Friday, January 20, 2012

A Writer's Schedule, Broken Down

Oh friends, January is a bear.

photo source

A big, grey, grizzly, leave-me-alone-because-the-world-is-nothing-but-ice-and-snow bear.

My house looks like Hoarders mid-episode (we're sort of minimalists, but it doesn't look like it when we've been cooped up!), my daughter is rather cranky, my motivation to write has flown the coop, and we're all tired.  All. the. time.

I meant to have my Sergius Paulus manuscript read through and filled with notes by the, I got through chapter 18.

So, to help kick my motivation back into drive and kick my lazy bottom into high gear, I decided to share with you what my writing schedule--day-to-day as well as long-term--looks like.

Because there's nothing like accountability, right?

We'll start with an overview of what I try/hope/dream of accomplishing over the course of the calendar year, one 6 month cycle repeated twice:

         January+July   ::   Break!
 February+August    ::   Edit
March+September   ::   Edit
      April+October   ::   Prewrite/PR things (book cover designs, blurb writing, press releases, etc.)
   May+November   ::   Manuscript writing
   June+December   ::   Manuscript writing

{And, yes, I'm technically on a "break" just now, so why am I stressing?  Well, because I like progress and moving forward be honest, I'm a little Type-A.}

Now, I've only just put this formula together back in October, but it's working so far.  It allows me to finish two books a year without feeling rushed but also gives that needed pressure of a deadline.

{Yeah, I like deadlines.  See the Type-A statement above.}

But that doesn't mean I only write four months out of the year.  You see, every day (weekday, anyway) includes time for writing, which brings me to my daily writing routine:

  • Put Pookie down for nap.
  • Start the laundry.*
  • Write for 30 minutes; odd days=blog posts/articles, even days=extra project writing**.
  • Work for 60 minutes on the month's project (editing, writing, etc.).
  • Spend 30 minutes interacting through social media (Facebook, forums, GoodReads, etc.) and commenting on blogs...Netflix in a side window optional (recommendations? I finished re-watching all of The Office and 30 Rock and am rather burnt out on documentaries...).
*Switching laundry around is a great excuse to pull away from the computer in moments of writer's block...or boredom.

**What do I mean by "extra project writing"?  I try to keep more than one iron in the fire at a time: though I'm editing Sergius Paulus right now, I also started writing some scenes for a new, modern-set novel.  It's totally different from what I've been working on, so it let's my creative juices flow in a different direction and helps keep me fresh.  (Note: when I'm in the midst of a new manuscript, this time is devoted to the work at hand instead of a new idea.)

So, in a nutshell, that's what my writing days look like.  I'm sure they'll look really different when I don't have the luxury of a young napper, but for now this works for me.

If you're a writer, how do you get it all done?


  1. I am just getting serious again about writing. On Netflix, I recommend Numbers. And Psych. Not really edifying, but I enjoyed them. Thanks for posting your schedule. Maybe I do need to break it down more than "I will write from 1-3 while I am home and the kids are not."

    --Jen, (in the process of getting this blog started, stay tuned)

    1. Thanks, Jen! I never had a specific schedule like this before, but it really seems to be helping. Some days I'm more faithful than others, but I end up feeling less guilty and overwhelmed. I have actually started watching Psych since it's been recommended to me over and over. So far, I'm a bit meh, but I've only watched one episode...think I'll give it more time.


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