writing scheduleI was recently rather impressed, albeit envious, of Jeff Goins’ writing schedule outlined over at his blog. ‘He gets up really early,’ I thought. Why couldn’t I get up as early as him, and start my writing as the sun rises?

Well, I like my bed.

That’s the hard, honest truth. Call me lazy, but it’s the summer break, and boy do I do enough during the day and evening to make up for a little lie in. Yes, I tried to implement Jeff Goins’ morning routine into a writing schedule of my own. Yes, it felt good. And yes, I only stuck with it for two days.

This got me thinking about a writing schedule of my own, and finding something that worked for me. As Jeff states, you should ‘find a system that helps you get the work done, and use it.’ How does one discover their own schedule, and play to their strengths? We can start by asking a few simple questions.

1. Am I a night owl or an early bird?

Much of your writing schedule will revolve around this basic question. Do you prefer to rise early, getting all your jobs done before the clock strokes 11, or work into the night?

Being awkward, I’m a little bit on the fence with this one. At heart, I am a night owl, preferring to stay up into the early hours. There is something rather magical about knowing that the bulk of the people in your city are asleep whilst you’re alone with only the night for company. And moths. Bloody moths.

Being honest though, I prefer to get some of my writing done earlier on. What does a night owl do in a situation where they prefer to stay up late, but enjoy getting their blog posts done in the morning? They, um, buy an iPad.

I know it’s expensive, but personally, tablet computing has helped rather than hindered my productivity. I can write blog posts and research my writing links for the day, all from the comfort of my bed. Working from bed, eh? Call that lazy? I call it ultra-productive.

2. Do I have enough time in the day to do everything?

This is also important, because you don’t want to set yourself any unrealistic targets. If you’re working a 9-5 job, come home exhausted, and have a three hour slot of writing scheduled, when are you going to find the time to eat your dinner?

Sadly, the only real way to work out a perfect schedule for yourself is to experiment. In fact, I’d argue that it’s better to schedule say, thirty minutes of writing per day initially, then work upwards from there if you are feeling the creative juices flowing.

The last thing you want is to get burnout. It’ll have a knock on effect on all aspects of your life, whether it be work or family, so start off with a conservative writing schedule before dabbling with a more ambitious one.

3. Am I prepared to change my schedule?

Circumstances change. Sometimes they are in your control, but most of the time, they aren’t. You need to be prepared to tinker with your writing schedule if you want it to be successful.

I know this sounds rather contradictory, given that a schedule is rigid by its very nature, but  a writing schedule should be treated somewhat differently to other routines.

Basically, don’t get too attached to it. You will have to change it some day, and probably soon for that matter. Change is okay. In fact, change is infinitely better than trying to cling to a writing schedule that simply doesn’t work for you any longer.

Say you’re staying up later, for example. That will have a knock-on effect on your morning routine, whether you think so or not, so be prepared to alter your schedule to suit your changing habits. If you have to change it daily, then so be it. Think of it as a working schedule rather than a rigid map to follow. Rigidity is counter-productive in writing, I believe, so be sure to avoid that.

Oh, you want to see my writing schedule? Well I am sorry, but I think it would be better to come up with your own. Schedules are unique, individual beasts, so trying to adapt someone else’s to your life is like trying to fit a square inside of a circle, or something. Yes, it might work, but it won’t work as well as one you’ve come up with yourself. If you are looking for some more practical help, though, this guest post by Yesenia Vargas over at duolit should be of great help.

Now, excuse me whilst I save my Pages document and roll back under the covers.

What is your writing schedule? Have you tried tinkering with it, and has this worked for you?

Image courtesy of ebby via Flickr