Do you struggle to find time to write? I do. All. The. Time. Unless I schedule it. If I schedule my writing time and make it a real priority in my life, it’s much more likely to happen. Sure, there are still the days when I don’t get around to it or I intentionally choose to spend my time doing something else.
But scheduling my writing has been one of the biggest factors in my ability to write consistently. And writing consistently has helped me make progress and feel satisfied with my writing life. When I write consistently, I believe I can achieve my goals. When I don’t write consistently, I know I can do better. Scheduling my writing time helps keep me motivated and on track to reach my goals.
If you don’t schedule your writing time, consider giving it a try.
5 Useful Ways to Schedule Writing Time
Plan Your Perfect Days
An ideal day for me would include time to write in the morning before my kiddos are up and time to write during naps. During the day I chose to be engaged with my littles and I don’t want that to change. After bedtime, I’m usually too tired to write, so I like to spend that time relaxing and watching a show or playing a game with my husband. I know I don’t need all day or hours on end to be happy with my writing lifestyle and see the progress and success I seek. My perfect days are focused on my family with time to write scheduled in around them.
This is my perfect day, and something I strive for, but RARELY achieve. Often things come up. My kiddos wake up earlier than normal, I have other more pressing obligations that take up my free time during naps, or a sick child doesn’t take a nap. So why bother thinking about how I’d like my day to go? Several reasons.
- It helps me identify where I can schedule my writing time. Since I know I don’t want to write when my children are awake (although sometimes I DO), I schedule my writing when they are sleeping.
- It gives me extra incentive to use my time wisely so that I’m able to fit my writing into my busy schedule how I’d like to.
- It gives me something to work towards that excites me. Some days I know I won’t write as much as I’d like before the day has even begun. But knowing what I want my ideal day to look like helps me keep trying to achieve that writing schedule. Maybe it doesn’t work out one day, but because I know what I want, I can try again the next day or the next week.
As you create your own perfect writing schedule, keep it realistic. Your dream writing life is possible, if you work for it. But it may be best to start small.
Set a Weekly Goal
A weekly goal will give you another incentive to schedule your writing time. Knowing how much you have to do each day to achieve your goal by the end of the week will help you know how much writing time to schedule each day. If you want to write 700 words by the end of the week, you need to schedule enough time to write 700 words a day (or more if you don’t write on the weekends or only write on the weekends). If you want to write for 7 hours in a week, you need to schedule at least an hour of writing into your day.
Having a weekly goal will also keep you more on task by breaking things up into more manageable chunks. It can be overwhelming to look at a plan for your entire project or even what you need to get done in a month. Although you should definitely have these plans in place, breaking it up week by week will help you feel more on top of it. And you’ll know what to be focusing on or working on each week.
Set a Minimum Daily Goal
Having a minimum goal for each day will help ensure that you schedule at least some of your time for writing. It will help you remember your desire to write even if something disrupts your day. It can even push you to schedule your writing time when you wouldn’t normally write. This can be beneficial because even if it’s not your best time for writing, something is almost always better than nothing.
I’m getting to the point where I can write for 30 minutes some days. But my bare minimum is 15 minutes a day. Having this minimum goal helps keep writing on my mind. If my littles are up early and I can’t write in the morning, knowing I want at least 15 minutes helps remind me to write during nap time. Even if I should be doing laundry or cleaning the kitchen. If I still can’t write during naps or there are no naps to write during, I might try writing in the evening. Fifteen minutes is such a small amount of time, it really motivates me to achieve it.
Add it to Your Calendar
You can’t actually schedule your writing time if you don’t write it down. So add it to your calendar. This might be a google calendar, a wall calendar, or a planner. But if you just tell yourself your writing time is scheduled without actually adding it to your preferred scheduler, it’s still just wishful thinking. Once you actually add it to your schedule, it’s much more likely to happen. It becomes more real when it’s given the same priority as other activities that you schedule into your calendar.
You’d never skip a dentist appointment or meeting with your boss because you didn’t feel like going or you thought you had better things to do. You might think you have better things to do, but that isn’t a reason for you to actually skip those appointments. When they are scheduled, you have no doubt in your mind that you will go.
Writing should be the same way. If you schedule it and treat it like any other appointment, it will become more of a priority in your life and you will find yourself honoring your scheduled writing time instead of procrastinating.
Set an alarm
An alarm might be the best way to help you schedule your writing time. Writing it in your calendar still leaves room for the possibility of forgetting to write. I’ve had this happen many times. I block 30 minutes in my schedule during nap time or in the morning, but then something else grabs my attention and I completely forgot I was planning to write during that time. And once I remember, it’s too late. Naps are over or it’s way past my bedtime.
Setting an alarm can also be a useful tactic if you don’t use a calendar. If you don’t use any scheduling system, I urge you to give it a try. But if it’s just not for you, a simple alarm on your phone might be the perfect alternative. I’ll get your attention and remind you what you want to accomplish.
When that alarm goes off, don’t hit snooze or dismiss it and carry on with your current activity. Stop what you are doing, sit in your chair and start writing.
Are you going to schedule writing time from now on?