One of the most common things I've seen writers be asked is what their writing schedule looks like. Do you write at set times? Do you have a daily word count goal? Do you write every day or when inspiration strikes?
Each writer has a different answer. We're all different people, so what works for one might not work for another.
Still, I've recently made a slight alteration to my writing schedule that's made a huge difference in my productivity, so I thought I would share.
You might have noticed the drastic changes happening in the word count meter over to the right within the last few weeks. This is because of the change up I made to my writing schedule.
I've made a concerted effort to write at least a bit every single day for years, but I've never been the best at sticking to it. Writing is a lonely and slow moving profession. You can go weeks, months, or even years without making a lot of progress no matter how often and for how long you write, and it can start to feel pointless to push yourself because the return on investment (ROI) for many is nil of not in the red. So it's easy to start making excuses, and the next thing you know, it's been months since you've written anything longer than a Facebook post!
Yet, I've heard time and time again that the only way to succeed in todays market is to be prolific. Readers are more likely to "take a chance" on an author with five or six titles under their belt than first timers. It's frustrating, but it makes sense. How many writers give up after their first publication doesn't take off like any of the big YA series so famous nowadays? So, there's no real way to gage the long term ROI of writing until you've finished several different books, and getting there requires lots of work. That's why I've redoubled my efforts to stop making up excuses and put rump in seat and fingers to keys seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Remember my NaNoWriMo recap from this year? I didn't participate in the usual way because I was interested to see how many words I wrote in an average month. Even without pushing myself, I wrote 33K words during November, or an average of 1,100 words per day. Then I corrected that average to take the days I didn't write at all into account, and the average bumped up to just over 1,600 words per day. It was a somewhat reassuring and interesting bit of trivia, but I didn't think too much about it with the holiday season looming.
Flash forward a little over a month, and I came across a tweet by fellow author, Jenna Moreci.
She's absolutely right, and her tweet combined with several other things I came across but can't remember as clearly started the gears turning in my mind. I remembered the results of 2016's NaNoWriMo, and I began wondering just what I could manage if I stopped with the excuses. I backed down the daily word count to 1500 and figured up how many words that would add up to if accomplished every day for a year. I'll spare you the multiplication. It's 547,500 words. If you figure the average novel today comes to around 80K words, that's the equivalent of writing 6.8 of them!
Now, you don't just dash off 80K words and call it done. There are rewrites, edits, proofreading, formatting, more proofreading, and then proofreading the galleys to take a rough draft to print. But still, if your efforts are focused, it's possible to take a novel from idea to print inside a year, even on your own. All you have to do is have the guts and perseverance to put in the work.
So that's when my writing schedule changed. I made it my aim to write at least 1500 words each and every day for the remainder of the year, and just look what a difference it's been making to my productivity! When I started this new schedule back on January 24, the Icarus Project rough draft sat at just over 45K words.
Now for the actual "schedule." Aside from just writing every day, I have more of a pattern than a set time. Another one of my goals is to continue losing weight/maintain my health, and sitting for long periods of time is detrimental to that for anyone, not just those of us with damaged hamstrings. So I write in fifty minute bursts throughout the day. I do a few chores, write for fifty minutes, do some more chores, write for another fifty minutes, and so on. Some days I have more chores or errands to do than others, but I can usually manage at least two fifty minute writing blocks no matter what day it is. And I can write anywhere from 500-1000 words during each one, depending on how easily the sentences come that day.
What about you? Do you have any sort of writing schedule, and do you stick to it?
In addition to working as a freelance writer, A. B. England is a novelist, all around geek, avid crafter, and a homeschooling mother of two.
She is an autistic creator with a love of mythology, fantasy, and all flavors of science fiction.
Yekara Series Book 2
The Icarus Project
Rough Draft Progress
77384 / 75000
Myth & Science Collection
Icarus Series Book 2
Sketched w/ Some Drafting
Yekara Series Book 3
Myth & Science Collection 2
Intent Only at this Time
Icarus Trilogy Book 3
Supers Collection 2
Intent Only at this Time
Yekara Series Book 4