As a novelist myself, I frequently engage in what I like to call the Writer’s Exaggerated Exclamation of Anguish: “I have no time to write!”
Being a university student as well as working part-time means I’ve spent years devising strategies on how to fit writing time into a hectic schedule. I find if I go too long without sitting down at my computer and busting out a few chapters, I go a little insane.
The inspiration builds up like the pressure in a geyser and ends up keeping me awake at night while I frantically jot down ideas. Hence, it’s important for me to make that time available.
But then comes the question of: When is a good time to write? This is a question I’ve been asking myself for years in an unsuccessful attempt to formulate (and stick to) a routine.
The truth is, for me at least, is that routines need to be flexible. You won’t always be working those exact shifts, attending those exact classes, committed to those exact family obligations. So, I thought I would suggest a few different routines that have worked for me in the past, in the hope that all you writers out there might be able to draw on them.
Keep in mind, of course, that everyone’s writing methodology is different, and everyone’s schedule is different. I hope you will still be able to find something useful in here!
The Early Bird
Some people have that rare and envied talent of rolling out of bed in the mornings and behaving as though they’re conscious. If you’re bright and sparkly in the mornings and find that inspiration flows, why not start your day off by sitting down for an hour and writing?
The Word Count Fanatic
Or maybe you’re more like me and like to measure your progress in words. If you can commit to writing one thousand words a day – and for an avid writer that’s not a great deal – you can produce just over four and a half 80,000-word novels a year!
The Night Owl
This is my favourite at the moment. I sit down every evening after a long day’s studying and work and stay up until nine or ten writing my guts out. I find the darkness and the quiet really gets my adrenaline pumping, and if you’re a horror or thriller writer, this time of day is opportune for giving yourself over completely to the tone of the novel.
The Whenever Art of Writing
I have used this myself many times. This is for the writers whose schedule is so packed-full and all-over-the-place that you have to literally grab at whatever time you can to put pen to paper: sitting at the bus stop, in between study sessions, when you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep. Just make sure that if you decide to take this tactic on board, that you look after your mental and physical health. It can get a little crazy!