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a: Who Needs a Schedule?

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#1 AgentModX


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Posted 16 August 2017 - 07:30 AM

I want to go out on a limb here and say...YOU! You need a schedule.We all do. If you have a schedule-phobia, then you might have stopped reading by now. If you're vigorously shaking your head no, then just bear with me for a few more hundred words and let me tell you why I think everyone needs to find a schedule that works for them.

You will write more.
If you have a schedule, you will write more. I haven't done an official study, but I have talked to enough writers and have been a writer long enough to know this is true 95 percent of the time. (Estimated statistics there--we are not math geniuses after all.) Usually, if you have given yourself a scheduled time to write, this also means that you've made writing a priority. And if you've made writing a priority, then you're writing more and on a consistent basis.

Without scheduled writing time, writing might be the thing on the list that occurs when you get around to it. We all know that many times those list items never get finished.

It doesn't have to be a typical schedule.
If you are NOT a schedule person, and you are still with me, then thanks for hearing me out. You see, scheduled writing does not have to mean that every day at 5am, you are going to wake up and write. There are all different types of plans that work for people--the point is really to have a planned writing time and stick to it. This is why several novelists have taken my "Write a Novel with a Writing Coach" class because the way the class is set up, it makes writers stick to a schedule. The schedule is: every Friday, they must turn in a chapter or 15 pages to me. So before Friday then, they have to plan writing time to get this assignment finished--some people do it the weekend before and revise during the week. Others write at night when their children go to bed. Some do it on their lunch hour.

Maybe you have a critique group that meets every three weeks. So your schedule is--I have to have two chapters to turn in every three weeks. Therefore, how much time do I need to write these chapters before that date? Maybe it's not the same time for you every day, but you know you'll need ten hours before that three week deadline, and you work your writing time in that way.

Having a schedule saves you time.
One thing I have started doing is before I get up from my computer to do anything (get a snack, go to the bathroom, put a load of laundry in), I open up the next thing I'm going to work on or I type a line for the next paragraph or chapter, etc. The point is: planning ahead of time what you are going to do saves you time. So, even if you have to make your writing schedule day by day because you have a totally hectic life, thinking about WHEN you can have planned writing time the very next day and WHAT you will work on helps you use your limited time wisely; and (I sound like a broken record) you will be more productive.

If you are a schedule person, tell us below how you use a schedule to work your writing into your life. If you are not, then let us know--does this post drive you crazy?

Margo L. Dill is a writing coach, editor, author and teacher, living in St. Louis, MO. You can find out more about her writing and coaching business here and her books here

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