What Counts As Writing Time?

When creating and following a writing schedule, you must also decide what to include in your writing time. This will vary greatly depending on the kinds of writing that you do. For a writer of non-fiction or even historical novels, research is so essential to writing that it takes up writing time. For a high fantasy writer, worldbuilding is essential so it takes up writing time. For a blogger, sometimes even things like email are part of ‘writing time’.

I have two different kinds of writing time: fiction writing time and blogging time. My fiction writing time is divided into worldbuilding, plot building, editing, and writing various short stories and novels. Blogging time is divided into writing posts, responding to comments, preparing workshops, and brainstorming. I’ve also started setting aside time for my other website and its blog.

For the next week, track the things you ordinarily do during your writing time. Decide which ones are unnecessary distractions-talking on MSN or Facebook, checking non writing related emails, reading books that aren’t for research of some kind-and which ones are essential to your work-writing a chapter of your novel, filling in important background for your world or characters, or proof reading your final draft.

Try to find another time to do things like socialize online, play computer games, and read for enjoyment. Then take all the important things like research, worldbuilding, writing, and editing, and give them each a time slot. You can organize your time in hours or in days. If you have a lot of hours to spend on your writing, you can spend an hour a day on each important aspect of your writing, or work on several different stories. If you only have one hour each day, then you might work on writing a story one day and editing the next and so on.

Because my schedule is so fluid-just a goal of writing for one hour every day-I’ve decided not to schedule my days either. I have however decided that I would like to spend two hours a week working on my blogs and three hours a week working on my fiction. Since it takes half an hour for me to write the average blog post, my goal is to consistently write two posts a week on each of my blog for the next six weeks. I do hope to eventually increase the amount of time I spend writing, but I’m starting small and working my way to the top.

Write down your schedule somewhere where you will see it every day, and give yourself a check mark-and a pat on the back-every time you follow your schedule for a day.