Updated: Oct 10, 2022
Most authors begin their writing career around a crazy nine to five job, whilst also facilitating family life. So creating a writing schedule will help you manage your time, increase your productivity, and ultimately help you stay on track with your writing goals.
Let’s get started with an introduction to what a writing routine or writing schedule actually is. A writing routine is a set of steps that you follow each time you sit down to write. By having a set of actions that you engage in during the writing process you can truly connect with your writing. This routine allows you to write consistently, helps you discover your creativity, and helps increase your productivity. I already hear you asking yourself “Do I really need a writing routine?”. And conclusively the answer is YES! Have you ever sat down to write staring out into thin air, and had severe writer's block where you don’t even want to write, and some days you just don’t feel like you have the “time” to write? Having a writing routine will eliminate those moments, it will allow you to stop procrastinating and get that book written!
Implementing a writing routine will not just allow you to dedicate time where you sit down each day to write, but it will also allow you to get more words written. Establishing a writing routine creates a habit and we all like habits right? We all like our routines, we get up to work, we sit and have a coffee before we get the kids ready for school, we walk the dog at set times each day, and we have a work schedule … This allows us to be productive! Personally, I thrive on routine! Being self-employed means I have to have a strict routine in order to ensure that I am making the most of the time whilst the children are at school so that I am able to grow my business. I even have my own routine before I sit down to work because without this, my mind wouldn’t be able to transition from school-run mum to business owner!
A point that is worth taking into account is that it takes 28 days to form a new habit so be determined and dedicated to sticking to it for at least 28 days and it will naturally become part of your routine.
1. Pick a time of day to write
Sounds simple right, but this is by far the most important step, finding the right time that you can dedicate to writing can actually be quite challenging. So take a look at your schedule and have a look where you can realistically schedule a time to write, that is free from distraction. Think about it this way, we are making time not finding time! If you are serious about your writing career make time in your routine to write!
It's easy for our brains to function if we know that at that time each day we are going to sit down and write. Just like when you have set your alarm every day Monday to Friday to wake the kids up for school or to go to work, the one thing you think is ‘great I can have a lie in at the weekend’ but your body clock still gets you up at that exact same time!
Something else to consider when selecting a time is to select a time where you will be at your most productive. If you have just done a 10-hour shift at work it isn’t realistic to think that you are going to be efficient sitting down at 10 pm at night to write unless you are naturally a night owl and actually this is a time that works for you. A great option is in the morning when you're at your freshest and you haven’t been worn down by the mountain of ironing that you’ve had to do. Although some people are just not morning people, my son is one of them, man he is miserable in the morning, and generally, you can't get anything decent out of him for a good hour! My takeaway point is to do what suits your own schedule to your advantage.
Although I am not an author in writing novels, I have to schedule a time to write my blog posts and tend to do so by something called time-blocking. It allows you to create a schedule and time block for what you want to achieve when, being self-employed this is vital to keep me motivated and on track. Would you like to learn more about the benefits of time blocking? You can read my latest blog post here about "Effective Time Blocking".
2. Decide on how long you want to write?
Again with this one you really need to be realistic with yourself. Dedicate the exact amount of time you want to write each day. The key to this is not setting yourself up to fail, why say that you are going to spend 2 hours writing each day when in reality you know that just isn’t achievable with your current schedule? You will only feel disheartened and unsatisfied when you don’t achieve that daily. It is far better to give yourself 30 minutes and go over that than fail before you have even started.
Being determined to write even 30 minutes each day will help you be productive, it means that already each day you are setting aside 30 minutes to write instead of opening the laptop to write and not being able to because you are already thinking about the other 250 jobs that need doing around the house.
3. Determine how many days you want to write?
Consider how many days you want to write each week and schedule them in, again with this it’s vital to get a routine and a rhythm, you don’t want to just assign 1 day a week to your writing because by the time the next writing session comes around you're going to have to start with a recap of what you have written and where you are within the story. This will likely create a number of gaps in your storytelling and slow down the creative process.
Personally, I recommend writing daily even if just for half an hour each day in order to keep your creative juices flowing effectively. However, I know just how busy our lives can be, so be realistic about your goals. You don’t want to feel disappointed when you can’t achieve them.
4. Create a ritual to help the creativity flow
This is something my business coach Samantha Slater introduced to me and it really does help focus your mind on what you want and need to achieve. Everyone’s ritual can be different and you have to base your foundations on what personally works for you.
As a busy mum and business owner, I need to be able to switch from full-time mum to business entrepreneur. If you think about your writing as a business because ultimately that is what this is! You may have started for fun and enjoy what you do but we don’t place books on the market without considering what we are doing as our very own business.
The idea of setting up a ritual that you do each time you write is to enable you to move from whatever you were doing in the build-up to be able to switch over to a successful author. Things to consider are; what helps you focus your attention, and this for everyone is different and may take a few ideas till you fall into the writing ritual that's correct for you.
I’ll share my own personal routine just so you can see an example. After the school run, I take my dog for a walk. It helps me to forget about the school run, and what issues the kids may or may not have at school and lets me just take a breather. I then come home and make myself a cup of tea, if it's nice I sit in the garden, and I then do a 15 minutes meditation via Insight Timer , Insight Timer has a huge number of meditations for different aspects you can even meditate to improve concentration. I then set 3 work intentions that I want to accomplish that day (This could be how many words you want to achieve or how many pages of edits you want to complete). Personally, I can’t work in the quiet so I put my music on low, open my laptop, and work through everything on my list for that day, be that a blog post, a custom cover design, or working on my newsletter.
This bit is all about finding the right ritual that helps your creativity flow efficiently. You might like yoga, reading for a brief period, you might have a particular playlist you play, or even using a particular scented candle that helps you focus. This is all very individual, and I will be introducing a blog post sharing some of my own authors' writing routines that may help guide you with creating your own.
Check out some of our other blog posts that are catered to help Self Published Authors become the best versions of themselves. You can follow our blog posts via My Wix or feel free to sign up for our Newsletter, where we are now giving away a FREE book launch checklist!