We have to be intentional about our writing. How do we do that? We have to set-up a routine, and through trial, error, and just plain laziness (you know the "I just don't feel like it today"), I have found that when I stick to a routine, I am much more productive in my writing and my exercise routine. Yes, I said exercise I have to include working out as part of my writing routine. So here are some of the things I considered while I was setting up my writing schedule for 2020. If you know me, I perform experiments on myself, so for me, this is a tried and true method for success.
Get enough sleep. I have found that the older I have gotten, I must go to bed at a reasonable time. I was always a morning person but, now I need to go to bed early! I am done by 10 p.m. I can no longer pull all-nighters; it is just not going to happen as the results are disastrous. So, I go to bed early, and I had to stop falling asleep with the television. Uninterrupted sleep is the best. All your bodily cells regenerate with optimal rest.
Get enough exercise. What does physical activity have to do with writing? It has a lot to do with writing — clarity, creativity, and stamina. For me, physical activity cleared the brain fog and writer's block. My writing organization had clear direction as my ideas began to flow, and my stamina increased. I believe in taking naps, but one of the first things I noticed when I would get away from my exercise routine was my stamina decreased, writer's block would set in more often, not to mention weight gain. A change of scenery and a little sweat pays off in so many ways.
Eat right. What goes in will come out, and when we do not eat what is right for our bodies, what comes out is not always the best. It is so easy to sit and snack. Writing is a sedentary activity. Choose a tasty meal and a few snacks that provide energy, foods that provide energy and mental clarity. In my case, I had to dial back on the caffeine and sugar - I love coffee, not just any coffee, but what I like to call cake in a cup — those sugary, flavored specialty coffee drinks from a famous coffee place. I was also making them at home. Even the sugar-free versions were calorie ladened. Nonetheless, I just had to dial it back a bit.
So combine getting enough sleep, exercise, and eating right, so you are at optimal performance for what comes next - reading and writing time.
Reading Time. Define a part of the day when you just read. Will you read early in the day, midday, evening, late at night? As a writer, you must read. What day or days of the week will you dedicate to quality reading and not just stuff random stuff that pops up on the internet? As writers, we must stay informed.
Writing Time. Define a part of the day when you only write. Will you write early in the day, midday, evening, late at night? This changes over time, but the key is to schedule the time and stick to it!
Yes, I know many of us are holding down fulltime careers while trying to find the time to read let alone write. If you are employed fulltime or parttime, scheduling reading and writing time are just as important, but maybe with less flexibility as you are scheduling writing and reading around your employment hours. The important thing is to schedule the time and stick to it.
Stay Inspired. One of the ways I stay inspired is to read about others who have reached their goals. I accomplish this as a part of my reading time or exercise time with an audiobook). I am also participating in a few Facebook groups with other independent authors who write in every type of genre possible. So I have not limited myself or my imagination. A word of caution, I do not spend too much time here as, of course, this could cut waaaaaay tooooo much into my actual writing time. Just a note always schedule your social media time.
Master Your Craft - In addition to the practice and application of our reading and writing skills, to master our craft, we need to continue learning about it. I spend time learning about writing and publishing. The internet can be a positive space when it comes to mastering our craft as there is so much quality content from which we can critically choose. Technology is continually changing the way information reaches audiences, so we need to stay informed.
Get out your planner! WRITE OUT your schedule!! I have mine written multiple places. I even have book projects on my vision board!!
All Done! Routine & Discipline!! YOU GOT THIS!!