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Writing

How to Create a Consistent Writing Schedule: 10 Tips for Writers

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Nov 8, 2020 • 4 min read

Writers are filled with ideas, but in order to turn those ideas into pages, you need a consistent writing routine. Finding enough free time and the discipline to turn a writing process into a regular habit can be hard, especially for aspiring writers with a full-time job. It is possible, though, to create a writing schedule that fits into your schedule and gets you on track to finish your first draft and eventually your first novel.

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5 Benefits of a Writing Schedule

Creating a writing schedule is a time management technique that leads to a more productive routine. Committing to a writing schedule means:

  1. You’re officially a writer. As long as you write, you are a writer. Giving yourself that label makes it official. It’s a confidence booster that motivates you to commit to the craft.
  2. You have no room for procrastination. You need to stop saying you’ll start writing in the new year. Procrastination is easier than sitting down to write. Having a structure that creates a window for writing will push procrastination to the side and give you a clear head to pursue your novel writing.
  3. You’ll find motivation easier. Staring at a blank page is daunting, but once you reach certain milestones, like the first chapter of your very first book, your sense of accomplishment will motivate you to keep going.
  4. You’ll complete the writing projects you’ve kept in your head. Once you find your writing rhythm, you’ll finish your first novel in due time. Having one finished project will encourage you to keep moving to your next one.
  5. You’ll become a better writer. The more you write, the faster your writing skills will evolve. You’ll find your writing style and develop your voice.

10 Tips for Creating a Writing Schedule

Establishing a schedule is a must for writers of all levels. One of the main takeaways from the book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King is the importance of a daily writing habit. Follow these writing tips to create a writing schedule:

  1. Find a time of day that works best for you. Set the same writing time every day—or every other day if that’s more realistic. Early morning works well for creative writing because the brain is fresh. But if you’re a night owl, or you have a day job, writing after dinner might work better. Before you know it, your daily writing sessions will become just another part of your routine that you just do without thinking twice.
  2. Create your own writing calendar. When you put writing on your daily to-do lists, take it a step further. Physically write your writing time in a calendar or daily planner. That makes it more official, like writing down any other appointment that you’re obligated to keep.
  3. Prioritize your projects. Most writers have more than one idea in their head. That can make it hard to know where to start. Write a list of your ideas in order of priority. Then, starting with the first one, write an outline or a step-by-step guide to writing. Create milestones and deadlines to help you see each phase through until you have a finished story.
  4. Have a plan for writer’s block. Writer’s block is bound to happen. Be prepared for it so you don’t end up just staring at your computer screen. Have a list of daily writing prompts or do stream-of-consciousness freewriting. Find creative ways to use that time. For example, if you’re writing a non-fiction book, use that writing downtime to do research on your subject matter.
  5. Set a daily word count goal. Having a minimum word count on any given day can motivate you to get words on the page.
  6. Find a writing space. Take the guessing out of where you’re going to write each day by designating a writing space. Set it up so it’s all ready for you to write in every day when you sit down.
  7. Keep your writing files organized. When you sit down to write, make sure all of your files are organized so they’re easy to access. The simpler you make it to sit down and get started, the easier it will be to start writing at your predetermined time. Save your stories in Google Docs or Microsoft Word and keep them in folders. Label each document with the working title. Keep track of your progress on each project in an Excel spreadsheet.
  8. Start blogging. Bloggers have an audience they write for that expects regular posts. If it helps you write, start a blog. Build a following that you’re accountable to and dedicate a portion of your writing sessions to writing new blog entries.
  9. Join a writing community. Find inspiration by connecting with other writers. Find a local writer’s group, attend writing workshops, or participate in NaNoWriMo—National Novel Writing Month. You’ll have an incentive to show up with story pages and will be accountable to other people.
  10. Start right now. A writer’s biggest enemy is the phrase, “I’ll start tomorrow.” Start writing now. Once you get going and make progress, you’ll quickly remember the reasons you wanted to write in the first place.
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