Sunday, February 20, 2011

Writing Schedules

I did not have a schedule when I started writing. In the beginning I took the occasional boring evening to write, sometimes listening to music or watching television.  Then I started writing an hour or so each lunchtime, sparing fingers from the keys only to grab a bite of sandwich or sip a drink.  I produced my first thirty stories (two of which actually sold!) this way before I abandoned writing entirely.

When I did get back to writing about thirteen years later, I set aside a few hours each evening to simply write.  Only occasionally did I miss writing for at least an hour.  My pattern was the same for years; eat dinner, do family things, walk the dogs, and then write for a couple hours.  Because of the time constraints I turned out mostly short stories, although I did manage to struggle through a few novels that could have stood some more serious attention.

I cannot stress the importance of sticking to a schedule for writing.  A decent novel contains about a hundred thousand words.  That's less than three hundred words a day!  If you write a thousand words of crap and edit three quarters of it out you've accomplished your daily quota.  Anything more than that is a bonus.  Writing regularly also hones your literary voice, making your phrasing and styling more consistent.  Another benefit is that it allows you to maintain a steady focus on the story itself, holding everything in mind prevents missteps of timing, characterization, or "fact."

It also improves your typing speed.

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