8 January 2011
I’m not going to tell you that keeping a strict writing schedule helps you avoid the writer’s block and develop a writing habit. It’s been said before over and over and over again. Instead, I’m going to tell you how I go about it.
Writing comes first
Yes, the first thing I do after starting up my laptop is checking my email, RSS feed and my Twitter for any interesting links people I follow might’ve shared over night. But after that, writing takes priority. I set a goal for myself saying that my first action after catching up on all the feeds is to write something. It doesn’t matter if it’s a story, a part of a story, an outline, a blog post, an article for a content site or writing for a client.
And I don’t do anything until I finish that first writing piece. Sometimes it’s just a slash fiction, maybe even just two points in my outline. But it’s somehow sets a mood for the rest of my day.
Day doesn’t end until I’ve written something
While this might seem like a silly rule (especially when put right after “writing something first thing in the morning), it actually helps me a lot.
See, I made a word count goal for 2011. That goal translates into writing at least 2000 words a week and 290 words a day. It might not seem like much, but in this word count, I don’t count outlines, my academic work or the brainstorming I do for one of the clients. So sometimes, after a whole day of writing in various projects, it might turn out I didn’t add to my official word count at all.
I don’t deny, sometimes it sounds rough (and it is), but I don’t go to sleep until the daily word count is reached. Last year I sometimes ignored that rule, but this year I’m much more motivated (and hoping this motivation won’t go away.)
Make plans for at least a week
Last year when it came to writing, I just “went with it”. I wrote when I felt like it and ended up not writing much most days. This year, I’m planning all my big fiction projects and all my nonfiction writing. I plan deadlines, milestones and word count goals for all my fiction projects. I also plan who I’m writing for each day, when it comes to my nonfiction.
I was hesitant about it at first, but a second week in and I’m focused, I keep having inspiration for my nonfiction writing and all my fiction projects are steadily moving forward. It really is something.
Reporting on my progress
Every week I report my word count to FindYourWords community. You can report it on Twitter (even using the hash tag #wordcount) or to your writing group. You can report it on your blog, as your Facebook status or just texting your regular writing partner.
Just tell somebody how much you’ve written in the past day/week. You don’t even have to report your word count. Did you finish your story, that revision you were slaving off with? Did you sell an article? The positive feedback you’ll receive to your successes will be the best motivation, believe me.
That Writing Schedule Thing
I don’t make plans to write every day from 5pm to 7pm. mostly because my days and plans are so irregular that I would fail to do so within the first week and I would lose interest in trying soon after that. This would really hurt my writing.
Setting a firm schedule doesn’t work for me, it might work for you. Just like the little tricks I shared here are working great for me, but might not work for you. That said; I’ll be very interested to hear what your tricks to write regularly are. Feel free to share them!