averse version of one of those flowers that only bloom in moonlight. I even once met a young writer who said that he could only write after midnight while smoking on the balcony of his apartment. I don’t know what that guy is doing today, but if I had to guess I’d say that he spends more time writing excuses than anything else.

The truth is that you can teach yourself to write anywhere at any time. I used to think that I could only write at night, but I was quickly disabused of that notion during a time in my life when I had to work 60+ hours a week just to make ends meet. Trust me, the first few times you hammer out 1,200 words based on the notes and story ideas you jotted down during a 12-hour shift will cure you of those sorts of superstitions nicely.

But despite how stupid it is to believe that you can only write during an eclipse and other similarly mystical nonsense, one of the most important things a young writer can do to develop good writing habits is to establish a regular writing schedule. This might seem like the same thing, but there is a distinct difference between the two that’s fairly easy to identify. A writing schedule is a regular allotment of time you set aside every day for writing, while superstitious nonsense is an excuse for why you aren’t writing. So, if you find yourself saying:

“I’m sorry guys, I can’t go to the movie. I have to write.”

Congratulations! You have a writing schedule and for a writer that’s way better than having friends. Or at least that’s what I tell myself. However, if you say:

“I can’t write right now. I only write at night.”

You have a superstition that is nothing but an excuse to avoid writing. On the other hand, you’ll probably end up seeing a lot more movies.

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