One of the biggest things that has troubled me as a writer is the creation of time to write. Where does writing fit in between college classes, a part-time job, chores and spending time with friends? If you’re like me and you have a hundred things going on at once, it’s hard to find time to write. But something that I’ve learned this last month as I got back into writing is that creating a schedule and making it a priority is how productivity occurs. Since I started to implement my daily schedule I’ve been able to write anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 words an hour easily on my novel alone. This means that I’ve increased my own productivity 100% since then.
Now there is no one size fits all program that will allow for the perfect routine. For me, I find that I’m most productive in the hours just after I wake and those right before I go to bed. Usually I spend my time waking up and playing Candy Crush or browsing the internet, finding idea after idea and I was doing nothing about it. Now, I am doing something.
In order to create an effective routine I did the following:
- Told everyone in my social circle that I would be writing from the hours of 8-12 and that I won’t answer their calls, texts or anything unless it’s an emergency.
- Created a writing space that I loved (More on that later)
- Found a good radio station that keeps me focused. (For me that’s Taylor Swift’s streaming from Amazon Music)
- Disconnect my computer from the internet. (Yes, I know I listen to music but that comes courtesy of my iPhone plugged into some awesome speakers.)
- Closed the door to my writing space so I don’t get distracted.
- Free write before I start on anything else.
Now, you may be thinking, what if I don’t have four hours to devote to writing a day? Just go with whatever fits your schedule. When summer classes start for me I’ll be down to just two hours a day of devoted writing time. But I find that making a routine makes it easier for me to sit down and write. I usually make coffee in the morning, pour myself a giant cup and free write as I drink my coffee and eat my bagel and cream cheese. After that I get down to business. Whatever I’m writing for that day I open and start working on. I also keep a notebook next to me to write down any ideas or questions that pop up. (Did I do the laundry? Is there an airport in this town?) This lets me write down the ideas that distract me, and then I can get back to writing.
Creating a Writing Space
When I moved into this new place with my boyfriend and our friend I made sure to set up my office first. When I write I need to have my reference materials, a pen and notebook for ideas, my computer and a steady supply of caffeine and munchables. I find that having a window in my office distracts me from the view of the street outside. So I put up curtains. I also have this cool corkboard my boyfriend was nice enough to mount in front of my desk. I keep my current stories on the left side, contest dates in the middle, and future ideas (The ones of many that I have chosen to be my next projects I mean.) on the right side. At this moment I have my MFA application requirements up on the board as well.
I also have my Darth Vader figures there and my bin of reference magazines and a novel for reference. (The desk next to mine is my boyfriends and it’s kind of a mess most of the time.)
In order to start each writing session that I do, I free write. After reading Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg, I tried free writing and have found that it helps me, both to clear my mind before I start to write and also to find solutions to problems that I can’t figure out in my story. One of my best ideas, the novel I’m currently writing actually, came from one of my pieces of free writing. Now some days I only need to write for five minutes, some I feel like I can’t start work until I’ve written for hours. Just find what works for you.
My Writing Routine
So, to recap, find a time that works with your creativity and find a place that you can write where you can focus. Tell those in your life who need you all the time you’ll be writing and that the time is for writing unless there is an emergency. At first they may not understand, but they will. Music can help to set the writing mood and focus. And don’t forget to stock up on caffeine and snacks, which most writers can’t live without.
Happy Writing- Jessica