How to create a writing schedule that actually works for you
With nanowimo around the corner I figured this was the perfect post. Let’s face it writing fifty thousand words in a month isn’t exactly easy. Now if you do want to win nanowrimo you should probably have a writing schedule. But how can you do this? I know so many people who say that writing schedules don’t work for them. I mean you just make one and you never follow it right? so why bother when you can just wing it. I mean a lot of people don’t have writing schedules and they do end up writing their novels but in my opinion having a writing schedule is super important. In this post I will be covering why you need a writing schedule, why they don’t usually work for you and how you can fix that. I know sounds awesome doesn’t it. so before we get started go ahead and subscribe to my newsletter. If your new here I get a new post out for you every Monday and email subscribers get some awesome writing templates. I have a series template, character template for your mc and scene cards. All of these things will help you during nanowrimo so what are you waiting for go ahead and subscribe. Also if you haven't finished outlining your novel or you just want some last minute help check out my posts on expanding on your story idea, creating amazing characters for your story, overcoming writers block, How to create an unforgettable villain for your story .Now lets get started.
Why you need a writing schedule
That’s right if your one of those people who think you don’t need a writing schedule I’m here to tell you that you do. and here are the reasons.
1. It helps you get stuff done
2. You have a productive day
3. Your not stressed and worried
4. Did I mention that you can actually meet your writing goals and potentially win nanowrimo!!
Why writing schedules don’t work for you
Yes that’s right this is it. the reason writing schedules don’t work for you. Are you ready? Okay here it is that schedule wasn’t created for you. It was too general. Its not your fault. You probably just looked at someone else’s schedule and decided to make it yours. Yea surprise surprise that didn’t work for you. Or you just created a schedule which controlled you. This is not what you want to do. Your schedule needs to make things easier for you. T cant be some way for you to just fit into your day to day life. A schedule needs to make your life easier and less messy. You also need to get things done I’m guessing.
How you can fix that
You heard that right you can actually fix that! I mean its not like you totally saw that when you clicked on this post right? Anyway today I have for you 11 tips to help you create a writing schedule that actually works for you…and guess what even follow it.
1. Write down everything you need to do
I know, I know there’s so much to do right? Writing is just one of the many things you have to do so writing it down wont do you much good. Right? no wrong. You have a lot of shit in your brains (Even you, trust me) and it all seems so overwhelming and it seems like a lot of work. Ore work than it really is. Its not that hard. You may have a lot on your plate but I want you to write everything you need to do down. This really, really helps to declutter your brain. Once you write it down make a list. Well you don’t have to do list yet, this part can be super messed up and cluttered but that’s cool. You have complete permission to be as messy as you want.
Now that you have everything down on paper its time to prioritize. I’m going to go ahead and make the very bold assumption that writing isn’t the only thing you do. You probably have school or work and a ton of other things. Which one of those do you absolutely need to get done. Good you now narrowed your shot down to what needs to be done and what you probably should get done now.
The next step now is for you to figure out what time of the day worls best for you. I’m not gonna tell you to wake up super early in the morning and write then. Why? Because this is very general and may not work for you. Writing may be something you do in the middle of the day or something you do at the end of the day. Cool! Now you have that time down so you know when to write.
The most important thing you need to get done obviously gets done at this time. And some things which may not be as important get done before or after it. Do you want to write at the end of the day? Well then you need to get your homework done before then. And if you really do want to write in the mornings your homework needs to get done right after or at the rest of the day.
3. Get into calendar blocking
Does this seem like too much for you? I mean calendar blocking is too detailed for you… and I mean its so much work right? you don’t have time to calendar block. Yeah that’s where your wrong and that is probably why you need to calendar block. Seeing everything you do in the day shown as huge blocks of time is surprisingly helpful. You need to get everything you do here. Even Netflix… and Instagram and pinterest.
