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Eating an Elephant – Bite #19

If you are newer to the writing process, it may feel overwhelming. After all, when and how does one write? What does one do with all of the little stories in order to make them into a real book?

We are here to help! Follow along in this series of bites in the coming weeks to learn more.

Bite #19 – A Writing Schedule

I can already hear you say, “Not another schedule!” I know, I know. Most of our lives are
scheduled down to the minute these days. If you’re one of the lucky few like my student
and friend Elaine who loves to write so much she does it every free minute of every
day—in doctors’ waiting rooms, at red lights, while she eats, in her sleep—then skip this section. If you’re like me, and most other authors I know, writing has to be deliberate; it doesn’t happen without a little encouragement from the outside.

No perfect writing schedule exists; you just have to find one which works for you. Maybe you can commit to writing two hours per week. That’s great, but make sure you carve out time for yourself because life always tries to encroach on your writing time.

I once had a professor who wrote from 10:00 p.m. when his children went to bed until 1:00 a.m. every day. After a few hours of sleep, he got up and worked a full day at his regular job. I couldn’t do it, but it worked for him. He wrote and published several award-winning books following this plan.

Instead of a certain number of hours, you may want to commit to writing x number
of pages or words each week and not worry about when it gets done. Say you’re going
to write four double-spaced pages or 1,000 words each week. You don’t commit to a
specific time, but even if it means you have to skip your favorite television show (record
it) or your Friday night bowling plan, you do it to fulfill the commitment you made to
yourself. We don’t usually have to miss too many events we really want to attend before
we fit our writing time in and around other plans.

So, what kind of commitment can you make for the next week? Write it down. Read
it every day. And, get busy writing.

Commit and don’t quit.

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