Writing Schedules: Worth it?

Instead of sitting down and drafting WIPs or finishing short stories, we are too often distracted and too busy to spend quality time with our writing. Even something as simple as scrolling on Instagram can steal away our intended writing sessions, leaving us wondering: what happened to my motivation? Dedication?

This might be where you consider creating a writing schedule. But are they worth it? What is so important about having a writing schedule and what happens if you don’t have a lot of time on your hands to even create one? Below, you’ll find an in depth discussion of these answers with featured guest, Maria. I am so honored and blessed to have her on the blog!

“For a writer, a writing schedule can either improve or worsen the creative process. That is, some people might regard a writing schedule as something rigid and strict – but it doesn’t have to be that way,” Maria told me. “Having a routine always helps the creative process, because you set your mind to *write it* then and there, not later. This encourages you to sit at your desk (or wherever you write best) and force yourself to give your best, because if you linger, writing hardly comes to you. It’s a reciprocal relationship.”

In my own opinion, Maria is absolutely right. Writing routines do not have to be strict: they can be as loose as writing three times a week, for fifteen minute sessions. This isn’t overwhelming to accomplish and it’s the perfect segue into longer sessions if you choose to lengthen the amount of writing time, but it only happens if you make the conscious decision to stick to the schedule.

You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” — Jack London

As for Maria, she said she doesn’t “have a specific writing schedule, but I try to write in the evenings – even when I’m sleepy or stressed, because I teach my mind to focus on what it needs to do – creation. Sometimes it takes a while for me to adapt and write, but in the end, I always feel pleased that I managed to write.”

Even if your day has gone terribly, there is something soothing about putting your pen to paper or fingers to laptop and simply falling away into your imagination. Not to mention that you can use this session for your own therapy, venting about your feelings in a safe and secure way.

Maria also added the advice that, “If you don’t have a lot of time on your hands, my recommendation for you is to still hold a routine, but for a small amount of time. That is, everyday, pick at least ten minutes to write – whatever you want, but just write. It will give you a sense of consistency and finality, no matter how many words or sentences you wrote… Writing shouldn’t be a forced activity, neither one that is rigid and adapted by a schedule. But without consistency and routine, unexperienced writers might stop practicing for some time and that can lead to procrastinating, thus, not finishing their work.”

So even if you’re feeling frazzled from an emotionally draining week, you can always rely on a good writing session to clear those thoughts from your head. It’s like working out: you might not be so thrilled to start, but after finishing, there is nothing that can compare to that feeling of self-satisfaction.

On one more note: the pandemic has a lot of writers feeling isolated, alone, and overwhelmed with an urgency to write more at a faster pace. If this is you: PLEASE don’t be so hard on yourself. This is a difficult time for everyone, and taking a break from writing is not a bad thing. You are so talented and passionate about what you love, don’t let the pressure to measure up with others degrade your abilities. Here is an amazing quote to accompany this idea, too, a fitting ending to this article:

“Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.” ― Anne Lamott

You are perfect as you are– writing schedule or not– because you are going to change lives someday with the things you write. Never forget that.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

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