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 Scheduling Time For Writing (revised) 
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Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 1:47 pm
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Post Scheduling Time For Writing (revised)
by Elizabeth Dufraine

by Elizabeth Dufraine

Usually the bulk of my writing is after the kids go to school or bed.
Do you have nights where you can't sleep or you just wake up because your brain thinks you should be?
I do, so I write.
Like nights when I'm onto something good, my brain doesn't want to
keep quiet; I lovingly call these times "insane ramblings".

Among my many tasks as a Retail Manager, scheduling was one of my specialties. This helped me not only for that job, but for life in general and as a writer it became essential.

If you want my opinion though, don't keep yourself married to a
STRICT schedule for the simple fact that it can force you into writers
block-another subject for another day. Take time out to smell the roses, get a bite to eat or even a few minutes stretch can help to refresh your mind.
Jot stuff down when you think of it.
Most of the best ideas come spontaneously and from the heart without really even thinking about it.

Use your schedule to perfect your work. That's what takes time,
patience and concentration.

If it's in depth research, editing or etc., you need to set a
Buffing takes concentration, selection, lots of jotting, dissecting,
categorizing, then drafting, editing, writing, more editing… and
finally, the finishing touches.
A beautiful product of your imagination…phew, I'm out of breath!

The more you write, the better writer you become, polished. The very
fact that you are interested in learning how to schedule your writing
means you have grown; kudos to you.

Keep in mind, a schedule must be tailored to YOUR needs.

What? Why listen to anything I have to say?
Good question, but you aren't being forced to pay attention.
(…chirping crickets)

Still here? Good.
I learned the hard way years ago. No schedule means a hairy
scary life. Long story short, I strayed from it for a week and all
*@%$ broke loose.
There are also some comments at the bottom of this article from other writers who have been kind enough to share their process with me for use in this article.

So what makes me an expert?
You don't need a fancy degree to know my jargon makes sense.
As I said before, I was a Retail Manager. That was before I decided to devote my time to writing and my family, which ALWAYS comes first.
Scheduling was one of my many exceptional skills.
That still doesn't make me an expert, but it does make me a scheduling advocate that you can count on.
A manager MUST adhere to a schedule, a strict one at that.

If you truly want to write for profit, you should have one. You
will NEED one if you have a deadline or plan to be a disciplined writer.

Create a disciplined writing schedule that works best for you.
Maintain that discipline and organize your work method.
Scheduling is only one of the keys to being a highly productive
writer. Here is a process that may help you if you’re just starting out until you can create one of your own and stick to it.

First-get 14 papers-(2 each-for seven days) and a pen and pencil (or
keyboard!) It sounds like a lot. The more accustomed to this
procedure, the less papers used.

Second-write the days of the week at the top of both sets of pages.

Third-with the first set of 7 days papers, write what you Have to do on each day.
Breakfast, dishes, laundry, etc. Next PRIORITIZE each item with
1-2-3 sub-categories with A-B-C.
1. Breakfast
2. Kids off to school
3. Dishes
A. Put away clean ones
B. Wash/dry
4. Organize Kids Room
A. Clean it
B. Dressers-go thru clothes

Fourth-on the second set of 7 papers write on the first line in the
margin on the left the hour of the day you wake up. Next write on each line the time by half hours all the way down.
If you get up at 6:00 a.m. it should look like this:

6:00 am
6:30 am
7:00 am... and so on until you reach your bedtime.
Fifth-write your prioritized items, what you HAVE to do for each
day--work, pick up the kids, dinner, dishes, etc.

Sixth-highlight your free time. Now you know exactly what you have for free time.

(For writers, sleep becomes irrelevant-just kidding-or am I? I know my brain seems to think so some times. LOL)

Seventh-pencil in (pencil=erasable), what you usually do with your
FREE time--bath, nap, read, etc. Prioritize what is really necessary
for that day.

You will notice automatically if you WANT to write, your priorities
for your free time schedule will change.

Keep these things in mind.

1) Write every day, even if it is only for 20 or 30 minutes.

2) Do get plenty of rest. An alert clear mind always helps.
I'm sure as a writer you have already had sleepless nights.
I keep a notebook at my bedside for such times.
If you want something faster or you don't want to write, use a tape
When I wake up with these thoughts I have to take care of them right
Otherwise the ramblings won't let me sleep!

