The Month of the Writer

What makes a good writing schedule?

November is National Novel Writing Month. This is a bit of a misnomer, as although the event started in the USA, it is now a global event. You may have heard it called NaNoWriMo.

For those who aren’t familiar, the idea of NaNoWriMo is for authors to attempt to complete a 50,000 word draft of a novel within one month. Which might sound like a tall order – because it is.

Image of a timer.
Photo by Chitokan C. on Pexels.com

Prepare for success

There is a certain amount of preparation that can be done before writing begins. This includes choosing a story idea, and making key decisions about genre, age range, theme, structure, setting, point of view, and tense. Even character biographies can be prepared in advance. But all the writing takes place within the month of November. So a well-planned writing schedule is essential.

There are plenty of online resources to help writers plan their time. Although I’m not doing NaNoWriMo, I was interested in a quiz from the author resource company, Reedsy. The quiz takes factors including whether you write better in shorter sprints or longer sessions, and earlier or later in the day, and then churns out a writing schedule. Which is basically a regurgitation of what you just told them. But who doesn’t love a quiz? And it did get me thinking about what a good writing schedule actually looks like.

What does good look like?

For me, a good writing schedule needs to be sustainable, flexible, and uninterrupted – as much as that’s possible.

There’s no point saying I will write in every available minute. I’ll reach the point of burnout way before the book is finished. Other activities, including rest and exercise, need to be scheduled too. 

My writing time can’t be set in stone. Aiming to start writing at the same time every day is a good idea. Having a regular start time will create a writing habit. But some days it won’t be possible to write at that time. Which is fine because it is possible to reschedule. Or split one session into shorter sprints to fit around things that can’t be moved.

I also need to be assertive to make sure I get all of my writing time. And that means my schedule must be shared with my family.

What would your ideal schedule look like?

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You might also like: The Keeper of Lost Drafts.

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