Saturday, 17 March 2012

A Writing Schedule

You may have noticed that I haven't posted for a couple of weeks.  And you may remember I made a commitment to post regularly without fail!  I also made a commitment to write 100 words of my novel every day.  Without fail.  Looks like I've failed.

My excuse is not going to surprise.  I got busy.  Busy with life.  One weekend was all about fun.  I went on a cycling trip with my partner, Pierre.  It was beautiful weather.  We stayed over night in a pretty little town, had some nice wine and food.  Sat by the campfire.  I took my iPad to do some writing.  I read a bit, but no writing.  When we got back I was too tired to blog (bad excuse I know, I read in a warm bath instead!).

The other weekend?  That was all about work.  I'm a teacher and that means work every weekend.  Sometimes it's just a little, maybe an hour on Saturday.  Other times it can be all weekend.

I find my job can demand A LOT of my time.  Through the week I work many evenings too.  This "finding time to write" issue resonates with many aspiring writers.  Unfortunately we're not all endowed with time to twiddle our thumbs and tap out a novel after a daily nap.  Most of us have to work. Even if you don't have a job that demands your time after five and on the weekends, you may have children (an all-the-time job), or elderly parents to care for, you may have two jobs, or other commitments.

You may ask, "well why don't you quit your job and become a full-time writer?" But you probably know the answers.  I've got a mortgage.  I like good wine.  I want to travel.  This requires a regular income.  I guess I want to have the proverbial cake and it it too.  So is it possible to balance both?  And if so, how can we find the time?

I've just finished reading Stephen King's On Writing.  Wow, it's good. Interestingly, he was a teacher too, he voiced the same difficulties of finding the time (and energy) to write.  Nevertheless, he claims that we should be writing every day.  Fair enough.  I've  heard that plenty. But he says it should be, ideally, 2000 words - and 1000 at least.  Every.  Single.  Day.  When I read that, I have to say I was a little intimidated.  I had committed to write a measly 100 words a day, which I haven't stuck to, so how am I expected to achieve 1000?!

So, I've perused a few forums and websites, as usual, to glean an answer from the all-knowing Internet.  And I've made a decision ... I need a writing schedule.

Some people come out in a rash just at the mention of the 'sch' word.  But, a schedule can be flexible and it must suit you.

So what did my googling proffer?

  • This cute little Zen site has an interesting list for achieving your goals.  At number 7 is 'Block off time' - the idea is that time must be scheduled to achieve any goal. 
  • The Harlequin site has a whole page dedicated to this very topic.  Now I'm not really into the Harlequin romance.  Actually I'm not into it at all, but I'm sure you'd agree this is a handy list.
  • Here's another one that states - most people get more done if they have a regular writing time
  • If you're after a very specific schedule, one that looks more like a training regime, with instructions for week one and week two, etc, you might like this.
  • I've noticed that many people get up early to do writing before the world wakes up.  I can see the benefit of this.  It is quiet and the mind is fresh - if you're a morning person.  If you're not it probably won't work.  
I am reasonably convinced that I need a schedule.  My goal of writing 100 words every day simply has not worked.  But I need a schedule that will work for me.  I had a chat to my partner about it.  He is really supportive and gave me some ideas.  I think this is a good start.  Talk to the people you live with so that they can help you meet your schedule!

I've come up with a plan that I think could work (fingers crossed).  I'm going to try it out and I'll get back to you with the results.

So do you have a writing schedule?


  1. Life has gotten in the way of my writing too. And I'd rather not miss it (which I realized after NaNoWriMo). So, I know it's possible to write 2000 or more words a day, but do I want to? I think I'd rather take a slower pace for now and prevent burn-out. But when I do have a nice chunk of time and am in a writing groove, I try to get ahead with my blogposts or write through that extra chapter, even though I'm tired.

    Good luck with your writing schedule - I really hope it works out for you :)

    1. A.K. I really admire you NaNoWriMo people! I've thought about it but never committed. I agree, writing more than 2000 words a day probably isn't what we really want, but if you're in the groove then it'll happen anyway no matter about any schedule.

      Thanks for the luck. I'll let you know if it works or not ;)

  2. Thank you for this entry and the resources you have posted. Maybe I will finally get somewhere too. :-)

  3. Sadly..I do not have a writing schedule. But!! If you look at my most recent post I discovered that finishing my novel could be done if I write Every Day. Currently, I'm doing up to 500 words a day. I know it sounds like a ton of work, even just a 100 words can sound incredibly huge..but once I'm in that creative mindset it becomes simple.

    I do need to setup a schedule though that way my time for writing will not be missed. Thank you for placing links in your post. Every little bit helps =)

  4. Aderyn,

    I like what you got going here. As a fellow teacher and aspiring author, I totally relate. How do you even muster the energy to write 100 words at the end of the day? Do you teach junior high? Adding to the time to write is the time to network, which is intimidating but essential.

    Best of luck in your writing pursuits. I hope to add you to my network of friends.


    1. Hi Joe. I teach high school (in Australia) and I teach students aged 12-18 years. Yes, I find it really hard to find time to write, and 'network' as you point out, because I frequently have to do correction and preparation at night and on the weekend. However, my new schedule is working really well so far, I'll reveal more about it in a later post :)

  5. Aderyn, the first four chapters of The Viscount's Son are engaging - rich, intricate, and sensual. I look forward to the rest of the chapters.

  6. A writing schedule...blocking off time to write...sounds very appealing. I find that I "squeeze in" to my already packed life. Although... my family knows that when I say I'm spending tonight with my Mac, they need to stay far, far away. I've been sort of coasting the last week or so, but I know I've got to settle into a routine so I can finish my current WIP.

    Like Joseph said, adding to the time to write is the time to network. Social media takes up a lot of my spare time. I have to learn to balance the need to network and the more urgent need to write. This balancing act is a work in process!

    I wish you success in finding time to write.

  7. Sometimes if I feel like I'm not writing enough, I spend a few days paying attention to how I spend my time. If I find some worthless activity/distraction has wormed its way in, I cut it. Turning off the television when no one is in the living room with me has helped open up more time as well.

    I read recently that James Patterson used to wake up at 4am to write, so there's always that. You don't need to sleep, right?

  8. I've passed along the Liebster Blog Award to you :)

  9. I love setting off chunks of time for myself to write, though I don't like to pressure myself with word counts. I'd like writing to feel like fun, like something I choose to do, "get" to do, and I think a hard-line word count would make it feel too much like a chore.

    That said, I think I usually end up writing a lot during my writing blocks, usually, (like one of those resources mentioned) early in the morning. My best work is always in the morning. Pages written between the hours of dinner at 12am unfailingly result in a WTF was I thinking when I re-read them the following day!

  10. Aderyn, question - does blogging and networking count as writing time? I think not, but a playwritght friend of mine said that he leaned to write prose on his blog. I find that curious...

    1. Joseph for me writing means writing for my novel. Anything else is extra. I love blogging and I agree it can contribute toward improving one's writing but it doesn't add pages to that novel! For me, it's that writing that takes priority now.