Monday, September 27, 2010

Ninety-nine Bottles of Sprite on the Wall

soda canThis title celebrates my 99th blog post. On Wednesday, I'll celebrate the 100th! All week long, I struggled with how to create a writing plan, a schedule, a routine, an action plan. I finally have a plan. And I'll try to share with you how you can map out your own.

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... 


  1. This is something on my "to-do" list. Coming up with a consistent plan is how I've kept my work-from-home job for so long. If you want to succeed at something, you need a plan! Good post, Christie. And good advice!

  2. Great post, and advice I should definitely take. Right now, my writing and everything related to it is scattered. I work every day, but could stand to take a more scientific approach to it.

  3. I should say, however, that even though I have a plan, it doesn't mean I don't stray. Also to clarify, my 23 hours is NOT uninterrupted (maybe only 8 hours is, if I'm lucky).

  4. I've definitely seen a change in my writing life now writing is in number one place on my to do list. It used to come after everything else, and that just doesn't work...

    Having said that, my writing time is still very scattered and rarely follows a schedule!

    I'm a new follower through the Crusade - love to have you come and visit me too!

  5. Sorry, tried to follow but Google is misbehaving. I'll be back later to try again!

  6. Thanks! I'm so crazy about writing that it's almost unhealthy. Is that normal? Like I didn't even feed my dog tonight and the kids stayed up till 11:30!!! Do I need professional help? But last weekend I was very proud that I did not get on my computer at all on Saturday or Sunday!

  7. It's part of the wonderful madness that is writing. Only other writers really understand. There have certainly been times for me when I'd rather write than sleep, but unfortunately this isn't something you can keep up forever...

    It does seem to be cyclical! I find a week or two of frantic creativity is sometimes followed by an equal amount of time feeling 'blocked' and uncreative. I'm working on being more consistent.


  8. I have re-evaulated my priorities a bit recently and I am more creative as a result. I guess I had so many wips a while back I didn't need the creative muse so much anyway, but I knew I was overdoing it on the pc. I evaluated how much time was actually quality time. The days when I stay at home with just Hannah are awesome for writing but other days are much more difficult. I agree with Adina, it comes in waves, but I am searching all the time to find a balance with priorities.


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