Many people think writing is something that happens when we’re inspired — struck by a lightning bolt of ideas, if you will. That when we’re inspired we just naturally “find” time to write.
And in a perfect world, that’d be true. (And in a perfect world we’d all have mentors and patrons supporting us to fulfill our creative callings!)
The truth is though, most of us are busy with day jobs, families, and other commitments in addition to our writing, so we have to take a different approach.
Creating Your Writer’s Schedule Is About Intentionally Making Time to Write
We don’t find time to write. We make time to write.
And making time to write requires being intentional. Writing doesn’t “just happen.”
When a writer comes to me with a book or script to finish, first I find out about their deadline, and whether it’s a self-created deadline or an industry deadline. Then I ask about when they have time write.
Sometimes they have answers, sometimes they don’t. Usually it’s in the form of some general notions about when they could write or how and when they are already writing (if they are), which is a terrific place to start.
From there I ask a lot of questions about their ideal writing times, other habits, routines, and obligations and we co-create a weekly Target Writing Schedule. We use a weekly schedule because it’s a repeatable model writers can carry forward with them throughout the whole year, adjusting as needed when major schedule changes or variations occur. (My Ultimate Writer’s Toolkit includes a simple step-by-step process to walk you through creating your personal Ideal Writing Schedule and Target Writing Schedule.)
We call it a target schedule because we know that sometimes life goes awry and we don’t hit our targets, but this way we know what to do when that happens — just flow back into the plan the next day or at the first available opportunity. It’s like having a regular work schedule. You get sick and miss a day, and then go right back to work when you get better.
The Magic Happens When You Make a Writer’s Schedule
So much magic happens when you make your writer’s schedule:
- You become more intentional about writing, and more aware of any choices you make that stop you from writing.
- You make writing a priority in your life, and validate that priority as you put it into action.
- You have an easier time keeping writing appointments with yourself when they’re planned into your day.
- You raise the bar on the professionalism you’re bringing to your writing. There’s a chasm between hoping to write and scheduling writing, and putting it on your calendar helps you bridge that gap. It’s about turning pro.
- You become far more likely to protect your writing time from scheduling other meetings or events during those time slots.
- You create a container for your writing, so when you have a project you want to complete, you know just how and when you’ll do it.
- You become much more likely to stay on track with finishing your project without getting burnt out, or ending up in binge-writing mode struggling to meet a deadline at the last minute.
- You know when and how to reboot yourself if you get off track one day — you go back to the schedule the next day.
If you’re looking ahead to writing seriously in 2017, start by setting up your writer’s schedule, so you’ll be ready to hit the ground running when the clock turns.
You may also like:
- 3 Tips for Staying Energized When Writing a Book (or Script!)
- 7 Easy Ways to Sneak In Writing Time Over the Holidays (and Why It’s Worth It)
- Writing With Intention: The Power of Journaling About Your Writing Process