Saturday, August 16, 2008

WORD: Planning Your Writing Time During the Year

by Gabrielle Linnell

Summer is almost over. Your days of almost unlimited writing time are ending, and so will your budding career if you don't take steps to plan writing time.

Step One: Identify projects. Are you working on a novel? Do you want to continue writing short fiction or articles or essays? If you're doing both, know that doing both is completely possible, but you may need to have separate writing times.

Step Two: Identify a good amount of time. Can you handle an hour of freelancing a day? A 1000-word/day goal for your book? Don't feel bad if you can't. Try somewhere between 15 and 60 minutes, unless you're home-schooled and can beg your mom to make writing a school subject. Then write more.

Step Three: Think in time zones. Can you write before school? I've tried, but it doesn't work for me. I know I also have a problem writing directly after school because I need time to unwind. My best options are about 30-60 minutes after school, and later at night. But I also need sleep.

Step Four: Find your slot. I need 30-45 minutes a day for freelancing, and 30 minutes for my novel per school day. I work best a little bit after school ends, or later at night. My plan is to go to the library about 20 or 30 minutes after school and work until dinner. I'll do homework then, too.

Step Five: Figure in other stuff. I sometimes have music lessons after school, which would interfere with my writing time. On those days, I'll work from 9 to 10pm, and catch up on extras the following day. I'll also write for two hours on Saturday, and take a break from freelancing on Sunday.

I definitely recommend Time to Write by Kelly L. Stone for more in-depth scheduling strategies.

So, in five steps, I've taken the time to think through my schedule and work out when I write. This has been a fantastic writing summer for me, and I want to continue the trend throughout the year. What are you going to do?

Gabrielle Linnell has written for Cobblestone, FACES, Library Sparks, ByLine, New Moon, Funds for Writers and other magazines and websites. She loves school.

1 comment:

Michele Tuton said...

Nice article Gabrielle. It frightens me to think where I'm going to find writing time now that school is getting back into gear. I think for me, early mornings and carrying my laptop around to plug away while waiting for the boys at lessons is my only hope. I love Sat. mornings too. Best wishes for good writing as you begin your school year!