This is a great group formed of people who are willing to share their insecurities and/or offer hope for people out there struggling with their own. If you'd like to join up click here.
I had a few ideas about what I should write for this month. Ultimately, something that I have been working toward getting just right, for quite some time, seemed like the best thing to talk about.
The most important thing a writer can learn in the their journey is how to manage their time. A lot goes on in our lives and as many of us tend to be procrastinators anyway, putting off writing seems to be the first thing we do.
What is the answer? For me the answer has always been...dun dun duuuuuuh...a scheduled routine. I know, I shudder even as I write it. Still, if we want to be the writer that gets their books done, that grows in their craft and finally gets our books(or whatever you are working on) out to people that will love it, we need to write.
So, what makes for a good schedule? It is a hard thing to get down. Life tends to be a fluid thing and changes a lot.
The other thing we have to keep in mind is, writers tend to be two people at once. The person that wants more than anything to sit their butts in that chair and write out their thoughts. At the same time, the person that would rather do anything but sit in that chair and write.
So, the first step in a good schedule is—fluidity. If the schedule is too tight then when things get crazy the whole system falls apart. You have to have goals set out for the day, but make sure they can fit around other things that may come up.
Second, be forgiving not failing. If you miss something in your set schedule don't beat yourself up and feel you failed. That eventually leads people to say that the "schedule thing" doesn't work. Instead forgive yourself and move to the next thing.
Third, give projects and be specific. It is perfectly fine to spend your writing time researching. In fact it is a great use of time, but be sure you are researching a particular thing. All too often a general research for writing can easily go like this. "Hmm, let's do some research. Okay the history of the Slavic people is interesting. Oh they had cats. Youtube has cat videos. I should post this awesome cat vid on Facebook. They said what on Facebook? I got to tweet that. Oh man Twitter you got some awesome pics I need to post this on Tumbler...."
Last in the list is—time. No schedule is perfect the first few days(weeks, months). The thing that makes a schedule work is time. The more you do something the easier it becomes to do it. Soon your schedule is your life not something you are making yourself do.
Something else cool going on today is Our fearless ninja leader's book CassaFire is 99c today. You can get your copy here.
Anyway, I hope some of this helps. As always, have fun and keep writing.
From Slavic people to YouTube videos of cats. I can see that happening to some people.ReplyDelete
I schedule time every night to write as soon as I finish practicing my guitar. So far, so good.
I do the same thing while editing. I have to close almost all other tabs except my Merriam-Webster's, because otherwise I'll start to look up the hyphenation of a word and end up checking email, chatting on Facebook, or watching a cool Vsauce video on YouTube my kids want to show me. Sigh... I do my best work with a timer.ReplyDelete
Schedules can really be great to have. I need to work on that more. I have things in mind I want to do, but sometimes that to-do list gets thrown aside by spending too much time on Facebook and other social media.ReplyDelete
From Slavic people to cat videos - that progression made me laugh . . .. and hit waay too close to home. :) The internet can be a dangerous place to research. Schedules with fluidity are definitely the way to work. Great post!ReplyDelete
The hardest thing about putting together some kind of writing routine for me is forgiving myself when something comes up and I miss my goal. I'm glad you recognize that part.ReplyDelete
The bright side has to be the times when I squeeze in an extra hour here and there. Gotta give credit when it's due!
What I'd give for a scheduled routine. Writing when I can is my deal at the moment, but when I can, I make the best of it. Here's hoping you find a schedule that fits your groove! :)ReplyDelete
"The other thing we have to keep in mind is, writers tend to be two people at once. The person that wants more than anything to sit their butts in that chair and write out their thoughts. At the same time, the person that would rather do anything but sit in that chair and write." Nothing captures how I feel most days like these sentences, Brandon. What seems to work for me is to eat breakfast and write first thing, but then exercise is a priority - cause if I don't do that first thing, I don't do it. Oy!ReplyDelete
From Slavic people research to YouTube cat videos, to Facebook, to Twitter, to Tumbler- hahahaha. Love it!ReplyDelete
I worked well when I had my schedule and the kiddos were easier to manage. Now with their 24/7 attention needing, my schedule is all over the place. I guess when they start school, a scheduled routine will be back in my future…what do I do for the next couple of years? Nah, I'm trying. I'm TRYING!…now excuse me while I go bake them a cake I scheduled for today, sigh.
Really great tips :D
Hahaha. The research part of that piece cracked me up. It is soooo easy to become distracted. Too much social media... not necessarily a good thing.ReplyDelete
I need to get better with the Schedule Thing. This is inspiring.
Ha ha! I had to smile at how your research into Slavic people could eventually lead you to sharing pictures on Tumblr ;-) I've been trying to get into a specific routine with work and writing, and ... I've had some good days and some very bad days! I'm hoping I'll eventually get to only having good days :-)ReplyDelete
LOL, you shuddering about setting up a routine and schedule. Good point that schedules have to be flexible enough to allow for the unexpected. Love your cute li'l dragon thing in your drawing!ReplyDelete
You should draw Amanda with a baby bump.ReplyDelete
Yes, keeping on schedule is difficult, Great Advice. Especially sitting at the laptop writing and social media is a click away. I tend to procrastinate. Then I lie in bed at night thinking about everything I forgot to do. I need to stop beating myself up and then maybe I can sleep.ReplyDelete
Time is my biggest issue, and causes me the most anxiety with my writing. I have a hard time organizing all of my different responsibilities and I"m not a very organized person when it comes to routine.ReplyDelete
Schedules are a good thing to have, but I'm very bad at sticking to one. It's just so easy to lose track of time, or have some part of my day that was only supposed to take one hour end up taking three.ReplyDelete
I really feel you on the research. It's hard for me to do research because I'm easily distracted. I think the internet has made it so much worse because every where you go there's another link with more interesting stuff. Next thing I know, I'm half-way across the internet, watching soap making videos on Youtube with no idea of how I got there.
I'm not a schedule-person, but if it works for you it can definitely be a good thing. My agenda varies monumentally on a daily basis.ReplyDelete
I frequently get lost in research links. I'm a devout procrastinator :)ReplyDelete
Great post, and very good advice. Thanks for the visit Brandon.ReplyDelete
Ha! You hit that proverbial nail with: A writer wants nothing more than to sit in that chair, but when there wants to be anywhere else... Oh that dreadful blank Word screen; I'm addicted to it.ReplyDelete
Great words of advice Brandon, and they are very timely for me. I've been missing a few of my daily goals lately but I'm trying not to stress about it.ReplyDelete
In January I tried doing 500 words every day and I made a note of when I did them. At the end of the month I noticed specific days where I didn't get round to any words, and other days that were more productive. It's been a useful tool to start planning a workable schedule.
Great advice and yeah, the whole researching thing...I did that yesterday via Pinterest. Total time suck!ReplyDelete
Schedules can be really great things to have. I should get on that.ReplyDelete
So true, Brandon. And being a published writer requires even more time cuz we have to allot for marketing. I'm still trying to find my rhythm with it all. I have found that making lists and crossing off items as I do them helps keep me on top... barely. :)ReplyDelete
I don't really have a schedule, but I stick to my to-do list. I want to cross as many things off that list per week.ReplyDelete
I love your advice in this post Brandon. And can certainly relate to the whole starting to research one thing and then winding up getting lost somewhere between Slavic people and cat videos. That's pretty much how my crazy ADD brain works. And oddly I'm always captivated by cat videos...ReplyDelete
As much as I hate routine, I know I work best if I develop a system... or schedule... or routine. It's just so hard to do with all the distractions in the world!ReplyDelete