Posts Tagged With: writing routine

Reestablishing a Writing Routine

We go through great changes in our lives. It’s frankly inevitable. In fact, I remember someone telling me once in high school that in a twenty-five year period, it was likely that we would change our city/town, home, job, education status, socioeconomic status, political party, religion, and/or a whole bunch of other stuff. And when that happens, writing routines established over time and perhaps uninterrupted for years, are suddenly thrown out the window. And then where are you?

A couple of months ago, I moved into a new apartment so I could start a new job after a job search that lasted several months. Now, prior to this move, I would’ve said to anyone who asked that I didn’t really have a writing routine, that I just wrote wherever I could. Well, that is kind of true, because I do tend to write whenever I can if it’s convenient for me. But after the move, I did realize I had a routine of sorts established, and that routine no longer existed.

You see, while I was job-hunting, I lived with my dad, and in the evenings, I would settle down on the couch downstairs in the living room and write or edit while I watched whatever show I liked was playing that evening (you can get a lot written during commercial breaks). This routine lasted from late October 2015 to the end of May 2016. And my God, did it work! I edited the same novel twice and wrote more than a few short stories and blog posts that way during the job search, and it kept me sane while I looked for employment.

However, after I got employed and I moved for work, a lot changed for me. Yeah, I had increased independence, a nice location near work with a grocery store, a Target, and a library very close to where I live, and the chance to be as eccentric as I wanted within the confines of my own home without anyone judging me. But I also did not have a cable package, a TV, or a couch (though that’ll change soon with one of those). So suddenly the routine I had, which I’d been using for months and which I’d been comfortable with, was about as useful as an alchemy textbook at football practice.

For a while, I tried just writing or editing as much as I could when I sat down in front of the computer. Sadly, that worked horribly. I was moving at a snail’s pace, getting through only a couple of pages a week. A chapter could take up a whole month! With work getting busier and busier for me, I was starting to worry if I’d ever get back to the level of productivity I enjoyed prior to the move and in college.

But then a friend of mine gave me a recommendation that I found very useful. She had recently joined a group on Facebook where members sign up each month to try and write 250 words a day, and it had helped her get back into a routine of writing fiction after a pretty lengthy hiatus. That got me thinking: I can’t write every day, some days there just isn’t enough time. But what if I just tried to write 250 words every time I sat down in front of the computer? It couldn’t hurt to try.

To my utter delight, it worked like a charm. The first time, I ended up writing a little over the minimum 250. The next time, I ended up writing over 700 words! And the third, I managed to get out over thirteen-hundred words! It was amazing. Somewhere between words 150 and 250, a switch would flip and the story would just start flowing out of me like a river. In this way, I managed to get out the outline for my NaNoWriMo project in about a week or so.

Once that experiment had proven successful, I wondered if I could do the something similar with editing. It would have to be slightly different though, because editing is editing. Sometimes all you have to do work on is changing a word or a punctuation mark, and word count doesn’t change that much, but sometimes you rewrite whole sections and the word count changes dramatically. I ended up going with editing at least three pages per session, and that worked as well. After I rewrote the beginning of a short story I’d been working on and off with for over a year, I managed to finish editing the rest within a week (it helped that on the last night I worked on it, I was doing everything I could to avoid the presidential debates and I only had twelve pages to go!). Clearly this new routine I’d been working with was doing its job.

Now, I’m not saying that you have to adopt this routine if your old routine becomes impossible to do, but I am saying you shouldn’t just throw yourself into work and expect magic to happen. That didn’t work for me, and I’m not so sure it’ll work for you. Instead, take baby steps. Try writing a little a day until you find something that works for you and you’re at a level of productivity that works for you. If you do that, then I think that whatever life throws your way, you’ll be able to get back into the swing of storytelling with little to no trouble.

Have you ever had to change your writing routine? What did you do and how did it work out?

Categories: Editing & Rewriting, General Writing, Psychology of Writing & Publishing, The Writer & Author | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.😀

Categories: Schedules & Routines, The Writer & Author | Tags: , , ,

Creating a Writing Routine

Whether you are a novice or a long time writer, some sort of writing rountine is necessary. Why, you might ask? Because any kind of routine helps you be more effective and productive in your work.

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 you have to take into account.

1. Build your routine to meet your needs. I wake early, about 2-4 hours before the kids wake to write. This is only Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. It’s not everyday, but it meets my needs, probably not yours.

2. Set goals for what you want to accomplish that day. At the end of the day I mark off what I accomplished and write down what I want to accomplish the next day. 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.

3. Set the time that best suits you or your working schedule. Before I got married or had kids the best time for me to write was from 9PM to midnight. After kids it was random until I learned my kids schedule. Then there is my husband’s swing shift schedule during the winter and spring months. Then when the kids start school next year I’ll have to revise again.

4. Set limits to your writing time so that you don’t over do it and burn out. It can easily happen to the best of us.

If you have a writing routine, would you like to share? Would you like to add anything? Do you have any questions? Please share with us so we all may learn. Thank you.

Categories: Schedules & Routines | Tags: , , ,

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