Set Up Your Writing Schedule

in FAQs

Once you have your Working Table Of Contents you also have an overview of your book. That list becomes your roadmap for getting your book written.

To get your book written you’re going to have to write consistently. As a rough guide, if you can devote four hours a day every weekday to writing you can probably get your book drafted and edited in something like six to eight months. That assumes, of course, that most of those four hours are actually spent putting words on the page or screen. And many books take much longer.

Of course, many people don’t have four hours a day to write. You can still get your book written; it will take longer and it will take discipline.

Start by knowing how you spend your time now

If you’ve got an idea of how much time you can spend say five days a week and when, make an appointment with yourself to write at that time – every day for a week. Even if it’s only 10 minutes a day – do it. And if you are able to do that every day for the week, congratulate yourself and keep on.

writing scheduleBut if you’re like many and discover you didn’t keep that appointment with yourself all five days, find out why. Often times its a simply a matter of forming the habit. Keep working at it.

Often, though, many discover the time they thought they had just isn’t there. It’s not unusual for us to have a totally unrealistic view of how we spend our time.

The quickest way to discover how you’re actually spending your days is to time every activity. Or every activity between say 6 am and 9 p.m. I use a free program called Toggl.com which will work on your desktop or on your smart phone or your iPad. It’s dirt simple which means it won’t be a pain to use for a week.

And that’s the goal – time yourself for a week and see what’s happening.

When you know how you’re really spending your time you’ll be able to find some time for your book. It probably will mean juggling and letting go of some things, but if you’re serious about getting your book written you’ll find some time.

Make an appointment with yourself

Once you find a slot in your calendar for writing, plug it in. Make a real appointment with yourself. Then see if you keep it for a week. If you do, good on you – keep on. If not, figure out why and what needs to be changed.

Know too that sometimes your schedule will blow up. That’s not the end of the world, but it may be a signal that your schedule needs to change. Since writing a book takes a lot of time we often find we have to alter our schedules as we go along – it’s part of life.

How much time do you really need?

How much time will you really need to get your book written? I don’t have a clue, really. It depends on how quickly you can write, how clear you are on what you want to say, and probably, how you hold your mouth.

I know at least one person who has written a book in 10 minutes a day. His trick was to always know what he was going to write next when that 10 minutes was up.

I’ve known more than one person get a book written on their lunch hour at work. Writing in down times at the office has worked for many.

Writing an hour or two each evening, or each early morning is often an effective strategy.

Some have done it with intense writing every weekend.

The point is, to get your book written, you have to write. To get the writing done you pretty much have to do it consistently. How that will look for you will vary.

What’s your experience? What kind of writing schedule works for you?

Write well and often,

Anne Wayman, Ghostwriter and Writing Coach

 

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Helene Poulakou June 4, 2013 at 2:26 pm

For me, writing schedules work fine — as long as it’s non-fiction writing. I research, I brainstorm, I plan, I write, I edit. Simple as that.

When I get to fiction writing, though, I find myself quite undisciplined. As far as I’ve come to understand my process, I have to be quite sure that I’ve got the characters, their goals, the situations, my own goals, etc right. I must take lots of notes, explore numerous plans, invent and “kill” many characters, until I have all the general layout of the action decided upon. If there are doubts or second thoughts, I know that it ain’t “right” yet.

For example, I started on a novel for the last NaNoWriMo (Nov 2012) — the draft was soon reduced to notes, and then it just couldn’t go forward. I had certain things to say, but the pieces of the puzzle wouldn’t come together. It had to be reduced in something simpler — and it’s only lately, after many changes (and while I juggle two jobs, a family, and some more), that I seem to have reached a workable plan.

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annew June 4, 2013 at 5:00 pm

Ah, Helene, but you’ve reached a workable plan… let me congratulate you on that… I too do well organizing non-fiction – you’ve gotten further than me with fiction. Way to go!

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