Cherrilynn Bisbano wants to know how to schedule time to write.
That’s difficult to answer because we vary so much in our personalities. When I began to write for publication I was a pastor of a growing congregation. The only way I could schedule writing was to get to my office before my secretary and on Saturday afternoons.
I’m self-disciplined, and within a few weeks I had established my pattern and was able to stay with it. I’m probably the exception.
I read an article that said 46 percent of those who join a health spa in December or early January stop going by February 10. That would fit writers as well. They get inspired and committed—for a time—and then drop out.
If you’re serious about scheduling writing time, here are my suggestions.
1. Enlist an accountability partner—someone to whom you’ll have to tell how faithful you were (or weren’t) every week. Make it a person you wouldn’t want to disappoint.
2. Analyze your daily and weekly schedules. Don’t try to set aside five hours a day, but start with what’s manageable for you. When I started, my goal was to write 30 minutes, five days a week. Ask yourself how long and often you feel you need to write.
3. Prepare for that writing time. That is, ponder what you’ll write about so you don’t expend energy and time staring at your computer. I was a pastor and regularly visited six metropolitan hospitals each day. While driving there I thought about what I wanted to write. I edited inside my head while shaving and showering. I walked from my office to the Post Office each morning to pick up the mail (a three-minute walk each way). Not a long time, but enough that I thought about my writing. Get the idea?
Each morning when I arrived at my office, I was primed to let the words flow.
4. Promise yourself that you won’t answer the phone or be distracted by emails or texts. Let your friends know the time you’ve set aside for writing and ask them not to call you. (You can leave your cell phone in another room so you don’t hear it.)
See my next post on this topic.