I always do my best and most productive writing at times when I have a set routine, which is one of the reason I do so poorly with my writing when I’m going through big transitions. Now that my life has evened out sufficiently after the wedding, move, and new/shifting jobs, I’ve formalized my schedule even more — it helps me not to feel like there’s no way I’ll ever get it “all done,” and so far, it’s increased my writing productivity. It looks like this:
Mondays – I blog here. (This has been a staple of my “schedule” for a while, since I noticed that if I didn’t have a set time to do it, I wasn’t very good about posting regularly to my blog.)
Tuesdays – Every other Tuesday, I write for Young Adult Catholics. I used to cross post links to everything I wrote there, but I haven’t been as good about that lately. My most recent posts have been about praying at work and Natural Family Planning (The NFP post is currently the “top post” for the blog).
Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday – I work on my fiction. For now, that’s my Rumplestiltskin retelling.
Friday – I buckle down and work on studying my craft, preferably for two to four hours. This includes reading my back issues of Writers Digest and The Writer, reading books helpful to my writing, and working through the training modules on Scribendi (available to editors only). Currently, I’m reading Self-Promotion for Introverts by Nancy Ancowitz, in hopes that it will help me feel more comfortable with book promotion.
Thursdays I usually don’t write at all because I spend four hours traveling and eight hours working.
So far, I’m finding that the schedule makes me more productive. I think it’s partly because I thrive under routine, but also that it lends a sense of urgency to my writing, especially when it comes to my fiction. I’m worst about procrastinating when it comes to fiction writing because there’s no immediate audience and because it demands the most creative energy from me. But I want to finish my Rumplestiltskin revisions, and knowing now that I only have three days a week to do that (four when I’m on an “off” week for the YAC blog) is a great motivator. It reminds me of how people often, paradoxically, get the most done when they’re most busy. The most busy I’ve probably ever been was the summer before I went to college, when I was working three jobs to save up money for a trip to Disney World. A lot of things suffered during that time (probably most of all my mental health), but my writing didn’t — because I knew that one hour in the morning before I left for work was the ONLY time I’d get for writing all day — and I took it.
And I like that this gives all my different writing “muscles” regular exercise. Since it’s a Monday, I’m blogging here — but since it’s also a holiday, I plan to do a little bit of fiction writing and development, too. My husband is devoting the day to working on his website, so I have a long, uninterrupted alone stretch spreading out ahead of me. I wish I could spend the whole day writing, but I should probably pay some bills and get caught up on email, too. Still, writing first!