17 August

Writer Schedule Not Working? Tweak It...


When a hobby writer attempts to transform into a career writer, a mindset and energy set will change. And you won't know what's working and what isn't until you dive in and give your writing schedule a try.

Currently, I am struggling myself, and that struggle proves to me that I need to tweak my writing parameters.

We writers have lives beyond the written word, but know that if we plan on succeeding in this career, time has to be scheduled to get those words down on the page, no matter what.

And those of us who also face health challenges have to schedule even more acutely, to ensure an energy-to-productivity balance that does not throw our bodies into a sick downtime.

If any of the above sounds like you, you need to accept a few facts:

  1. You MUST write at least 5 days per week, better yet, every day. No excuses. No debates. That's what it will take from you to go from amateur to professional. Nothing else will.
  2. You must juggle your daily word count needed to finish your book vs. chores, errands, domestic/day job (if you have one) responsibilities and protecting your health — to insure NO burnout, NO sickness, NO dropping the ball in your personal/day job life.

Yes, it's a huge ask. I know this. But there's no more time left to romanticize finishing that book of yours. If you're here, right now, reading me, in your gut YOU KNOW THIS already. So, if your writing schedule is not working, it's time for a tweak — of these parameters:

  1.  Time to write
  2.  Locale to write
  3. Word Count needed


If you OVERTHINK things:

You're the type that should write as soon as you wake from sleep. Just get out of bed. Forget getting pretty. Grab a coffee or tea and hit the laptop or notebook and start on the next scene without even thinking about it. 

The reason this works is that with overthinkers, they will literally think themselves into those negative worlds of Fear and Doubt. The only way to stop that defeatist intrusion is to DO before your brain has chance to stop you from the doing.

If you work a day job, then FLIP this action. Come home and hit the keyboard before doing anything else, IF your domestic life allows this. If not, wait until everyone in your household is in bed for the night or hasn't yet woken in the morning, to write on your draft.

The First Key: to write before your brain has a chance to decide if writing on your book is good for you. You need to outsmart that overthinking brain.

If you're bothered by people too much during your selected writing time: You need to change the time. If you can't carve out a solid chunk of time in which to enter that writer flow, your present slot won't work. Remember: mute your cell and X the browser, so day job and social media colleagues can't interrupt your flow.


Often, this can be a stumbling block, and a usurper of time getting you to that locale in order to write. Ask yourself: is my writing spot too time/energy consuming to get to? Is the spot distracting? Does it offer enough quiet time in order to write? (No family, friends, colleagues to interrupt you). If any of this applies negatively to your locale, that locale needs to be changed.

Word Count:

Are the words not piling up fast enough or in a great enough quantity per session? Then, it's time for a rethink on the a) length of your writing session and/or b) a better refining/fleshing out of your book outline. The more detailed the outline, the less you'll have to think things through as you write. Another reason why being a proud pantser with a lousy or lagging draft is why being a pantser is only for newbies. If you're attempting to take your writing to a serious level, drop the romanticization of a writer's life and start using your brain to craft a workable book outline. It doesn't have to hold all the answers. It just has to hold enough of them, so when you hit the keys, all you're doing is fleshing out that outline, saving your brain power for word choice over plot crafting.

Right now, I'm struggling with two things from the above list: a) time of day to write, and b) word count total per session.

That means:

a) I need to rethink my session time. I'm warming up to the idea of first thing is the a.m. to write before my brain gets caught up in anything else. And yes, I'm an Overthinker of the Zenith level. Yay, me... sigh...

b) I need to up my word count, and I think there are two issues here: 

  • Outline needs more work - I'm undertaking a brand-new genre series, so there are too many black holes yet in my scene card outline that are preventing me from achieving a hefty writer flow in my sessions.
  • I'm needing more sleep. I think my energy is too low in order to sustain a longer session that produces a heftier word count.

The Second Key:

a) knowing what is wrong, what's not working for you.

b) a willingness to accept the faults in your system and to alter those parameters in order to achieve a greater output.

Career writers aren't gods. We don't have it all together, all the time. As we swim through life, things happen, and we need to tweak our writing sessions to fit those changing times. The key truly is in ACCEPTANCE and a WILLINGNESS to ADAPT in order to achieve success. Nothing in life is stagnant. You need to be adaptive and flexible enough to change with the times.

If you are a writer who thinks they know it all and who has got their sh*t totally together but still has a book draft that has more cobwebs than words, then it's time to drop that Ego of yours and look into the mirror and accept changes are needed, even for perfect you.

HOMEWORK: Tonight, sit down and decide which of these three parameters — Time, Locale, Word Count — are not serving you best, and form a plan to alter those areas — a trial test — to see if those teaks turn your book draft production towards the better.

By now, you know I harp on writing as mostly a psychological mind game with yourself. You need to be a realist and courageous enough to accept changes are needed in your life to achieve your dreams. Wishing won't get you there. Doing will. Let's DO this.


P.S. For my part, an earlier bedtime and a first thing in the morning write session will be my brand-new teaks. In the weeks ahead, I'll let you know how those changes are affecting my output.

We're all in this together, peeps. We're just hanging on different rungs of the same literary ladder, by the tips of our bloody fingers.

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