Time is a startlingly precious commodity, especially in a world that constantly tells us to keep going faster, faster, faster, to keep doing more, more, more. We all know how it goes: you skip one day of writing, one measly little day – perhaps you get home late from school, or perhaps you’re inundated with homework, or perhaps you’re just exhausted and you don’t feel like doing it tonight.
But it’s not like missing one day could hurt, right? You’ll get back into your carefully set routine tomorrow.
The thing is, tomorrow too often turns into the next day, which turns into next week, which only turns into someday. And someday might as well be a synonym for never.
Time is an awfully difficult thing to manage.
You’ve heard it before, but I’ll say it again: carving out a routine in your daily schedule is possibly the most important thing you can do for your writing. Here’s the catch, though: you can’t skip a day. Ever. It does not matter what happens. As a writer, it’s so important to guard your time ferociously, disregarding all distractions, through rain or shine or homework up to your ears.
As with all steadfast rules, though, there are some ways to make life easier for yourself. One of my absolute favourite techniques is to set a time for my writing. Every single day, 10 PM sharp, I’m at my desk, laptop open, notebook by my side, tea in hand. I write until 11 or until the ideas run out, whichever comes first – and then I’m done, finished, quota filled. It doesn’t matter how much I have to do: every day, no matter what, I’m at my desk at 10 PM.
Another great motivator is using a monthly calendar. Mine is sitting on my desk, and every single day once I’ve finished writing, there’s a big red cross that goes through that day. Soon enough I have a week of red crosses, and then two weeks, and then three weeks. Seeing those red crosses glaring up at me is a pretty good incentive to get my butt off the couch and to the desk, because honestly, do I really want to break the chain after so long? (Hint: no, I don’t. And you won’t either, no matter how good that episode of Friends is).
It gets easier. I promise. After a few months, your writing routine feels like an integral part of life. Missing even a day pretty much equates to sacrilege. If you have a daily word count, it becomes more and more natural to crank it out. If you’re like me and you just let the words ebb and flow, you start to notice a lot more flowing and a lot less ebbing.
Setting a hard-and-fast writing schedule is one of the best things you can do to not only increase your productivity levels, but also make sure tomorrow doesn’t fade out to someday. It’s not enough to just write when you have the time, because I can guarantee you that the time isn’t going to come. You’re the only one who can make it happen.
Topaz Winters is a teen author and singer/songwriter, currently in the process of publishing her first book, Frozen Hearts, and recording her as-yet untitled debut album. In her spare time she rides dragons, collects stardust, and eats copious amounts of cheesecake. You can find her wandering cyberspace at her blog or on Twitter.Tweet tweet:
In this guest post on @brianawrites’ blog, @topazwinters thinks you should set aside writing time. (Click to tweet)
3 responses to “Guest Post: Setting Aside Writing Time”
Mmm, I totally agree. I guiltily admit I haven’t been safeguarding my writing time — I spare half an hour before sleeping, but these weeks I haven’t been sticking to it. Instead I’m chipping away at it, so I guess it’s okay if I’m still getting work done? *sweats nervously*
Anyways, thanks for the lovely post, Topaz and Briana!
I do need to get more “free writing” time in somehow!