Creating Schedules and Routines to Enhance your Writing

Bad me! I checked in this morning and realized it’s been a little over a week since our last post and we’ve run out of scheduled posts. So time for me to emerge from the writing/editing cave I’ve been hiding in for the last month and get to work on some Writing as a Business posts I promised everyone. 😀

I’m going to save the post about Plots for the next couple of slots and jump to scheduling and routines, mainly because I’ve been dealing with this of late and it’s on my mind right now. On my blog I wrote a post, It’s all About Balance, and no you don’t have to click the link to read the post. I’m going to use much of what I talked about there here.

A few weeks back I started to feel overwhelmed by the demands being placed on me and not getting to any of my editing and writing. I decided it was time for a break from anything I considered a time waster while I learned to could juggle all the new responsibilities with all my old responsibilities.

This meant finding a schedule that would allow me to spend time with my kids and husband, do my housework, take care of ranch, write and edit and market my books, and  work on book cover designs for clients. This means sticking to a schedule long enough for it to become a routine or learn what works and what doesn’t.

Creating a Writing Schedule or Routine

For me a daily routine is imperative. I’d get nothing done if I didn’t. When building a writing schedule there are some things I take into account:

1. What is the time that best suits me for certain tasks (i.e. writing, editing, marketing, etc)
2. What is my work schedule (i.e. ranch, book designing, etc).
3. What are my writing and publishing goals for the year.
4. What are my other responsibilities

I wrote down everything I could think of and started to build a routine that works for my needs. If I want to write a book in a year, I create a list of all the things I’ll have to do to accomplish this. Working on characters, plotting, writing, etc. I take these smaller goals to meet my bigger goal.

I know that my schedule won’t work for everyone, hell, some days it barely works for me. But I thought an example might help some of you.

I start my morning by looking over my to-do list while my computer boots up. Then I write or edit (M-F I wake at 6am to get my youngest ready for school and on the bus by 7am. So I start my writing time after I send her off. On Sat. and Sun. I sometimes get to sleep in, if not I have to start breakfast before I write.). I try to get at least 2 hours of writing or editing done.

Setting limits to your writing time will help you not over do it and burn out. A time allotment, page count, or a word goal are the most common. If these don’t work for you, don’t sweat it. 😀

I mark off all the tasks that I accomplished that day and write down notes of what I need to do tomorrow. This way, when I start my day all I have to do is look at my schedule and know where to start. This saves me time and useless staring at the computer screen.

Then I write a blog post if I’m in the mood before I check emails. If I have any emails or blog comments that I need to responded to I do that first, Business related newsletters and blogs are next.

I shut down my computer for the day and start my other responsibilities and spend time with my kids. After I get my kids off the to bed at 8pm, I’m ready to start working on book cover designs. I look at my to-do list while my computer is booting up. I check emails to see if there is anything “urgent” for me to respond to, changes that needed to be made to a cover, or new clients before I start working. I do not read blogs or business newsletters, that will wait until tomorrow.

I like to schedule tasks at the end of the day that allow me to wind down and relax from the day. I find writing at night makes it hard for me to sleep. I’ll work for an hour or two and then mark off what I accomplished and write down what I want to accomplish the next day before I head to be.

I hope this helps some of you create your own schedule and routines. If you have a writing routine you would you like to share, please comment below or post a link to a blog post where you wrote about it? If you have any questions, now is the time to ask. 😀

8 Comments

  1. I really need to get my schedule refined and then stick to it. I have the challenge of leaving at 7:30 every day for work and not getting home until 5:30 (6:30 on Mondays because of dinner plans). Plus, I have church on Wednesday and Thursday nights (I hope the Thursday night class will be over in two or three weeks). Church takes up a lot of Sunday. So I need to learn to schedule things around all the obligations I have. But it’s so easy to get caught up in things that are frivolous. And we NEED to schedule a little frivolous time, too, but it can certainly get away from us if we’re not careful. If we sit down and plan things, I think many of us will be surprised at how much time we actually waste.

    1. I use to sit down every Sunday to plan my week. I’d use sticky notes to write my weekly goals and to-do lists. I’d schedule any activities I had agreed to and some writing time when I could. That way when people asked me to do something for them I could look at my planner and tell them I was busy or when I could schedule something in. With so much going on to-do lists and day planners become a lifesaver. 😀

  2. I have all sorts of demands on my schedule that limit my writing time, mostly academic demands. It can be a challenge to get enough writing in during the day, and particularly so if you’re doing time-waster sort of things when you shouldn’t.

    1. LOL Pretty much. I think many writers wish they had more to write then they do. It really comes down to not how much time, but how well we use the time that we do have to write.

  3. M T McGuire says:

    Wow. That’s impressive. The only question I have is… if you get up at 6 am and start cover designs at 8pm when do you go to bed. Because if you were me it would be half past 9!

    Cheers

    MTM

    1. Anywhere from 9 to midnight. 😀 I usually shoot for no later than 10pm to go to bed. But most of it depends on what I have to do with the cover and when my deadline is for it. So if there is a night that I don’t have to do a cover design. I get to catch up on sleep. LOL

  4. Wow, Stephanie, your s is an impressive schedule. I don’t know how you get it all done and still have time to write these informative posts. I make long term and short term goals, a daily to-do list, and I have a daily tickler file that turns up to-do items, bills to pay, etc. I’m about to begin writing the first draft of my second Robert Champion crime novel. I’ve just finished writing my scene cards and character cards to help guide me. I’m going to shoot for 1000 words a day minimum and hope to finish the first draft in 55-60 days. I’ll start writing first thing each morning, as that’s when I’m the sharpest, and do my other work, to-dos, etc. afterwards. I’ve started running again in the mornings after getting up, and I find that all that oxygen and the endorphins gives me extra energy and clears the mind. One of the to-dos I never seem to get to is marketing. It’s the last thing I want to do, but I know it’s necessary to do something. Right now I need to update my website, but I’ve been putting it off. But using your example, if you can work on something as demanding as book covers at 8PM, mayb I can do an hour’s marketing every evening. It’s just a matter of will power and time – right! And we all have loads of both!

    1. Sounds like you are well on your way to creating your own schedule. Good luck on the writing and the daily word count. I’m not much for marketing either. It just means that your writing income builds slower. I think a marketing plan might help you. Decided what marketing you are comfortable doing and slowly work your way into it.

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