There is one thing I learned last November as I wrote my heart out for NaNoWriMo and that is that my hands are not strong enough to write for two hours straight. As part of my preparations for NaNoWriMo, I sat down and drew up a schedule for writing. Part of that schedule included a solid two hours of writing time on Saturdays and Sundays. I quickly learned that was a mistake. My hands hurt from the typing.
While making my plans for November, I sat down at this computer and entered my work schedule for the month, Monday through Friday, eight to five. Then I entered in times to write. I scheduled an hour in the morning on those days and two in the evenings of those days. Then I looked at the weekends, picked three two-hour blocks of time, and scheduled them for writing time. That’s six hours on the weekends. I will start that on Saturday. Sunday will be a repeat of Saturday. I figured that write more, I did not confine myself to just three sessions on Saturdays and Sundays, or just two sessions on weekdays, but I chose what I thought I could handle along with everything else that I had to handle, like work, grocery shopping, eating, and sleeping. I know that they pretend that people lose sleep, maybe some do, but I know the best work schedule gives adequate breaks. Take a break and come back to it recharged and ready to get to work. So when you are scheduling time to write, don’t forget to schedule in some breaks.
Scheduling time is not hard. Really all you need to have is a pen and paper. You can use sticky notes or a legal sized pad. Just sit down, write a list of what you need to accomplish on the day in question. Prioritize the list, and then approximate the amount of time each item will take. Then all you have to do, is create an agenda, write in the high priority items first, in their time slots, then see how much time you have available before, between, and after them. There’s your writing time. Most smart phones today have calendar apps that you can use to manage your time.
I use Outlook, which synchronizes to my Nook, my phone, this computer and the online version of it that I use. My calendar is never that far away from me. I put in reminders to let me know when I have scheduled something. I may find that I need to adjust the time a little on one day, but that’s ok. My writing schedule is flexible. I don’t cast it in stone.
That’s the beauty of scheduling. I can do what I need to do. I have swags of unused time that I can use to better purpose simply by scheduling the tasks at hand. Pen and paper, or a computer program like Outlook, scheduling for yourself is not that hard. Make sure your writing schedule is flexible.
Flexibility is key when making schedules. That’s because you are dealing with the future and there is no way to know what the future will bring. So leaving yourself some wriggle room is always a good idea when making a schedule and keeping it.