For years I’ve been struggling to get a grip on my writing habits and now…it has finally happened! I’m on a schedule, can you believe that? I can’t! After hundreds and hundreds post-it notes, scrappy scrawls, pieces of papers getting lost, I think I got it now. My writing flows easily from my head onto the paper (read laptop screen 🙂 ), and most of the time I actually know where my notes are. Have I ditched the post-it notes? Nope, but at least now I take the time to get rid of the notes I don’t need anymore, and concentrate on keeping close the ones that are important.
How did this happen? With mistake after mistake. Yes, I’m sad to admit that I seem to learn only when falling hard on my butt…but then again no matter how hard the climb is, I can promise you, I’ll never forget the fall.
So, here are some of the things that helped me. I hope they’ll help you, too!
Full time writing is a job! And just like any job, you won’t get anything done without a timetable. Oh, I can hear you sighing…screaming ‘but, but, but’…and yes, writing does not go on a schedule. At least if you’re writing a book. BUT that’s not the trick. If writing your manuscript makes you wanna puke and you find yourself staring onto the empty screen with no idea what to write, write anyway. Write badly. Write a blogpost, review a book you’ve read ages ago, write a list of the characters you like, comment on posts on every writing group you’re in…just write something.
2. Get in the mood
If you’re not in the right mood, things go down as quickly as you can say boo… As a paranormal YA writer I use whatever I can think of to get me in to the mood…I watch TV series (hungrily!), teen movies, read YA books, listen to a music that might help…for me it’s mostly hard rock, punkish rock, metal, alternative metal…dark and moody…yep, that’s my trigger.
3. Take a break
You can’t write if your mind is busy and your stomach is screaming for food…go out, do something completely different than writing, exercise, bake…anything but writing.
I’ve had the most wonderful time with my characters…blushing… Dare to dream, take a nap (without feeling guilty of laying on the bed in the middle of the day), imagine your story scene by scene…plot, continue the story you last wrote down…
5. Stick to the plan
There is no point of creating a schedule and not following it. If you want to succeed you have to be systematic and show to the world you can deliver.
6. Live a little
Remember we’re only here once (except if you’re immortal 😉 ). Have fun. You are allowed to take a day off as long as you are able to get back to your schedule. Day off does not mean a week off. The longer you delay getting back to work, the harder it is.
9 a.m. Watch an episode of a TV-show that inspires you the most (for me it’s currently Constantine, Supernatural, The 100, Originals, The Vampire Diaries…)
10 a.m. Start working with your WIP (work in progress). Write at least one chapter. Don’t think about the editing, just write.
At noon Take a break. Go out with the dogs, have a cup of coffee, call a friend…
2 p.m. Watch another episode of your favorite TV series (yes, the inspiring ones), eat lunch while watching.
3 p.m. Continue writing your story. Again write at least one chapter before stopping.
5 p.m. Family time. Forget writing for a while and do normal stuff (what’s that?) like making dinner, chatting with your kids, pay attention to your partner…
7 p.m. Exercise. For me taking care of my body means taking care of my mind.
8 p.m. Family before work. At least until the kids are in bed 🙂
10 p.m. Take care of your social media. There are a lot of things you can schedule, so basically you can prepare all your next week’s blog posts, tweets, Google+ stuff… So write a blog post, tweet, be active with your writing groups.
1 a.m. Go to bed and at least try to sleep.
4 a.m. Get up. Sleep is overrated anyway…read or listen to an inspiring music…or just ‘daydream’.
7 a.m. Give up and start the day. Time to make some breakfast and get on a schedule again.
I try to forget my WIPs. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes not, but the point is to try. Blog, read, do things with your family, meet friends, go to the movies. Anything that helps you to forget your work for at least an hour.
I know my schedule might seem a bit tight, but hey, whatever works! However, remember that this is my schedule. What works for me might be a nightmare for you!