4) You should also carry a pen & pocket size notebook; if you don't
already, to jot things down when they come to you or you see something that sparks a brilliant thought. If you’re on the go use a tape recorder for convenience.


Organize your working methods with your scheduling.

Scheduling your writing time is part of organizing your work method,
so I am very glad that you have taken an interest in reading this.

Start a Submissions Record. This shows the profile of all your work
and where it has been submitted and where it is going next, or even if it's been rejected.
At a glance, you will see what you have accomplished. This is good for the ego if you have created a goal chart.

If you write articles, as I do, you will need a Query Letter
Here you can list multiple query attempts on a single idea.
A query letter is simply a sales pitch of an idea and should be sent out to many publications at the same time.
The editor that expresses the most interest or offer gets the finished work first usually. It all depends how long you decide to hold out.

Once a query comes back as "a go" or the story has been
completed, you would transfer that piece onto an Itinerary Sheet and a folder is made and labeled.

The Itinerary Sheet stays with the work as its official
performance record. The more organized you are, the better your
chances are of selling it.
Soon you will need file cabinets to organize your published and
pending work, unless you already have one.
Then you are one step ahead in the game. Good for you!

In a nutshell -- to make time and space to write, you first need a good
nights rest for clear thinking.
Utilize your FREE time; create a disciplined writing schedule and
filing method to perfect your work.
Organize your working method by starting a submissions record, a query letter record, and an itinerary sheet. Have a file cabinet for all
work-even a shoebox will work.
Use the hectic periods to jot ideas. At night use a tape recorder or
notepad for "ramblings"-file them as "ideas".
Claim a quiet, organized space all to yourself-could be your bedroom.
Most importantly, be spontaneous and have fun.

How do I know these things?
One, I created my own method using knowledge I gained as a Retail Manager. This has been the best for me since I’m comfortable with it. I just feel I needed to share it with everyone.
I especially hope it helps out new and “chaotic” writers who feel they can’t balance between their life and their writing.
Two, I did a whole LOT of research on methods other writers use.
Three, I have it on very good authority by other PUBLISHED writers
that scheduling and organizing are essential to a serious writer.
Back up a step to research, now that's a good topic for another day.

Until next time, Happy Writing!

Here are the comments I mentioned above.


"Thou I'm not privy to your home life the best time would be about 30
min after everyone is asleep or 1 hour before they all get up."
-Larry Hilt


"I have known since the day I took my first breath that I was a night
I hate mornings with a passion. The process of getting the engine
roaring is rough.
So when I sit before the computer other than at night, I read emails,
study, research and respond to other writers and editors.
These tasks can be interrupted. They are short tasks and do not
require deep thought.
I also do my marketing in the daylight hours - the left brain stuff.
But my real focus comes at night when the darkness muffles the world.
It is then that I compose. Time seems immeasurable and I accomplish so
much more creatively. The day is too busy and too interfering to be
productive for me."-Hope Clark


"As a busy single mother of three and a forty-hour a week job, finding
time to write is like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

Yet, in order for me to relieve the stress of being a mom and a
worker, I needed to write for my own sanity so I figured out a system
for myself in order to accomplish this goal.

When I awake in the morning, (after the morning prayers and waking up
the Rugrats) I check to see where I left off the night before on the
story I'm working on. Throughout the day, I proceed to actually write
the novel in my head. In the past I tried the tape recorder, but I was
never good at keeping up with it or having any interest to go back to
the story.

Writing it in my head, speaking the dialogue out loud while I was
driving was a good way for me to drum up a lot more ways to get the
ball rolling on the story.

By the time I put the kids to bed, cleaned the house and get myself
together, I was able to shell out a chapter and a half by the end of
the night, which was about two in the morning.

I then awake at six a.m. and start the day all over again."
- Sylvia Hubbard

Article revision 07/03/05

© 2005 Elizabeth Dufraine, Thumb Michigan Writers "All rights reserved"

Permission granted to to distribute freely

Elizabeth Dufraine is the Founder and Editor of Thumb Michigan Writers. She writes two monthly periodicals and is active in several other organizations. For more info:

This article is reprinted with permission from

Tue Jul 10, 2007 4:49 pm
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