Saturday, March 11, 2017

Developing a Daily Schedule: Finding Time to Write in a Busy Day

I've been reading a lot about how to schedule my time, because I have been a mess at getting things done. I know that others would love to learn how to schedule theirs too. One method is Miracle Morning. It's not really for me, but I have picked up some tips in designing my daily schedule so I have time to write during the day I thought I would share with everyone. Whether you work or you go to school, finding time is the most important part of making a daily schedule for writing.

1. Know When You Are Your Most Productive

For example, I determined that my most productive part of the day is the morning. I like to get a lot of stuff done in the morning, before noon, and after that I start to peter out. Because of that, I have put my most important parts of my schedule in the morning. I also make sure to schedule any important appointments in the morning. My writing comes in the afternoon, when I am more relaxed.

2. Don't Forget the Little Things

It may seem you only need to schedule the important things, but there are a few things I need to schedule or I completely forget. Like, yes, cleaning the litter box. This is a daily chore for me, and I need to schedule it for a certain time in the morning.

3. If You Don't Write It Down, It Won't Happen

Clearly if you are reading this post, you need help with creating a schedule. Maybe you've found that your tasks just don't get done. For tasks that aren't set in stone, create a future log, and create a writing future log so you know what writing tasks you need to do.

The term future log comes from the bullet journal community, and creating a bullet journal can very beneficial for scheduling your time. Basically a future log is a to do list where the items don't have a specific set date.

An example of a few things on my Writing Future Log:
  • Develop the Hero and his backstory
  • Write my Heroine's backstory
  • Develop the minor characters
  • Research laws in Austin, Texas

4. You Need to Make Time for Writing

Basically you can't just say, "I'm going to do that sometime today." Set a time and stick to it. Also, this time has to be non-negotiable. This is time where everything else is put on hold and you write. That means you do not schedule appointments during this time, you don't schedule this during a favorite show, etc.

5. Set a Realistic Daily Word Count

If you have a goal, you are more likely to set up a time to write every day. To set your daily word count, think of how many pages you want to write a day. Say, five. Book pages are approximately 250 words. So take 5 x 250, that means you will write 1250 words daily. It doesn't sound like as much when you view it as pages.

My goal is a modest 500 pages right now. I plan to increase that goal when I actually start getting into the bulk of the novel since I am currently in the planning stages.

6. Write Before Deadlines, Not at the Last Minute

I have deadlines for this blog. I try to put up my posts on Sunday night at the latest. I have found that when I write posts ahead of time, they come out a lot better than the ones I wrote, say, and hour before posting. Basically I have better advice and have time to edit my work.

It's the same for everyone. If you are a student trying to write a paper, your paper is going to be better when you take time. Schedule your writing way before your deadline. When I was in college and grad school, I liked to write a paragraph a day. Usually that was 5 paragraphs in 5 days. Then I would take the rest of the time to edit my work and put in any additional research I found.

For your reference, here is a daily schedule I've created for myself. You don't have to follow my timeline, but this gives you an idea of how to organize your time. And yes, I really do get up at 5 every morning. Don't worry about that, though. If you are more productive at night (I used to be a night owl before I attended grad school), then schedule more of your writing time for then.

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