Why Scheduling Your Writing Matters
Scheduling your writing means two things — planning your work in advance and putting your writing time in your calendar. Here are four reasons why should you start doing both today.
Know what you're getting into
Starting a long-term writing project can be overwhelming. There's so much to figure do and no clear path how to get it done. You want to start writing as quickly as possible. However, before you start, it's essential to put things in perspective. How many words do you need in total? And how many can you sustainably write regularly?
”If I only had an hour to chop down a tree, I would spend the first 45 minutes sharpening my axe.”
– Abraham Lincoln
In my experience, this is best done weekly. Figure out what days of the week will you be able to write, and how many words can you get done.
A simple extrapolation will give you a rough idea of when you can expect to finish. Do you write 500 words per day three days a week? In that case, a fantasy trilogy of 120,000 words per book will take you about five years to finish (if you never skip a day).
At that pace, it will be hard to stay motivated. Perhaps writing a shorter, standalone book first would be a better idea.
Writing Analytics comes with a built-in project scheduler that can help you figure these things out. It calculates your deadline or daily goal automatically based on your weekly schedule. Simply enter your project goal and pick which days of the week you plan to work on it.
For most people, writing is an entirely self-motivated endeavour. You want to write that book. But if you don't do it, nothing bad will happen. Writers need every tool they can get to stay motivated.
Setting a deadline and charting out your writing journey from start to finish will create urgency to keep you accountable. You'll know exactly how much skipping a writing session will set you back.
”I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”
Deadlines are powerful motivators. It doesn't matter that you miss your deadline. Most people do. But you should set one anyway.
Make writing a priority
Finding the time to write during a busy day can be challenging. Other things keep popping up. You procrastinate and leave writing until it's the evening and you're too tired to do it.
Scheduling your writing sessions on your calendar in advance is a simple but powerful trick. It makes your intentions clear. And it makes it harder to back out.
You wouldn't just book a meeting or appointment with someone and then fail to turn up without saying anything. That would be incredibly rude. Booking a time for yourself to write is a commitment. Treat it as you would anything else on your schedule.
Don't waste time
The more time you have, the more you end up wasting. When you have the whole day to write, it's surprisingly difficult to get started. You may be preoccupied with other things.
”Tasks will always fill the time available to complete them.”
It's easy to waste time when you've got a lot of it.
Dividing your day into chunks and scheduling events in your calendar will break up that blank space. Suddenly, you don't have 12 more hours to go. You have other things scheduled for the afternoon. If you don't start writing right now, you won't be able to do it today.
Scheduling your writing puts the time you have in perspective. You only have so much left. Don't waste it.
”Plans are worthless, but planning is indispensable.”
The reality of most plans is that they turn out to be wrong. Things don't always work out as planned, and that's ok. The real value is in the planning process.