First, how much time do you have available? Don't think daily, think WEEKLY. Since I don't work right now (hopefully I'll get a part-time job soon), I am giving myself 23 hours a week. Of course when I get a job, that will drastically decline to maybe 15 (hopefully that much).
Make a list of all the writing-related things you participate in. Your list may be completely different from mine. You may arrange it differently and include items in different categories. For me, I listed:
- writing (includes revisions, ideas, research in the midst of writing)
- blogging (includes my own blog posts, reading others' blogs, commenting on blogs, and other networking such as twitter)
- critiquing (spending time to critique others' manuscripts in my critique groups, and of course the winners of my monthly picture book writing contest)
- marketing (researching the market of publishers and editors by studying picture books, market books, websites, and catalogues; also time in libraries and bookstores count)
- studying craft (reading picture books, copying picture books, studying picture books, reading books about how to write picture books, and reading about individual writing craft such as plot, character, etc.)
For all writers, writing should be the number one item in which you consistently participate. Next would probably be craft and marketing. Decide for yourself what is most important. Technically, I started this blog a year ago, Sept. '09. But I "changed" it to February, because that's when my second blog post was! So I have about four months until my Blogiversary! Taking a five-month break after only one blog post is hardly being consistent. The key to anything is consistency.
Look at your schedule and see how much you can fit in each day. Plan it by the week. Here's my breakdown of hours spent per week and the percentage of the 23 hours:
- writing 10 hours a week (43%) - 5 days
- blogging 6 hours a week (26%) - 5 days
- critiquing 2 hrs (9%) - 1 day (Tuesdays)
- marketing 2 hrs (9%) - 1 day (Thursdays)
- craft 2 hrs (9%) - 1 day (Wednesdays)
- ...and a planning review session 1 hour (4%) - 1 day (Sundays)
Sundays - 1 hour
Mondays - 3.5 hrs.
Tuesdays - 5 hrs.
Wednesdays - 2 hrs.
Thursdays - 5 hrs.
Fridays - 3.5 hrs.
Saturdays - 3 hrs.
Most importantly, it's up to you to find a schedule that will work for you. Maybe you don't like schedules. I have been writing A LOT over the last year, and it's taken me this long to realize that I finally need a schedule. If you do too, I hope this helped.
If you work full time, this is still doable. Write 15 minutes a day! Make it a top priority. Don't blog. It's time consuming. But if you love it and you can squeeze it in, by all means blog away! Spend 30 minutes a week EACH on marketing, and craft. I'd say that's minimum. Hopefully, all of us can find at least 3 hours a week to spend on writing and writing-related things. Think of each 15-minute session as another mile passed to reach your writing goals. OR you could count backwards: 98 bottles of Sprite on the wall...