Building A Winning Writing Schedule
I have been writing in one form or another for over 20 years. From writing curriculum for high school Creative Writing and English classes, to creating Bible study content for my church, to writing my book, speaking messages, author proposals and weekly blog posts, writing is a main part of how I spend my time each day.
You’d think by now it would be easy to just sit down and write. Nope.
I have a regular life to live in addition to all the writing I do, just like you. Participating in what’s going on around us in our families, friendships, and communities is vital not only to our personal well-being, but also for developing new content. And yet, all we know points to the importance of producing regular content. Whether it’s as a blogger or a novelist, or even a curriculum developer; creating fresh new content is vital to our financial bottom line.
How do we keep feeding our readers while at the same time participating in our own personal lives so we can produce that new content?
I have found great success in creating a regular writing schedule. There are multiple groups counting on me to show up. I have two different blogging deadlines, curriculum deadlines, schedule strategy deadlines and free content deadlines. All of this in addition to being a wife and mother, as well as care-taker of our home. I also need to take care of my personal, emotional and spiritual needs. A writing schedule has saved me a ton of time and heartache. I have been able to use it to keep me on track with deadlines and used it to give me freedom to play. It has been a way to graciously say “no, but thank you” to offers and well as given me permission to say “Yes please!”
Here’s how I create a writing schedule.
1. Identify the needs of the other priorities in your life. Extra-curricular activities, date nights, Girl’s/Boy’s nights out; the stuff of real life is still important. There are times when, yes, those things need to take a back seat, but if that’s the case all the time, the damage to relationships can affect your writing. On the other hand, not writing at all in favor of these other priorities can prevent you from progressing towards your writing goals. Start with what you know about the busy-ness of your life right now.
2. Identify your prime writing times. When are you most creative? When are you in your zone? Knowing when you are most creative will increase your productivity and help you clarify “writing times” and “non-writing times” that will allow you to live fully in each.
3. Identify your white space. This is where you look to see where your prime writing times fit into your current schedule. If there are no white spaces, you may need to consider two things: Is there anything you can re-arrange or cut out so you can write? And Is this the time for you to write?
If the answer is no, this is not the time to write, know that your book, blog, curriculum will still get written, maybe just not now or at least not in the way you have set up. Take some time to examine your expectations for your writing in the season you are in and then begin the process again. It may mean that instead of weekly blogging, you do monthly blogging. It may mean that instead of publishing your book this year, you do it next year.
If the answer is yes, this is the time to write, then:
3. Identify deadlines. Do you produce a weekly column or blog post? Are you working on a book? What are the deadlines for when content needs to be submitted? Knowing your end-date can help you work backwards to determine when to start writing.
4. Examine your timeline. How long does it take you to write/produce that blog post? What about that curriculum? Or that book? We often over-estimate the time we have and underestimate the time it will take to produce the content we need. Taking some time to create a timeline can help set you up for success.
5. Execute. When you have “writing time” use that time to write. Don’t avoid it. However, if after a bit of staring blankly at a screen you realize nothing is coming, then move on to something else in your day, trading time to do something else, and use that time for writing later.
Creating a regular writing schedule can help you determine the most productive time in your day, week and life to write which, in turn, will help you advance in your writing goals.