On Writing – On Schedules

One of the methods that I’ve seen suggested by many writers is to create a schedule for their writing. That if you sit down and write 400 words a day then you’ll have 2,800 words by the end of the week and 145,600 words by the end of the year.

That is true, because it’s basic maths. And for some people having that daily dedication to sit down and throw out 400 words of varying quality is what makes them get to that first pinnacle of a first draft of their work, which they can then sit down and edit.

In some ways, I find that kind of method distorting for my writing process. I can see the benefit of sitting down and trying to write something, but sometimes you have days that you just cannot get the words to write. Or you want to play a game. Or watch a TV show. Or bake a cake.

Writing is something that I love to do because it is my passion, and slowly I am trying to cultivate it into a hobby, which if it all works out will result in me completing my book series and doing book tours to meet the many people who have taken the time to read it.

When I’ve tried the ‘x number of words a day’ method, I found myself starting to hate my writing. It had become one of my many chores I had to do at the weekend, rather than my fun hobby that would allow me to relax at the end of the day and leave me feeling satisfied with the words that I wrote that evening.

Sometimes I will write 50 words. Other days I will write 1,000. On a few occasions and the inclusion of 1am finishes, I’ve powered up to 5,000 words and beyond.

I flit between long projects and short teacup stories. Sometimes I don’t have the energy to write something new so I continue with a long project that I haven’t touched in months. Other times I can’t comprehend trying to plan a story out further and just want to write whatever my mind conjures up that evening.

In the end, I’ve ended up with a kind of pseudo-schedule that is about a flexible as a schedule can be without turning into an impromptu ‘write when I feel like it’ attitude. If I write some words – no matter how many, then that’s good. If I write more than I expected then that’s great! And if I write none, then I just say that I tried and leave it there for the evening.

I’m sure as I try to increase my writing output then this schedule will have to get more challenging. But for the moment it works just fine. And that’s fine by me.

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