Jan 31, 2011

Set a Schedule

One of the biggest issues I have had is writing consistently.

It’s not that I don’t adore the act of writing. It’s something I’ve been passionate about ever since I was five years old writing about “Scooby Doo versus Darth Vader.” 

An excuse always seems to arise that delays me:
  • I don’t have enough time.
  • I need to do my homework.
  • I have to work.
  • I’m tired.
  • I’m just having a bad day.
  • I’ll start fresh tomorrow.
But the problem with these excuses is the same problem people have with lying: after you do it once, it’s easy to slip into another. The writing will NEVER get done.

Setting a schedule has helped me tremendously. If you define the dates and times you assign to write, you’re more likely to follow them. Instead of just “tomorrow,” it’s “Monday night between 7 and 9pm.”

To incorporate this technique as a productive factor in your writing life, you have to be specific. 
     1.   Your Ideal Goals
Define exactly what you want your writing life to be like. How many days do you want to write? How many hours? If nothing else got in your way, such as school or a job or family time, how much would you be able to write?
     2.   Your Reality
Face the commitments you do have to follow, and identify how much time you will have to delegate to each task. How long do you have to be at work? How much family time is allotted?  Do you work out? Did you incorporate time for yourself to relax?
     3.  Scheduling Your Day
Create an hourly schedule of your day. Fill in your inflexible obligations first. Don’t forget to include meal and sleeping times. Then fill in the times where you choose to write. Hold these particular times of writing to the same level of commitment as the other requirements of your day. If you don’t skip working, don’t skip writing. Make sure to be reasonable with your time increments so they are realistic for you to complete.

     4. Repeat
Repeat the creation of a daily schedule for the whole week so you know when you will be doing each task.
For those who have Microsoft Office, Outlook is a tool that can format this for you very easily. You can imput tasks with reminders and check off when they are completed. It also has a daily, weekly and monthly schedule for you to fill in, view and print for convenience.

Overall, if you stick to your schedule and carry it with value, you are more likely to get what you want accomplished. I highly advise utilizing a schedule; it has proven very beneficial to me.

For more tips and an in-depth look at productivity, check out Sage Cohen’s The Productive Writer. She describes great advice including these ideas of scheduling as well as other useful topics on accomplishing your writing goals.

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