Having trouble creating a writing schedule that works best for you and your creative process but that also helps you reach your author goals? Then you're going to want to stay tuned. Because today I'm going to walk you through a process of creating a writing schedule that solves those problems for you.
Hi, I'm Brit from Thriving Scribes and I help indie authors bring together mindset and strategy in order to thrive in authorship. And today in this video, we're going to talk about how to create a writing schedule that not only works for you, but that also helps you reach your goals. And I know this is a huge pain point for so many writers.
Before we get started:
Now, before I get into the actual process of creating this writing routine, I want to share with you a few key pieces of information that you really need to understand before you even get started.
1) Don't compare your writing process with another author's. The first is that you need to not compare your writing process with another authors. What works for one author doesn't work for us all. We all have different things going on in our lives, we all have our own creative processes, and we all have our own speeds at writing.
Some authors are extremely prolific and can crank out five plus books in one year while others are only shooting for one release every 12 months. And both of those are great strategies. But they're only great strategies if you actually have the ability to write in that capacity and the time to fit that in your life.
2) Have a plan in place. The second thing is that you need to have a plan in place. The biggest hangup that I see with authors trying to maintain a writing schedule is when they are trying to wing it. Then they hit a snag, they don't know what comes next, and they can't work through it. Now I get it if your creative process jives more with pantsing, however, having a plan in place, even if that's just loose, bullet points is really going to help you maintain a writing schedule so that when you sit down to write, you can actually write, instead of wonder what to write. This process is also going to help you create cleaner drafts so that you're spending less time editing later.
How To Create A Writing Schedule
Look at your availability and ability
Now let's jump into how to create a writing schedule. In order for this to really work, you have to be 100% realistic with yourself so that you can get really clear on the time you actually have available.
Now, I want to be very clear here. There are a lot of other coaches out there and a lot of blogs that will tell you that you have to be able to write every single day in order to be a successful author. And do I think that building up a strong writing habit and consistency are extremely important in authorship? Of course! But logically that's not realistic for every single one of us. Some of us are working full time jobs, as well as pursuing authorship. Some of us are stay at home moms with children running around the house all day long.
Like in my case, I'm a homeschool mom. My kids are around all of the time. I often don't have the time to do a full writing session every single day. And if that's the case for you, then being able to fit in a writing session every single day just doesn't make sense for you. And that's OK I don't want you to buy into the hype that you have to write every day in order to be a successful author.
That said it is extremely important to understand how often you do have to write how much time is available to you. So even if it's not every single day, how many days a week can you dedicate to writing? How many sessions of writing can you dedicate on your writing days? And for how long? If you don't know what this is for you, then what I recommend doing is to actually just follow yourself around for a day or for a week, and really look at when you are writing and when you are able to fit that in so that you can have a really clear vision of what time is available to you.
This is going to help you craft your writing schedule so that when we move on further down this process, you're not promising yourself that you're going to be able to write five times a week when you can only really write three times a week.
And the second part of this is your ability. This is how much you're able to write in a writing session on average. So for example, when I write, I typically write for 25 minute sprints I'll break in between and do another 25 minute sprint and just keep doing that until my writing session is done for the day. This is commonly known as the Pomodoro technique. And not only does this allow me to be more productive, but it also allows me to see what my average word count is.
So when I'm writing, I keep a spreadsheet that has four columns. So every time that I sit down to write, I mark down the date and then I'll start my timer, I'll sprint. And then I'll write down how many words I was able to do in that 25 minute sprint. And then I'll do it again. And again, for each time that I do a sprint.
This process helps me get a really good idea of what my average word count is and what I'm able to actually write in one writing session, which then lets me know how much I can do in a day, how much I can do in a week, and so on. This right here is going to help you get really clear and let you create really actionable goals. So say that you're creating a publishing timeline, you're going to be able to know how much you're going to be able to do and how long it's going to be able to take you to reach your ultimate word count goal when you're drafting.
Look at your goals
Speaking of goals, step two is to actually take chart of what your goals are as an author. That way, when you are assessing your goals, you can really look at your now ability and availability and make sure that your goal aligns with what you're able to do.
So for example, if your goal is to be able to release two books per year, then you're going to take that goal and you're going to look at both your ability and your availability and make sure that goal actually makes sense for you.
But how do you do that?
Do the math
So if you know that you're writing a novel, that is going to be 60,000 words when it's finished and you know that you can write 1000 words a day, four days a week, then that tells you that it's going to take approximately four months to complete this draft.
Say it takes you a month to self-edit this another two weeks to send off to the editor. And then another two weeks to then incorporate those edits. That gives you a publishing timeline of about six months, give or take.
You can definitely be more strategic with this when you are doing this process for yourself and actually apply deadlines and dates. But for the sake of this example, let's just say then that you'd be able to release a book every five to six months. And with our example here of wanting to release two books per year, we can come to the conclusion that taking into account our availability and our ability that that goal is going to be realistic. That's in our power. We're going to be able to make that goal happen.
But let's say that for some reason, that goal just does not make sense with our ability and our availability. So what do you do then? Well, you really have one of two options. The first option here would be to adjust that goal to only releasing a book, say every 10 months, instead of two a year. Or whatever would make the most sense with your ability and availability.
The second option here would be to adjust your availability. That means looking for what you can shift around to make more space in your life for working towards your goals. So for you, that could be staying up one hour later at night or getting up one hour earlier. Maybe it means letting go of some commitments that really aren't serving you so that you have now extra time in your days to write.
Map it out
So now that you have come to that conclusion and you know that your goals are possible and you know how much you can write and how often you can write, the next part is to map it out.
So for me, what that means is going into my planner or going to my project management system, whether that's Trello or Asana and actually creating an action plan, actually mapping out what I want to happen in that timeline.
I like to include my word count goal and the total word count that I'm going for in this particular project. And then I can also add in my start date and from there knowing my ability and my availability, I can start adding in those goal dates for the rest of the steps in my project timeline until I ultimately reach that target publication date.
Make a commitment
Now the final thing here is to make a commitment for yourself, not just for the sake of your writing, but for the sake of your author career as a whole. So add this to your planner, add this into your calendar, set a reminder for the days that you promised yourself that you were going to write.
Not only that, but let your family members know or the people who are involved in your day to day life, let them know you have a goal that you're working for, that they can respect the time that you're setting aside to write and to reach that goal and they can support you along the way.
Another good idea would be to reach out and find an accountability partner, another author or another writer who is also working towards goals and that you can communicate with each other and just help hold each other accountable. And there you go. That's how to create a writing schedule that is not only realistic for you and your season of life, but that also helps you work towards your goals.
If you want to dig into some more great tips, then definitely go and join the Thriving Scribes resource library. It's got lots of free goodies to help you thrive in authorship, including a productivity reboot and the time blocking author guide.
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So now you've got that framework you can work off, you've made that commitment for yourself, and you know how many writing sessions you're going to need in order to reach your ultimate goals. Hope this helped you plan out really realistic writing schedule for yourself and a publishing timeline to help you reach your goals. And I will see you next time. I'm always rooting for you. Bye.