Put Your Writing on the Calendar First

Some big news this week. I was accepted to the Squaw Valley Community of Writers! It was not the first time I applied, and so I’m feeling particularly proud of myself for persevering through past rejections.

Now the Work Begins (eek!)

As part of the program, I am supposed to submit 5000 words for workshopping, and another 5000 words for an individual conference with one of the mentors there.

For my application I used the first chapter of my novel (the one currently being shopped to editors in New York). And I’m certainly not looking to workshop those pages.

And yet, what I’ve written so far on my second novel is so rough I would never show it to anyone. What’s more, I don’t have a ton of time to work on it. Though the pages aren’t due until the end of June, I’m shooting to have the work done by June 15th so that family obligations in the second half of the month don’t derail me.

Then I had to account for the fact that the kids are out of school on May 31st, and that the last week of school is a joke anyway with wall-to-wall school parties and early dismissals. Life is getting hectic, and I really want to put my best work forward on this thing.

Prioritize the Writing

As I was thinking about all of this, I was reminded of something I learned a while back but have since forgotten: you have to put your writing on the calendar first.

So I pulled out my bullet journal and looked at the coming weeks. I looked at every day and blocked out at LEAST one hour a day to work on my writing. Most days I was able to block out two hours, though some of those “two hour” blocks will probably be as long as whatever movie I put on for the kids. A quick google search tells me Pirate of the Caribbean is 2 hours and 20 minutes, and so is Mary Poppins, and every one of those Marvel movies is super long…

Then Honor It

The task now is to honor those blocks of time. No laundry, no dishes, no cooking dinner. If the calendar says I’m writing from 8-10, then damn it, come 8, I put aside everything else, load up an Avengers movie, and get to writing. I will order pizza – again. The kids can get dressed from the pile of laundry that still needs to be folded. Dishes can go ahead and pile up.

It can be challenging to not let things get it the way, but you know what? If you don’t block out writing time on your calendar you’re setting yourself up for defeat. Time will slip away, day by day, week by week, and another year will tick past without you “finding” the time to write. Don’t find time. Make it.

Put your writing on the calendar first, then work everything else around it.

Because you’re a writer.

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7 Responses to Put Your Writing on the Calendar First

  1. Kelly Kandra Hughes June 4, 2018 at 3:51 pm #

    Congrats on being accepted into the Squaw Valley Program!

    • April June 7, 2018 at 4:37 pm #

      Thanks Kelly!

  2. Tracy Line June 1, 2018 at 9:49 am #

    Love this and is a great reminder for me right now!

    • April June 7, 2018 at 4:39 pm #

      I forget it all the time. Then I look at my calendar and I’m like “when am I supposed be writing?”

  3. Bryan Fagan May 31, 2018 at 5:39 pm #

    When we tell people we write they don’t seem to realize how hard it really is. Not just the writing itself but the time we have to find to fit it all in. It’s that constant search for that little window of time that allows us to be creative.

    I too will have a similar problem in the coming weeks and my goal is to wrap up draft one by summers end. Might be wishful thinking on that one.

    • April June 7, 2018 at 4:41 pm #

      I’m shooting for a draft by the end of the summer too! I actually have more time to write while the kids go to the local pool for summer camp, so I’m optimistic. Good luck and keep me posted…


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