According to Merriam-Webster, any writers' friend,
If you are currently working on a literary project or manuscript:
- Do you have a writing schedule?
- Is it written or printed out?
- Which do you prefer — a certain time frame or a specific number of words?
- Are you able to adhere to your schedule?
- What happens when the wheels fall off your writing plan?
According to Merriam-Webster, any writers’ friend, the definition of schedule [noun] is:
· a plan of things that will be done and the times when they will be done
· a written or printed list of things and the times when they will be done.
I adhered more strictly to a writing schedule after embarking upon my first western fictional novel, Book One of The Sabblonti Series titled Janzti’s Jokers. Due to physical limitations, it was easier for me to work for a certain period of time on the days my schedule permitted as opposed to trying to set a goal of a certain number of words. Now that I am penning Book Two of the series, I am implementing that practice as well. Just for grins, I record the number of words on a small yellow lined tablet stored close to my computer.
Prior to writing fiction, I authored primarily inspirational books along with some poetry. If I had to take extended breaks between writing those genres, it did not seem like it took much to “get back in the river”, so to speak.
Experiencing quite a few interruptions or having to be absent from Jantzi Belle and the cattle crew in my fictional novel proved to be far more challenging as I would have to retrace my steps and figure out where I left off the last time my fingers touched the keyboard.
Stephen Covey’s sage advice comes to mind, “the key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”
I recently started blogging and have found that I enjoy it far more than I thought I would. One thing that has kept me on track is a blogging calendar. Businesses typically give out calendars at the beginning of each year, so I pressed one of those into service for my new found writing interest. Granted, it’s easier to use a calendar for blogging as most posts are short and to the point. A novel consisting of 80,000 to 140,000 words can seem far more daunting.
Times and seasons can also affect our writing schedules. As I am typing this, it is a glorious spring day in the mountain west complete with a gentle breeze, bright sunshine, blue sky, and the birds chirping outside my office window. When the thermometer registers 35 degrees Fahrenheit, the wind is howling, and it’s snowing sideways, it’s much easier to sit at a computer and hammer out mega words.
Let’s consider some things which may help to increase your writing capacity:
- Determine what is your optimum time of day wherein you are most productive, and strive to use that block of time for your writing endeavors.
- Take a long and short look at your calendar. Mark off some specific days that are set aside just for writing such as you would do for a doctor appointment.
- Analyze your daily routine to see if you can rearrange it to carve out more time for writing. For instance, if you have household chores or other things for which you are responsible and you normally do those in the morning, flip your schedule, and do those in the afternoon which frees up your morning to write.
- Assess your writing style. Are you trying to edit as you write? If so, this may be cutting into your initial productivity. Granted, there are different opinions on this matter. Some writers deem it’s best to get their thoughts down on paper and edit afterwards whereas others edit as they go. Different key and pen strokes for different folks.
- Some authors outline their manuscript ahead of time while others bemoan even the very suggestion of such a thing.
- Try talking a walk before you write to unleash the creativity within.
- Mothers with young children can sometimes find another mother with young children and work out a shared arrangement to free up time for each other.
- Comparing yourself to other writers and their schedules is counterproductive. Do what works for you.
- Join a small writer’s group where the members can assist and encourage you.
- Book fairs, signings, and related events are wonderful incentives to help keep your writing flowing. Endeavor to associate with writing clubs or organizations which conduct events as this will help you achieve your goal of getting your book published in a timely manner.
- Reward yourself for achieving your writing goals. This could be something as simple as a pretty bookmark, a fellow author’s book, a canister of your favorite tea, etc. The higher end, of course, would be that trip to the Bahamas or elsewhere that you have always wanted to take. J
I would like to hear from you as to what suggestions you have for fellow writers as to how to stay on schedule, increase productivity, reach your writing and publishing goals, and live happily ever after in the process.
Happy Reading & Write On Schedule!