Tip #5 - Schedule Writing

Scheduling writing time into your day may not be something you need, but might just be something helpful you’d like to have. I personally write for an hour right after work on weekdays and two hours on Saturday. You don't have to worry about what to do if you keep a list at your desk or wherever you normally write at home, just follow the schedule as closely as you can without stressing and be flexible about how you approach it.

For example, Jack tapes his list on the wall near his desk so it’s always in his line of sight. He doesn’t always follow it, but it is always in his line of sight. If he finds himself short on time or unable to plan his day out, the schedule already has writing built in and he can rely on that.

A problem writers might have is finding time throughout their day to write. You could solve that by creating a writing schedule to organize your to-do list. You can write for however long you want with whatever word goal you have daily on the schedule you’ve designed.

You could use a timer or just have a timed music playlist. I like listening to hour-long playlists on YouTube when I write on weekend. I keep my phone in another room. During the week, after I get home, I have a cup of coffee, put my phone away, and then start writing.

During the week I don’t work on anything specific. Sometimes I write poetry. Sometimes I write about a random topic. On the weekend, though, I work on my short stories.

Here are a couple examples of schedules and to-do lists stolen from Jack’s desk:

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Example 1:

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Example 2:

Weekdays Checklist

7:00 am - 9:00 am - Work Preparation

9:00 am - 4:30 pm - Work

4:30 pm - 5:30 pm - Lunch Preparation

5:30 pm - 8:00 pm - Writing Checklist

8:00 pm - 9:00 pm - Website Update: Project 365

9:00 pm - 11:00 pm - Video Games & TV

11:00 pm - 1:00 am - Read

Weekends Checklist

7:00 am - 9:00 am - Work Preparation

9:00 am - 2:00 pm - Writing Checklist

2:00 pm - 4:00 pm - Website Update: The Writer’s Club

4:00 pm - 6:00 pm - Website Advertisements

6:00 pm - 9:00 pm - Edit Podcasts

9:00 pm - 1:00 pm - Record Podcast: Just Conversation

The best part of having a list in front of you is you don’t have to worry about when to begin writing. It’s preplanned out.

A bad side of using a schedule or checklist is if you feel pressured to follow them. It could build up stress and make it more difficult to write. These templates should be treated more like guidelines than rules.

There isn’t a perfect time to write and like Jack (Tip #4 - Write bad) says, when the time comes just write. You should separate your writing time from your editing time. The most important thing is to write and not worry whether it’s bad or good. Don’t stress about what you're going to write. And if you schedule your writing time you won’t have to stress out when you're going to write.

It’s a simple and easy way to work writing into your life without having to figure out too much. After the schedule is built follow the planned writing time and edit the rest around the writing time as you need. Can’t write at the scheduled time on any given day? Well, your day is scheduled, move it to a different time slot and put what’s in that new time slot where writing was originally. Remain flexible with your schedule, but have a schedule and you’ll find time to write daily without question.

Setting an alarm on your phone ten minutes before your scheduled writing time can assure you don’t forget and have a few moments to get ready and into your writing state of mind.

Additionally, knowing when you are going to write can give you enough notice to look for inspiration just before it’s time.

  1. Listen to music that provokes the mood you are looking for.

  2. Play a video game that shares the same themes.

  3. Do a quick prewrite explaining what you’d like to write to have a clearer vision before you start.

  4. Read something that’ll trigger interesting word usage.

There are numerous ways to get ready and knowing when you have to write lets you know how long you have to get in that mood.