Now if you do use google calendars like I do, there’s a lot you can do. You can go ahead and create different calendars for different things you need to do and colour code them. You can have a different calendar for writing and a different one for school. Now you can tell exactly what you need to do in your day with just a glance. You can also set up reminders so you get notifications before you need to write.
4. Change your schedule up
What does this mean you ask? Well schedules get boring that much is true. Which is why you have complete and total permission to change your schedule up. You know this way you can prevent your story from getting boring and you can also get different things done on different ways. You can have a different schedule for a different day of the week or if that too feels boring you can have a couple schedules for the month.
Admit it this has definitely happened to you. You have your writing schedule and its working great actually. I mean your able to follow it and your getting everything done and its so awesome right. until its not. Until it starts to get boring and monotonous and hey its boring. Your done with this schedule and that’s when you do realize that it’s not working for you anymore. But you don’t give up on it just yet. You go on using it until well you just can’t anymore and you just slowly stop following it. That’s not what we want is it. Like I said before your schedule can’t rule over you. It needs to make things easier for you right? That’s why I think it’s a good idea to have different schedules. Like during your vacations you have a shit load of free time and your getting so much done and your schedule is perfect. But then school starts and it obviously stops working for you.
In different times of your life you will need a different schedule because you have more or less things to get done.
Now look at November or whatever month it is you want to set a schedule for. Do you have any tests coming up? Any extracurriculars or anything else. Yup! November might need two schedules and well that parts up to you.
5. Tell your friends about your goals
You may already do this…and if you do you know how darn helpful this is right? When you don’t tell anyone else about your goals they don’t feel very real. Once your friends know about it, its not just a fantasy in your head. Its real. And now that someone else knows about it your more inclined to actually work hard for it instead of just letting it remain a fantasy. Are you doing nanowrimo? Well nano buddies is a great idea. But really these can be your real life friends. Or these can be your friends from instagam or whatever writing community you are a part of.
N ow the person you tell doesn’t have to be a writer. It can be a family member or just someone you really trust. I mean writing a book is hard work and we know it. And like I said before 50 thousand words in a month is even harder. So much so that it can feel like a fantasy rather than something you can actually achieve. But that’s not what you want it to be right? anyone can dream about writing fifty thousand words but you want to make it happen. So go ahead and spread the words. Tell your friends and family what you are going to do.
An added bonus to this is the fact that you wont be disturbed while you write. If your family does know that November is a busy month and you have a lot going on then your more likely to not get interrupted by them.
6. Do writing sprints with your friends
Now you told your friends about writing. Now its time to write. Yikes! That’s a tiny but hard right. We al know that writing sprints are a great way to get things done. If you don’t already know what they are HAVE YOU BEEN LIVING UNDER A ROCK? Hah I’m kidding. Writing sprints are when you set a timer for maybe fifteen or thirty minutes and then focus on writing for that time. Instead of sitting down to write for hours and getting distracted fifty times a day and procrastinating a lot why not you just focus on what needs to get done for a good twenty minutes. Surprisingly enough you get a lot done. If I focus a lot for thirty minutes I can get around 1200 words written. I know that’s so cool right.
But here we are talking about sprints with your friends. Sprints are meant for inspiration but its easy to feel uninspired even then right. But having friends do these sprints with you is a super awesome idea. You have a bunch of people with you and that is super inspiring and it can also get a teeny it competitive if you want it to. Okay it doesn’t have to be competitive but you don’t want to look like a complete master procrastinator in front of your friends do you (even though they probably know you are). The point is that there are others with you who also need to accomplish their goals.
7. Give yourself some room to mess up
You may have a perfect schedule planned out but you will still mess up. Having a rough day? Well writing seems even more stressful at this point and you just need a break. And guess what you need a break. Yeah that’s right I just said that. Self care is so much more important that winning nanowrimo I promise. Do what’s best for you? You want to write a book so badly? Well not everyone writes everyday. You see that piece of writing advice that says write everyday. Its horrible. I mean I think a lot of authors don’t write everyday. I’m pretty sure they take breaks if they really need it and so should you. Add this to your schedule so you don’t feel guilty for not completing your goals. Because you shouldn’t.
