It’s time for the third and final part of this series on How-To Create A Writing Schedule That Works For you! If you missed parts one and two, be sure to check them out to get the most out of this post.
In this post, we’ll be talking about how to actually stick to your schedule and how to create a writing routine that makes each writing session more enjoyable and more like second nature.
How-To Stick to Your Writing Schedule.
When it comes to motivating yourself to actually follow your schedule, it might take a little trial and error before discovering what works for you. But here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Rewards. For every session you complete or every goal you reach, treat yo’self. It doesn’t have to be anything big or expensive – maybe it’s your favorite Starbucks drink, or a sticker, or an episode of whatever you’re watching on Netflix. It doesn’t matter what the reward is, as long as it motivates you to get writing.
- Tracking. This is a big motivator for me. By tracking my progress in my planner or on a calendar, I’m motivated by the excitement that comes from checking off the checkbox that yes, I did complete my writing today. For Camp NaNoWriMo in April, I used a free, printable calendar from Green & Lyme to track my daily progress, and getting to stamp that thumbs-up emoji stamp everyday was definitely part of my motivation throughout the month.
- Get it over with. Plan your writing session for early in the day, before work or any other planned activities. By forcing yourself to get it over with, you’ll be able to enjoy the rest of the day.
All of these techniques make writing sound like a chore, but I know my fellow writers out there will understand. Some days, your motivation is simply your love for writing or an inspiring idea that needs to get down on paper (or computer screen). But other days, writing does feel like a chore, and I hope these techniques will help you add a little fun back into it.
How-To Create a Writing Routine.
Creating a writing routine will also take a little trial and error as you determine what works for you personally. But again, here are a few ideas for you to start experimenting with:
- Play your writing soundtrack. Listening to the same music every time your write – or switching between a few select playlists/albums – will help you subconsciously get into the writing state of mind. Sometimes, I like to think of it like I’m a character in a movie, sitting down to write, the music being the soundtrack of the film. Check out this post by Jenny Bravo at Blots & Plots for a quick how-to on creating your novel soundtrack.
- Have your favorite drink(s) at hand. Whether it’s coffee, tea, soda, water, juice, wine, whatever, having something ready will prevent you from getting thirsty, getting up, and getting distracted.
- Find a format that works for you. Whenever I open Scrivener, it’s novel-writing time. Whenever I open a “new post” on WordPress, it’s blog writing time. The same goes for every journal, sketchbook, and notebook I use. The simple act of opening whatever program you use – if you use it consistently – will help you get into your writing mindset.
- Turn off distractions. Put your phone on silent or let it charge in another room. Close your door. Turn off notifications. Put on your headphones. Whatever it takes to get you alone with your writing, do that.
- Take a moment to reflect on and record your progress. Don’t forget about having routine actions at the end of your writing session too. Save your document, record your word count in your planner, and thoughtfully close your writing application/notebook. Just as part of your writing routine gets you into the mindset of writing, part of your routine should intentionally signal a shift out of the writing mindset. Maybe you even make notes about what you intend to work on during your next writing session, or you write a short journal entry about how went. Figure out what works for you.
I also love what Zie at Zie Darling says about envisioning your ideal writing situation in her post about creating a writing ritual. Take some time to imagine yourself writing – are you outside? inside? writing on a computer? in a notebook? on a typewriter? Whatever is going to motivate you to write and inspire you to become the writer you want to be, do that!
And that’s it! I hope this series has helped you create a writing schedule that truly does work for you. Just as you have your own unique personality and story to tell through your writing, your writing schedule to be personalized to best fit you and your writing.
If any questions or thoughts have popped up while reading this series that you’d like to share, feel free to leave them in the comments, let me know via social media, or send them to me in an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you!