Any writer, whether green and aspiring or famous and well-published, knows that making yourself write can sometimes be extremely hard, almost impossible. A common challenge for writers, especially those with other jobs, can be finding the time to write. Feeling as though what you're producing is quality work can also be a frustrating challenge. Creating a personalized writing schedule can be helpful for working through both of these, as well as fostering better and more productive writing habits in general. Here are some ways to help put together a customized schedule to get you writing more:
*Discover when you are most productive. Mornings are always recommended as a great time to write, before the stress and distractions of the day have started to weigh on you. However, for some people, early afternoon or evening can be a much more productive time when their "to do" list has been completed for the day and they can finally focus and think clearly. Think about what time of day you tend to be most productive with your writing and plan to have that be your time slot.
*Find your space. Just as important as when you are most successful, is where. A home office, quiet kitchen nook, or table at the public library can all be great options. However, this could depend on the time of day you choose to write. Your kitchen table may not be the best option when your teenagers are running around in the morning getting ready for school. In discovering this space it’s important to think about eliminating distractions as well. A place where you do not have to talk to anyone and can easily set your phone aside is important. Plan to close all extra tabs and email notifications. Make the time solely about you and writing. Finding a set-up and space that helps you focus and feel inspired to write is important for your schedule.
*Start with manageable time slots. It might be unrealistic to lock yourself into a five hour window of writing time in your first few days. Begin with a small writing block each day so you can settle into a routine and feel like you are really using your time. Giving yourself too much time too soon will lead you to feel frustrated and defeated. You can always increase your time slots or add more writing days as needed as you adjust to your schedule. And, you are always free to write outside of your schedule if time allows, but it’s better to overflow than feel overwhelmed!
*Make your alternative productive. Sometimes, even with a well-crafted schedule and good habits, you just can’t write. And that’s okay. Use this scheduled time to read instead. In order to be a good writer, being a good reader is a must. Having these few hours to read can be just as inspiring and helpful as writing can be. However, make sure you plan this out in advance. Have a stack of books ready with you so you don’t have to waste your time hunting one down and getting distracted. Maybe this is an old favorite or one you have been dying to read, or a book on the craft of writing. Either way, there is always so much to gain from checking in with other writers.