Virginia Alice, author of "HONOR ONE ANOTHER: The ABCs of Embracing Our Spirit Within," also writes about fitness, social media, and values.
How Writing on a Weekly Schedule Helps Me Be a Better Writer
A few months ago, after struggling with finding time to write, I decided to set aside one day out of the week just for writing.
I needed a set writing time to focus on achieving my writing goals. At this point, I'd be happy to achieve any of my major projects including a weekly article, two monthly blog posts, and the edits on my current work-in-progress. But I knew I needed to focus mainly on getting my book finished, so I can start the next book.
Since my decision, this day has been defined as Thursday. It’s not only the day I was born on, but also the last full day before starting to slack off for the weekend.
Deciding When to Write
On Thursdays, I now focus only on my writing, in whatever way that means for that particular week. Lately, it means editing my second book in the mornings. And in the afternoons, it means writing articles.
My weeks are all different depending on what else is happening with our family life, guests, fitness efforts, and marketing my first book. There were times I would get started on editing my second book as early as seven o’clock in the morning. While, at other times, I wasn't able to get started until much later.
In following through with my new schedule, I found that if I don’t stick with it, then my writing life can get as out of control as it was before I implemented it. For instance, if I allow my morning writing and editing to spill into the afternoon, then the articles I write in the afternoon won’t get done. That writing time will then need to be recovered the following morning.
So, whatever editing or writing on my book I get done in the morning, whether it’s five hours or as little as one, that’s it. I move onto my next writing project after lunch.
This means it may take longer to get my second book published. But it also means, I'll make the most of my available time – in the morning when I'm writing and or editing my book and in the afternoon when I’m writing articles. My writing time is now working for me rather than against me.
Being Open to Flexibility
This new system may seem too structured for some, but for me it is still pretty flexible. This is because I allow myself time to write in the way I need to during each timeframe, not impeding on other writing time.
Before I started setting aside scheduled writing time, I was all over the place. I might write on my book or edit it on Monday afternoon one week, or Wednesdays all day the following week. Soon, it got to where I couldn’t see any progress. This was because, soon, I was allowing other things to intrude on my writing time, no matter when I sat down to write. I was too flexible.
Being strict about Thursdays being just for writing has improved my game. What do I do on Thursdays? I write. I don’t plan a trip to the grocery store. I don’t plan an outing with a friend. I don’t take time for a pedicure, manicure, or facial. I just write. And it’s working. I'm making progress in ways I wasn’t when I was trying to write three or four days a week.
Having a writing schedule is the one thing that has helped me the most.
— Virginia Alice Crawford
Do I worry that something will interrupt my writing on Thursdays? Sure, but I take it one week at a time, and one day at a time. I trust if the day comes when Thursdays no longer work for me that a different day will present itself – even if it might mean Saturdays or Sundays again.
I have written in the evenings and on weekends when I was working full-time. That’s how I got my first book written and published. And there’s a good chance I may need to work part- or full-time again in the near future. If that happens though, I'll just readjust. Simple. Well, nothing is really ever that simple. But it will be what it needs to be when the times comes.
Determining What to Write
As a writer, I write every day in other ways. I update my website. I make Instagram posts. I work on content for graphic slides for Pinterest and Facebook. I update author bio, pull-tab, and book sell sheets. I write blog posts for my website, and I'm now writing articles here on HubPages. I make lists and notes about what I'll write about. And I write personal letters to friends and family.
Recently, I made a spreadsheet of all my current writings – including articles on HubPages, blog posts on my website, and other content, essays, and writings. I placed each article or blog into specific topics. By doing this, I was able to learn what I like to write about. Knowing it and seeing it in list form was very revealing. Most of my topics concentrate on everyday life, fitness, marriage, social media, values, wellness, and writing.
Considering what I write about and the different venues I publish these topics to helps me determine where to focus my writing time. Since I write every day, I wanted to find out what type of writing should count toward my blocked writing time on Thursdays.
- Does writing letters count? I asked myself this recently, and the answer for me is no. Writing letters is writing of a personal nature, a communication with a friend or family member and doesn't fit in with the writing for publication which I'm determined to do on Thursdays.
- How about blogging? I asked myself that also. And, no, blogging didn't make the cut. Blogging is something I do to express myself and sometimes to promote myself, but it must be done on a different day, one when I spend time focusing on my website.
- Then, I asked myself about writing an Instagram post. This answer was a yes and a no. No, it doesn't count toward my Thursday writing time. But, yes, I can still make and post content on Instagram. To reduce time devoted to an Instagram post, I just create my slides and write the post the day before. This keeps my writing time on Thursdays strictly to my books and articles.
A Writing Word of Encouragement
If you are struggling with seeing progress in your writing, perhaps one day a week just for writing is something worth trying. Some questions to assess if doing this will help you or not are:
- What is my current writing schedule like?
- Do I already set specific time aside on a given day just for writing on a book, special project, or articles?
- If so, have I been successful?
- Would I be willing to commit to one day, or even just half a day – just for writing?
Having the time, first and foremost, to devote to writing certainly helps. But when it isn't readily available, carving out your writing time on a schedule can be the way to go. It’s the one thing that has helped me the most.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Virginia Alice Crawford