Ideal Writer Schedule

My writing schedule

Summer is fading quickly and the routines of school and work are more normal. With that in mind, I began to reflect on what my ideal writing day would look like. As a freelance writer I’m not certain there is a “normal” day, but having a schedule to strive for is important. Scheduling makes me more efficient and holds me accountable. In the month of August I found myself wandering off course. We had a family vacation and my son attended two hockey camps, and before I knew it all of my writing routines went out the window. As you can see in the picture, I penciled out my ideal schedule. It isn’t logical to expect this schedule to be followed to the letter everyday, but I believe setting this as a goal is key to becoming the writer I want to be.

Putting Myself First

The focus for this schedule is all about me. In order for me to perform at my best I need to take care of myself. My exercise routine is sporadic at best. I try to fit it in where I can and that doesn’t work. I believe putting exercise first thing in the day will make me more productive, and center my mind to focus on writing. I pride myself on being a family man and I receive immense joy spending time with my son. Often I will do activities with him during the day and then do my writing at night. The problem with that model is my brain quits working, and my writing suffers. With my son back in school the guilt won’t be so heavy and he will have homework to complete too, so we’ll both be working.

I’m a Writer

I need to think in terms that are conducive for a writer, because I am one. If I’ve learned one thing from my mentors, is that in order to be successful I need the mindset of a business owner. Writing is not my hobby; it’s my job. I have also decided on what “type” of writer I want to be. I will author books and I will write articles. Notice how I put my creative writing in the beginning of the day when my mind is fresh. The schedule was built with writing outcomes in mind. It has been a little over a year since I stated that I will be a writer. Well, the will be is gone and action has commenced. I’m selling articles and I’ve started my first novel. By golly, I am a writer.

Putting the Cart Before the Horse

One problem, there is no way at this time I can adhere to this schedule. My writing income isn’t enough to meet household budget demands, so I’m back in the classroom teaching to make ends meet. However, in the near future I expect to make this a reality and hopefully use it as a base to meet my financial goals. And even though I’m not there yet, I believe laying out this schedule will motivate me to do even more. So I will write in between lesson plans and grading essays. It’s not a perfect scenario, but the ball is rolling in the right direction. Creating this schedule is just one more piece of the puzzle of freelance writer.

 

Do you keep a schedule? What does your ideal workday look like? What aspects of my schedule would you keep and what would you change? Please leave a comment.

19 thoughts on “Ideal Writer Schedule

  1. You are so right, Wade, to put you first. Once you get that down you’ll find that your schedule can be flexible.

    As you know, I walk 5-6 miles every day (unless the weather is horrendous). I used to struggle with the heat in the summer because my routine was to walk at the end of my work day. I was positive I couldn’t walk in the morning because that was my best writing time. But, then the walking was too important to me so I adjusted my schedule and found I was actually more productive after that.

    I still look forward to the fall and walking later in the day, but I know what I don’t compromise on (my walking) and adjust my schedule. It all works out. Have a great school year and I hope you can see your writing become full time soon, Wade. We like hanging out with you. :-)
    Cathy Miller recently posted..Should Digital Publishers Ignore the Paper Crowd?My Profile

    • I like hanging out with you too. :-) I learned this summer that I can get derailed easy, so when I go full-time I will be diligent at keeping the schedule. Thanks for stopping by, Cathy.

  2. That looks like a good schedule, Wade. Even the most experienced writers (pointing the finger squarely at myself) can sometimes get off track with scheduling writing time appropriately. I’m most creative in the morning, but I have the same issue as you during school holidays. I’m now getting back into a more normal work schedule.

  3. I have scribbled out many schedules over the past few months. My problem is the inability to make any of them work! I have the schedules of five other people to work around (the 2 1/2 year old’s is probably the easiest to be flexible about LOL).

