Are you ready to write every day? Often, this is easier said than done. As responsibilities consume our lives, it can be difficult to make time to write. That said, writing cannot take up what’s “leftover” of your day. If you want to be a writer, you must write. Every day. Whether you feel like it or not. Treat writing as a paying job. Work regular hours, commit, and try to avoid “sick days.” Establishing and sustaining new habits can be difficult. However, with proper preparation, strategy, and dedication, you can write daily.
Creating a Daily Writing Plan
- Assemble the tools you need and have on hand: digital device, appointment calendar, daily “to do” list, master project list, pencils with erasers. An initial planning session may take several hours, but once you establish a routine of planning a week, you should complete the task with fifteen to twenty minutes a week.
- On a calendar, whatever format you prefer to use, but only on your main one, note all appointments for yourself, family members, (don’t forget pets), project deadlines, paydays, vacations, holidays, commitments, and activities. Include phone numbers or addresses associated with the activity if you will need that information, so you don’t have to take extra time to look them up.
- Make a “to-do” list, including all activities or intermediate steps. Develop a master project list, listing activities in intermediate steps that can be accomplished in fifteen minutes or simultaneously with another activity.
- Schedule your writing time daily! Never schedule writing in your “free time.” There’s no such thing.
- Schedule your life, all responsibilities, appointments, and work around your writing, rather than trying to poke writing into the gaps of your daily schedule.
Schedule writing at the same time every day. Write first thing in the morning. Not a morning person? Good. Your subconscious will have freer reign, and you’ll be more creative. Don’t have fifteen minutes extra in the morning? Go to bed earlier; get up earlier. Establish routines because it is harder to break a habit than to continue it.
Tips on Establishing Writing Time
- Write for fifteen minutes before you go to bed. This builds a bridge from one day to the next.
- Write at lunchtime, commuting time (if you aren’t driving), waiting time (such as in a doctor’s office). Always be prepared to write by carrying a small notebook and pen with you or a small recorder for dictation.
- Create a place to write. Keep what you need close at hand. Build a library at home with a dictionary, thesaurus, manual of style, encyclopedia, almanac, a book of quotations, Writer’s Market, a notebook for each project to corral research, the proposal, rejections, excerpts, correspondence, etc.
- Stay away from the telephone—let the answering machine pick up when you are writing. Avoid other time-wasters such as email, Facebook, and other social media sites on the internet.
- Use vacation time to write (especially if you hold down a day job).
- Learn to see time as your friend. You make time in your schedule for activities that have meaning and priority in your life. Make writing a daily priority, and you’ll have time for it.
Your daily plan reflects your goals, priorities, and values. When your personal and writing goals are not a daily priority, you can feel as if your life is out of control. A daily plan based on your goals restores power. Schedule regular time for writing. Scheduling makes things happen by removing chance from the picture. Planning provides a framework and gives directions to the events and activities of your life.