It is deceptively easy to think that you will write on a flexible schedule and finish your book on a set deadline. One of the attractions of writing is the assumption of freedom in writing hours. This is only as partially true as many writers will discover when they are on a tight deadline. You have to put in the hours just like a 9-5 job but have the flexibility of scheduling the work. This is a bit difficult especially when the lazy bug hits. That’s why you need a routine to put you on the job, avoid procrastination and finish your project.
Discover your style
Discovering your working style is the first step in making a workable routine. This is because it is easier to craft the routine around your habits instead of trying to change the habits. How long is your usual writing session? How many words do you write comfortably? How much sleep do you get? These types of questions help you discover where you are and work on that.
Set your goals
Writing is a series of projects. Every project has a timeline and a set of activities. Breakdown your writing project in a series of realistic activities, for example, ‘Finish Chapter 2 in 4 days.’ This is a specific goal that forces you to find ways on how to achieve it. Whether you work on it in a 2 day writing frenzy, or for 4 hours every day depends on other demands in your day tasks.
It is a common complaint among part-time writers that there is so little time to write. You should be looking at writing as important as putting in hours at the office. Make the time instead of waiting to find time.
Capitalize on energy
An alternative to working set hours is working when energy levels are up during the day. Put in as much work as possible during this period. This clears those sections that you have been feeling reluctant to tackle.
Train your mind
Developing a routine is all about getting into a mindset that will get you to work. Develop small habits that signal to yourself that it is time for work. For example, spend 10 minutes making coffee, go to your desk, spend 5 minutes reviewing notes, stretch fingers and start typing. Man is a creature of habit. Do this several times and you will always be ready to work once you are in that chair.
Shut off the distractions
Learn to shut out distractions once you sit in your chair. Make it part of your habits to switch off the phone, turn off radio and TV, and log off social media.
Every writer has a unique routine. You can only craft what works well for you and once you find the rhythm, perfect it. Already have one? Share it below!