    I like the idea of putting your creative writing first. I have about a two-hour block of time between dropping the kids off at the bus and having to pick the 4yr old from Pre-K (it’s an hour drive roundtrip, so that eats up a big chunk of my morning). Then I have about 3hrs between lunch and picking the oldest ones up from the bus stop. There is absolutely no time to squeeze in once they come home from school, between sports, scouts, lessons, and dinner. Once they’re in bed, I’m exhausted. And it’s the only hour of the weekday that my husband and I have alone. He needs to be in bed by 10pm (he gets up at 4am for his 90min commute to work). I need to figure out where I can steal time to do both my creative writing (I have a novel to revise and a memoir to work on), and the writing I want to get paid for. But it’s hard as a parent and a spouse to put yourself first sometimes, as I’m sure you know!

    Sorry for the longwinded comment. I really enjoyed your post and you’ve inspired me to look at what my ideal schedule is vs. my realistic schedule, and see where I can make at least some of the ideal work.
    Lynn recently posted..Free Speech: I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It MeansMy Profile

    • Wow Lynn, you’re accounted for all the time. Raising family and freelancing is a difficult balance. I really appreciate you sharing your situation, because I believe all of us can relate to the time pressures we face. I hope to see you here more often. :-)

  4. Hey Wade,

    Just came by from seeing your tweet. Your schedule sounds awesome. I would love to be able to do that exact schedule everyday, but from experience, any schedule I make lasts a couple of days, and then something derails it. I find that when I tie myself to a schedule, it actually makes me feel bad when I don’t follow it due to various situations that come up. For example, a client may want a consult on the phone, which takes a half hour, and then there goes my schedule.
    Your schedule sounds like it works for you, and that’s all that matters. ;-) Great post – I’ll be looking out for more from you.

  5. Great post, Wade! Love the early morning writing and afternoon marketing – good plan! I’d love to be able to stick to what you wrote, too, but families and other responsibilities always pull at me in the afternoon. And I can totally relate to brain stoppage in the evening. I’m good until the kids go to bed, then that triggers my brain to sleep, too! LOL All the best, Wade!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Tania. I always have this idea that I will write into the night, but it doesn’t happen. Getting pulled in different directions is part of the freelance lifestyle. Having that base schedule will give me something to go back to when things get too chaotic.

      • That was the whole reason I started Fit Freelancer…I have three babes (my middle one just started school last week) and I felt good about being able to “juggling” it all and I knew how hard it was to get to that point.

        Using 1.5. blocks of time, I hit all the major “pulls” (housework, running a business, and our families) for us and – while nothing is ever perfect – I hit them as well as I can each day:)
        Tania Dakka recently posted..With Damn Fine Words, I’d Be UnstoppableMy Profile

  6. I’d give anything to have a schedule like that. It looks balanced and totally productive. Unfortunately, at this time in my life I’m totally flying by the seat of my pants. :) You’ve given me a goal to work toward though. Maybe something to make a habit in 2013?

    • Emily this is a goal schedule for me as well. At this time, I’m still teaching. This is the schedule I want to have when I’m writing full-time. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Good post, Wade… I’m totally inspired and I’m going to sit down today and make a more detailed schedule for myself. I’ll do it from 2 to 3 between my 1:30 meditation session and 3pm meeting… just kidding (it’s Sunday, the one day w/o schedule!).

    Like everybody else, I love the creative writing time in the morning. Why do I jump up and start writing for clients first thing, and then try to squeeze some creativity out at 9pm after the kids are in bed? I shake my head at my own wacky logic.

    • I hear you, Greg. We all know we should put ourselves first, but often don’t. As I stated below, this is a schedule I’m working towards. When I make my leap to full-time writer this schedule is my ideal. I’m glad you liked the post and I hope to see you here again. Thanks!

  8. Wade, Cathy’s right. We love hanging out with you, too. :)

    I have a schedule. My computer came loaded with virtual sticky notes, so every evening before getting up from this chair, I load a sticky note with things I have to do. Today it looks like this:

    Friday:

    - Deb C. story for HES
    - Work on rental car article
    - One interview at 2 pm – AL on fraud detection/prevention
    - Work with Todd on revisions??
    - Convene with Anne on forum planning

    Not sure about that last one, but leaving it up to possibility until he responds. :)
    Lori recently posted..What’s That Smell?My Profile

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