Creating Schedules and Routines to Enhance your Writing

Bad me! I checked in this morning and realized it’s been a little over a week since our last post and we’ve run out of scheduled posts. So time for me to emerge from the writing/editing cave I’ve been hiding in for the last month and get to work on some Writing as a Business posts I promised everyone. 😀

I’m going to save the post about Plots for the next couple of slots and jump to scheduling and routines, mainly because I’ve been dealing with this of late and it’s on my mind right now. On my blog I wrote a post, It’s all About Balance, and no you don’t have to click the link to read the post. I’m going to use much of what I talked about there here.

A few weeks back I started to feel overwhelmed by the demands being placed on me and not getting to any of my editing and writing. I decided it was time for a break from anything I considered a time waster while I learned to could juggle all the new responsibilities with all my old responsibilities.

This meant finding a schedule that would allow me to spend time with my kids and husband, do my housework, take care of ranch, write and edit and market my books, and  work on book cover designs for clients. This means sticking to a schedule long enough for it to become a routine or learn what works and what doesn’t.

Creating a Writing Schedule or Routine

For me a daily routine is imperative. I’d get nothing done if I didn’t. When building a writing schedule there are some things I take into account:

1. What is the time that best suits me for certain tasks (i.e. writing, editing, marketing, etc)
2. What is my work schedule (i.e. ranch, book designing, etc).
3. What are my writing and publishing goals for the year.
4. What are my other responsibilities

I wrote down everything I could think of and started to build a routine that works for my needs. If I want to write a book in a year, I create a list of all the things I’ll have to do to accomplish this. Working on characters, plotting, writing, etc. I take these smaller goals to meet my bigger goal.

I know that my schedule won’t work for everyone, hell, some days it barely works for me. But I thought an example might help some of you.

I start my morning by looking over my to-do list while my computer boots up. Then I write or edit (M-F I wake at 6am to get my youngest ready for school and on the bus by 7am. So I start my writing time after I send her off. On Sat. and Sun. I sometimes get to sleep in, if not I have to start breakfast before I write.). I try to get at least 2 hours of writing or editing done.

Setting limits to your writing time will help you not over do it and burn out. A time allotment, page count, or a word goal are the most common. If these don’t work for you, don’t sweat it. 😀

I mark off all the tasks that I accomplished that day and write down notes of what I need to do tomorrow. This way, when I start my day all I have to do is look at my schedule and know where to start. This saves me time and useless staring at the computer screen.

Then I write a blog post if I’m in the mood before I check emails. If I have any emails or blog comments that I need to responded to I do that first, Business related newsletters and blogs are next.

I shut down my computer for the day and start my other responsibilities and spend time with my kids. After I get my kids off the to bed at 8pm, I’m ready to start working on book cover designs. I look at my to-do list while my computer is booting up. I check emails to see if there is anything “urgent” for me to respond to, changes that needed to be made to a cover, or new clients before I start working. I do not read blogs or business newsletters, that will wait until tomorrow.

I like to schedule tasks at the end of the day that allow me to wind down and relax from the day. I find writing at night makes it hard for me to sleep. I’ll work for an hour or two and then mark off what I accomplished and write down what I want to accomplish the next day before I head to be.

I hope this helps some of you create your own schedule and routines. If you have a writing routine you would you like to share, please comment below or post a link to a blog post where you wrote about it? If you have any questions, now is the time to ask. 😀

The Writer’s Business Plan: Setting Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Goals

A few years back I had a short bout of Writer’s Procrastination. This is different from Writer’s Block because I wasn’t blocked. I had a ton to write and no umph to write it. I was lucky enough to find a book by Jenna Glatzer titled Outwitting Writer’s Block and Other Problems of Pen, it’s a book I highly recommend. There’s a section about goal setting in the book that I love. She suggests more than just yearly and monthly goals, she talks about weekly objectives to keep you motivated and focused.

Business and organizational professionals are forever extolling the need for writing down goals or tasks that you can accomplish on a monthly, weekly, and daily basis. Writing down these goals allows you to create a plan of action, keep you focused, see the results, and provide a strategy for achieving your writing goals. We are all familiar with New Year Resolutions or goals. Ever wonder why you rarely meet those goals at year’s end? It’s because we usually fail to create specific, measurable achievable, realistic and targeted goals, SMART goals for short.

1. Define your goal(s).

Write down things that you can realistically achieve in a given time frame. For goals to work; they need to have targets. An example of a SMART goal is: “I will write 1,000 words a week on my 50k word romance novel, Soulmate, and have it completed by 1 April 2011.”

2. Determine what tasks are necessary to achieve your goal(s).

Going back to my last post about creating a Book Production Schedule, take that of list of thing you know you have to accomplish for each book. This would be things like outlining the book, writing the book, revising, editing, and proofreading the book, sending it out for feedback from beta readers and editors, getting cover art, doing the layout and book design, interviews, permissions to use copyrighted material, marketing, pictures, promoting and marketing, research, etc.

3. Organize the tasks and develop a strategic plan.

Start with your bigger goals and break them down into manageable chunks of three-year, one-year, monthly, weekly, and daily goals. The smaller your tasks the easier it is for you to accomplish.

4. Set yourself up for success by creating a practical plan.

If you have a full-time job, two small children, and a dog to care for, it may be difficult to fit in three hours of writing each day. Make sure your plan suits your lifestyle. If you write one hour a day (after the kids go to bed), five times a week, or five hours one day a week (on Sunday when the kids are at grandma’s house) that’s five pages of writing each week; within a year you will have completed a 250-page book.

So this brings us to the end. I wish you all good luck on your Writing business plans. If you have anything to add, comment below.

The Writer’s Business Plan: An Introduction

The Writer’s Business Plan: Parts of the Writer’s Business Plan

The Writer’s Business Plan: Creating a Budget

The Writer’s Business Plan: Building a Production Schedule

The Writer’s Business Plan: The Marketing Plan