Maybe Sunday can be your day for self care. You may need to write more the other days to catch up. But only if that works for you. Breaks every week may not be what you need but a couple breaks November isn’t a bad idea.
All breaks don’t have to be planned. Sometimes your tired and you just decide to not write. Make sure that you can compenciate for any days you cannot write. IN my opinion this is super important because even the experts have bad days.
8. Don’t overwork yourself
But isn’t that what nanowrimo is about? NO AND I MEAN NO. Please no your limits and don’t overwork yourself. By now you have created a schedule which has more room for messing up. Your schedule is now foolproof so you can now think about self-care. And that is not overworking yourself. Your mental health is very important. If at any day of the week your tired and you just cant even write…don’t. You might think that meeting your goal is important and you need to write but trust me when I say that its really not that important. You come first. And if yo still don’t agree I want you to ask yourself if you would rather write five thousand words that aren’t really very good or take a break and write one thousand really good words. You know the answer to that right? I mean obviously the five thousand words. It doenst matter if your book is bad or not right? I mean as long as its giant—you know what I cant go on with that because we all know quality over quantity any day.
Word count is important but not as much as you think. It is a little more when you traditionally publish but I don’t think your reader is gonna check the word count. They are gonna care about reading a good book. If its long and boring no ones gonna care.
So I want you to figure out how much work is too much. If nano is too much you don’t have to. Brittany wang mentioned in one of her videos that keeping multiple goals for nano is a good idea. Your main goal can be fifty thousand but 30 thousand words can be another goal and twenty thousand your last. You are important and you come first.
9. Don’t set impossible goals
Like I said before don’t overwork yourself. And just like that don’t pick an impossible goal. Most of this point was covered in the previous point so I’m going to keep this short. Maybe keep in mind that nanowrimo is not for you. There is no timeframe in writing a book or doing anything else. Now I don’t think that its impossible. I think you can do it. But it has to make you happy and well at the end of the day it shouldn’t be too much.
10. Use airplane mode
Let’s face it we all have airplane mode on our phones but we don’t really use it as much as we should. Come on admit it, it’s a really great idea. Put your phone on airplane mode and keep from distracting yourself. Keeping your phone in a different room is something people do a lot and that is an awesome idea. But I use timers on my phone and that’s where airplane mode comes in. You can even tun your notifications off but airplane mode is the way to go for me. if I try getting on Instagram or youtube I obviously get a notification asking me to turn on my intenet by when I realize that I need to put the phone away.
Come on one main reason we all don’t follow our schedules is because of our phones. Now you have a solution to this problem. Airplane mode. Seriously its magic.
11. Get off Instagram and pinterest
That had to hurt right? well it’s the best piece of advice I have got for you to follow your schedule. Well after airplane mode. I shouldn’t have to say this but Instagram and pinterest is not writing. All those writing memes you make…well they aren’t actually writing. Don’t get me wrong I love those memes. I live for those memes. But laughing at those memes and sharing them to your story isn’t writing either. You know what is actually writing? Opening your word or scrivener or your notebook and writing. You know putting those words on paper or onto your screen is writing. Outlining and editing is also writing. But not Instagram or pinterest. So get of Instagram and pinterest. You’re welcome.
Well that’s all I have for you today. Well maybe it was a teeny bit long but I hope you did enjoy it and that it helped you. Now go ahead and drop a comment down below and let me know if you are any good at sticking to your schedule. And while your at that drop a like and subscribe to my newsletter. You know my freebies and you know they're awesome. So go ahead and get them now. There is also a monthly newsletter you know you don’t want to miss out on. Thank you for reading this and I’ll see you next Monday when a new post comes out so do stick around for that.