Writing Schedules That Work
The question has come up—how does one create a writing schedule that works. Creating a workable writing schedule is a challenge that all of us face and must master to be able to reach our writing goals.
First, a writer needs to have a specific writing goal in mind (i.e., write a screenplay, complete the great American novel, or post a blog a week).
So, if you have not yet set your specific goal, have a general goal in mind as a starter. The goal does not need to be grandiose by any means; it can be a small goal that a writer can reasonably master within the year.
Some writing goals to consider
Writing goals in themselves can be difficult to figure out. While in school, our teachers and professors handed out writing goals, so we never had to decide how much or when to write. We just wrote as much as was required, answered the prompts, and submitted the work on time, because few instructors encourage students to set their own writing goals and manage their progress. All this leaves most of us at a disadvantage in setting our own writing goals.
To set a goal, start with the time limit and create a goal for the year. In the next year, is it reasonable to write three books, one novel, 12 blog posts, a series of short stories, or a collection of poetry? What jumps out as the stack of paper you envision having in your hand at year’s end? Once you solidify that in mind, you have a writing goal, which might need some tweaking along the way, but start with a general goal at least.
Working backward from the goal
With a goal in hand, you can work out how much effort is needed to achieve it by year’s end. If your goal is to write a 250-page novel, then you need to write 20 pages a month to get there. If your goal is to write a blog a month, then it is just one per month to meet that goal. If the goal is to complete a series of short stories, perhaps two stories a month are a reasonable rate.
Now, it can feel a bit like this is over-simplifying the task of organizing one’s writing, but it is just the first step. You see, after you set that goal, work backward for the year, then you need to add in the steps to reaching the goal. For example, if I am going to write a 250-page novel this year at 20 pages per month, I will need time to brainstorm, outline, rough draft, edit and revise, and review before I have 20 completed pages per month. The same is true of any goal. Take your monthly goal and brainstorm what is needed to reach it. What do you need to do to produce 20 pages, 2 stories, 1 blog post, or 10 poems? Create a list of those steps.
Setting up a daily schedule
Really there are only two things that every writer must do on a daily basis to write well and improve in practice—read and write. Regardless of what you are writing, what genre, and what your intentions for your goal, you absolutely must write for 10 minutes per day and you must read for 10 minutes per day. It does not particularly matter what you write or what you read; what matters is that this task is completed daily with the mindset of writing well.
Setting up a weekly schedule
So, now you know that small portions of reading and writing are on the daily docket, now we organize the full schedule. Take the list of steps needed to meet your writing goal and break those onto weeks. It may look something like this:
Yearly goal: 250 page novel
Breaking down a task can make it more manageable and increase the likelihood of success. Most writers have large goals to complete: novels, book series, and screenplays. Having a plan on how to achieve those goals can improve one’s chances of making it to the goal, so put in a little bit of time on organizing and enjoy your writing time.
Good luck with your writing!
Related Blog Posts
About the Site