Advice for the Writer Who Cannot Follow a Strict Schedule
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Advice for the Writer Who Cannot Follow a Strict Schedule

While many writers commit to a regular schedule in order to produce work, others have difficulty following a schedule that dictates when they will be writing. This article offers four pieces of advice for writers who do not want to commit to a regular schedule but want to improve their writing output.

Many writers prefer to establish a strict, regular schedule for their practice. While a strict schedule can be useful, especially for individuals whose writing is part of a career, some writers have difficulty following a schedule that dictates when they will be writing. Some writers’ work and home life is particularly irregular, or they find that they can only write when they are in a particular frame of mind. For those writers, a strict schedule is not appropriate.

Prolonged inactivity can cripple your writing practice, however, so you need to ensure that you are at least writing periodically. Below are a few pieces of advice to fuel your creative process and continue to write without using a regular schedule.

1. Carry a Notebook

Unfortunately, the creative mind is not something that we can simply switch on or off; it operates when it feels like, and often when we would rather it didn’t. If you find that ideas strike you when it’s inconvenient or impossible for you to sit down and write, start carrying a notebook and pen. Pick a notebook that is small enough to fit in your back pocket or purse so that you can have it with you at all times. That way you can quickly jot down your ideas and come back to them later.

2. Take Advantage of Opportunity

While a hectic or irregular schedule can prove a roadblock to writing, it can also offer unforeseen opportunities. For example, if you travel for business and your train is suddenly delayed for an hour, that’s an hour where you can focus on your writing. Or if your partner decides to take a nap and you’re still wide awake, you can take advantage of that time to yourself. When these opportunities arise in your busy schedule, you should try to use them. It may be a while before another opportunity arises.

3. Don’t Think Writing Time Means Writing

Many writers think that when they sit down to write for an hour, they have to be producing pages of material for that entire hour. If you have a hectic schedule that doesn’t afford a lot of regular free time, you might feel especially pressured. Since the creative mind often has to be stimulated, not writing can be as important as writing when the opportunity strikes. Don’t be afraid to spend time doing research, reading an author that inspires you, or even playing a challenging game; by stimulating your brain, you’ll be more likely to spend your next period of free time writing. If you find that you’re spending every period of free time not writing, however, you should force yourself to get something down on paper.

4. Make Sure Others Know Your Writing Time is Important

Impressing on friends and family that you need to be left alone to write can sometimes be difficult. If your writing time is rare and irregular, it is even more important that your loved ones understand that you need to take advantage of that time. Relationships will be strained if you use all of your free time for writing, so strike a balance between writing and other activities. Make sure, though, that everyone understands that when you say that you’re going to write for a set period of time, that time is yours, and it’s important.

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Comments (1)

Great motivational article Brandon. Everyone is time strapped these days. Nobody can stop your mind working while other things are going on. Think time is very  necessary for any writer. Well done!