I have been a dedicated writer for around five years. Before that I barely wrote at all and struggled to find the time or ideas for it. When starting university I was encouraged to spend much more time writing as not only did I need some of it for assessment but also because of the workshops my teacher lead. If I had been told years ago that I would find the time to write daily and study and look after my son, I would’ve laughed until I’d cried.
The first thing to establish is a time of day when it is possible for you to obtain a (sort of) quiet time to focus on your writing without distractions. Some people find the inspiration comes most easily first thing in the morning. I personally choose to do my writing at the end of the day after children have gone to bed so that I can totally focus on what I’m doing. It also means I’ve had the day to daydream about what I’m going to write before I do it. Choose a time that suits you and book it as WRITING TIME. If need be actually write it in the calendar so that other people in your family will appreciate that it is your working time – because writing is something that requires work and effort. It is not a hobby.
Regardless of when you choose to write, doing it daily will help you make regular progress, which I find helps to keep up the motivation and pride in my work – because I have regular pieces that I can print off to have read or to edit.
There are two ways to monitor this progress into an easy amount of time that doesn’t become too overwhelming. My main advice would be to not be too ambitious – if you decide some days you want to write over the time you’ve set then by all means. But make the original time set to be something that is easily doable so that you never have to admit defeat and miss it out for a day.
One way would be to write for a certain amount of time. Set your watch or phone, put your head down and write till the timer goes off. You can write within blocks of minutes which makes it easier to accomplish daily.
- In 15 mins you could write a few paragraphs
- In 30 mins you could write a few pages
- In 1 hour you could write 5 or 6
Write in blocks of word count:
- 100 words is a paragraph
- 500 words is a page
- 3,000-5,000 words is a chapter
- 50,000 words is a novel!
The best way to maintain this routine is to remember to mantra:
WRITE EVERY DAY UNTIL IT BECOMES A HABIT
UNTIL WE KNOW WHAT THE STAKES OF THE STORY ARE… WE DON’T CARE
WHEN YOU ARE NOT WRITING, READ READ READ.
AND THINK: WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN IN THIS SCENE? COULD IT BE CUT OUT?