How to schedule your writiing time, and get your novel finished
Maybe writing a novel seems like a mammoth task, a distant dream.
Read on for tips in writing productivity, how to get organised with your writing, and how to finish a novel.
A massive spoiler: you can do it.
How To Schedule Your Writing Time (By The Hour)
How can you be sure to finish a book you start?
Lots of writers prefer spontaneity to planning out writing times. If vagueness hasn’t been helping, though, setting goals could help make a novel seem less imposing.
Goals may adapt as you go on, too (perhaps by the day, if you’ve written something one day that negates what you were planning to do the next day, and so on). This shouldn’t be an inflexible process.
Just decide on your writing days per week, how much time you know you’ll roughly have to dedicate to writing on each day.
Some days, you may have an hour or two. On others, you know you may just have twenty minutes.
Twenty minutes can still count.
If you want your novel written, you’ll need determination – and Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope even paid someone to get him up and bring coffee, so he could write in the few hours before he went to work. Even if your designated writing times aren’t every day, they should still be fixed (as much as you can make them).
Show up for your writing, keep it habitual.
If you’ve been struggling to make time for writing on a more fluid basis, see if actively planning your writing like this makes a difference.
How To Set Your Writing Goals (And Achieve Them)
Let’s explore this idea of hours more, how you’ll make the time productive, once you’ve scheduled it into your day.
Perhaps you’ll allot in your diary (or mobile calendar) an hour of each weekday to writing your novel. List its ideal outcome. Does Chapter 1 need starting? If you’re further on than that, does a scene need revising? Does a ‘filler’ or ‘bridge’ section need getting down on paper, before you go back and figure out how to make it better later?
Maybe there’s a weeknight you know you’ll have limited time, so take out just twenty minutes for research, editing or mind-mapping ideas for a scene. Maybe there’s a weekend you know you’ll have lots more time, so set yourself a bigger task.
Try giving one ideal outcome to each time you write, to help turn your novel into a manageable project (so if you do more than that, wonderful).
Few people can find long stints of time to write as they’d like. The only agreed solution (between the ‘planners’ and the ‘pantsters’) is to carve writing hours into a schedule, then stick to them, making them useful.
You can always break up your writing time with something called the Pomodoro technique, too – 25 minutes of work, then 5 minutes to break – rewarding yourself as you go.
Bring your close family and friends along, too. Your desire to write is a part of you, so having support and understanding from others will help.