Keeping a Writing Schedule

Some dedicated writers write for several hours each day everyday of the week.  I tip my hat to these writers and am in awe of their initiative and dedication to craft.  However, many of these folks have a lot of free time on their hands—more than the rest of us.  If you’re a mom of small children for instance, you have literally no time at all.  You have to make time and sometimes you have to fight for that writing time.  Most family members will not respect your writing time because most people scoff at writer’s work as recreation.  Sure, it’s fun because it’s something we love to do, but it’s also a lot of work.  When a writer goes for days or weeks without writing, it gets a writer down.  You feel like you’re not progressing in life when you stare at a blank page week after week.  Remember Jack Nicholson’s character Jack Torrance in Stephen King’s novel The Shining?  There’s a memorable scene when Shelly Duvall’s character, Wendy, interrupts Jack’s writing time.  Also, she looks at the pages of his manuscript only to see pages of “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”  Yep, that’s what happens when you don’t let a writer write.  Just joking.  You as a writer have to make the time and respect that time.  Here are a few tips that I’m trying to implement myself for my own writing time:

·        Set a schedule and let your family know what it is.  Use Google calendar if you have a Google Gmail account.  If you have another e-mail provider, use their calendar system if you can.  Sending out e-mail invitations to family members letting them know your schedule will remind them that this is your time and it will also impress upon them the importance you assign to writing. 

·        Stick to your schedule.  Even if it’s just 20 minutes a day, stick to it and make sure you actually write during this time.  I have to write at 15 minute intervals these days because there’s not a lot of writing time for me.  My little son is the love of my life, and I enjoy every minute with him.  But I do set aside these 15 minutes out of the day to write. Sometimes I can get in 30 minutes which is great.  During this time, make sure you don’t Facebook, Tweet, or e-mail.  Don’t watch television either.  Music is fine.  I’ve often found music helps me write.

If you do have a lot of free time on your hands and you still don’t write, then shame on you.  You’ve got no excuses really.  Just think of all the potential books you could have written.  Depressing, isn’t it?  It’s not too late to change your writing habits.  Set aside an hour a day or a page per day to write.  It will add up and after a few months, you’ll have something to show for as well as to sell.