Writing Schedule

I’ve been reading Becoming A Writer by Dorothea Brande (really great book about the writing life, not just how to write. I recommend) and she is very adamant about the importance of a writing schedule and sticking to that schedule no matter what. She suggests picking a time and sitting down to write, even if it means hiding in a bathroom or closet to write in a notebook.

She also suggests that you write first thing in the morning before any other words can get into your brain. She advises getting up an hour earlier so that you can write without worry. Now, I think this is one of the most challenging things to do. I know I love sleep. I also love staying up late and wasting time on the internet.

My brain is a jerk like that.

But I do agree that every time I have gotten up early to write I have always been more productive. I’ve gotten better at getting up early…but I’ve also gotten better at procrastinating, not to mention classes and work seem to be taking over my writing time.

According to Brande if you try and repeatedly fail to follow a set writing time, and get up early to write then you should quit now and give up. Youch, that’s a bit harsh.

I think that’s a bit of a narrow-minded thought on writing. Not everyone has a schedule that is steady enough to write at exactly the same time every day. My life, for instance, means that every few months my schedule totally shifts and all of my free time topples around as my classes and/or work schedule changes. Other people work retail or other businesses that have constantly shifting hours.

This also makes it hard to get up early and always write, sometimes life has other plans.

Now, I agree with her that you have to make time to write if you’re going to plan on writing, but whether or not that has to be at the same time every day is arguable. I more try to keep a certain amount of time that I write every day. It doesn’t happen at the same time every day but I write every day.

So where do you stand on the schedule platform? Same time every day or just write?



  1. Christine Said:

    I just finished an “8 poems in 8 days” challen

  2. Christine Said:

    I just finished an 8-day writing challenge. I wrote 8 poems in 8 days, and to be honest, a few of them are really bad. But writing three or four pages a day in my journal can be therapeutic. It doesn’t have to be in the morning. Any time works. I carry my moleskin around wherever I go. The idea that writers should give up if they can’t stick to a schedule does sound harsh. We need time to be airy and to dream.

    I read Brande’s book in college. She wrote in the 40s or 50s, didn’t she? I’m going to crack open my Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg, another insiprational book for writers.

    What are you writing these days? Stories? Poems? For me, two poems a week is ambitious. One story a week would be just right.

  3. Jeroen Steenbeeke Said:

    Somewhere in the middle. I usually write during my daily commute by train, which gives me an hour and a half of writing five times a week.

    In addition to that, I often tend to write in the evening for an hour or two.

    I can usually keep this up for six weeks or so, after which I take a break for a week to “recharge”.

    I disagree with the statement that not being able to get a set writing time means you should give up. I think a better criterion is to check if you’re making progress, if you’re getting things done. It can be done even with an erratic schedule, though it’s probably best to track your word count over time or something like that.

  4. Robby Hilliard Said:

    I think that if you are able to write at the same time each day, then great. Routine can be a wonderful thing. Just like physical exercise, it becomes a part of your lifestyle and flows as opposed to “something you have to get done” or schedule around. At the same time, the real world doesn’t always co-operate, so being flexible is a great trait to have in your bag as well.

    I agree with Jeroen’s comment above. “…a better criterion is to check if you’re making progress, if you’re getting things done.”


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