It can be a challenge to find your perfect writing schedule, especially when there’s so much advice out there on what “works.” The truth is, some schedules may work for some people, but there’s never going to be one silver-bullet solution.
Keep reading to learn what works for me and how to find your perfect writing schedule, too.
My Perfect Writing Schedule
There are many articles on the internet touting the benefits of waking up at the crack of dawn (or much, much earlier!) and sitting down to write before the rest of the world is awake. This has never worked for me. First thing in the morning, my energy is firmly focused on getting enough sleep, waking at a decent time, drinking water, getting ready, eating, meditating, gratitude journaling and writing affirmations, and often commuting to work. I can’t just jump into writing cold.
Similarly, late nights don’t work for my perfect writing schedule. Not only am I usually exhausted, but I know that staying up late will wreck me the following day. Like eating or exercising too late at night, writing can give me an energy boost that keeps me awake for hours. That means less restful sleep and a lot of yawning over my keyboard the next day.
Saturdays are my “get my house in order” days when I buy groceries, meal prep, do the more hardcore cleaning I didn’t get to do during the week, pay bills, open mail, etcetera. This is the day when I set myself up for success for the week ahead, or when I visit with friends and family. Because I need a dedicated stretch of uninterrupted time for writing, Saturdays don’t usually fit the bill, either.
My perfect writing schedule sweet spot is Sundays, after I’ve eaten breakfast (or, let’s be honest, brunch) and gotten ready for the day. It’s when the world is quiet and I feel organized, prepped, and calm. I can write anywhere from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and feel great, but I have to be strict about that cut-off time. Honestly, putting the writing away as early as 8 p.m. is even better because it gives me time to decompress before hitting the hay.
Writing on Sundays is also an excellent way to banish the Sunday scaries, because I know I’ve accomplished something. If you think about it, Sunday is like the 5 a.m. of the week!
How to Find Your Perfect Writing Schedule
It’s important to recognize that your perfect writing schedule might not look like anyone else’s, and that’s okay. You have to experiment to find what consistently works for you. This may mean setting boundaries with friends and family on certain days or times of the week. It may also require preparation beforehand and putting in a little extra time in other areas of your life.
Questions to Answer
- Do I write best after I’ve just eaten, or before I eat? When I eat certain things, do I feel lethargic afterward, making it harder to write (a big bowl of pasta always does it for me!)?
- Does writing early in the morning work for me, or late at night? Or, would writing in the middle of the day work best?
- Do I need to accomplish certain tasks before writing to ensure my headspace is free (e.g., going for a run or taking the kids to school)?
- What environment do I work best in? Complete quiet, a little background noise (like a cafe), or somewhere with more hustle and bustle? How does that align with my schedule?
- Do I need to gently set any boundaries with my friends and/or family? Here’s an example:
- Hi (Name) — I’m prioritizing my writing from X to X, so you might not be able to reach me during this time. This will go a long way toward helping me reach my writing goals. Thank you for understanding, and for your support. I’m looking forward to catching up the next time we’re both free!
Commit to Your Perfect Writing Schedule
Schedule it! Seriously, put it on the calendar, and make it a recurring event. This will give you a firm commitment, and it will allow you to plan around your writing sessions. You don’t have to give up time with your friends and family, or say no to your other hobbies, just because you’ve scheduled writing time. This article from Lifehack delves deeper into the importance of daily and weekly planning.
If your schedule needs to change one day, don’t sweat it. Practice flexibility by moving the session to another time that day or week. Life happens — your calendar is like a puzzle, and things can move! Then, that recurring calendar event will be there the next time you’re scheduled to write. Remember, better to be a reed that bends in the wind than one that snaps.
It may take a little trial and error to get your writing schedule aligned with your life and your writing goals. Keep notes on what works well for you and what doesn’t, and make tweaks along the way. Don’t be afraid to put yourself and your writing first. Scheduling your writing when it works best for you isn’t selfish — it will help you feel more fulfilled and raise your energy levels so you can be more present and productive in other areas of your life, too.
What’s your perfect writing schedule? Let us know in the comments!