If you work, you already know that schedule. Personally, I love my weekends because I know they are mine. No insurance whatsoever. From Monday through to Friday, I know that my day is filled from 7:20 am until roughly 5-5:30 pm. This gives me enough time to drop my daughter off, get her to school, work, and pick her up. Very rarely do I set my keys on their hook inside my home past this time.
Now, I did my research (Surprise!) because I wanted to make sure that I gave myself the best chance possible. Try it. Type in 'Editorial Schedule' or even just 'Writing Schedule' into Google or another search engine like Bing, and you will find TONS of advice. Personally, I really enjoyed this site. Another great site is this, but there are too many to link to in one article. For anyone who is really serious about writing while still needing to fit time in for everything else, you're going to find that you already do a lot of what is suggested in these sites. I know I do, especially here. This website, Author E.M.S., is one I would recommend. Not only does it suggest how you can decrease your stress levels while increasing your productivity, it allows you to easily account for 'off' days i.e. where you just get nothing done - as a mum, this was beneficial to me! Take a look at those, or search for your own (Author Schedules works great in the search engine, too).
So what are my go-to habits for finding time? Well . . . in short, whenever I can. At least, that was my motto. But I have read many articles, and outlined many posts I plan to write since reading those articles, and I'm ready for a little sanity.
1. Outlining: The first thing I asked myself after reading articles about finding the time to write was what, other than my novels, did I need to find time to write? Well, my blogs and website - updates, articles, promos, etc. Okay, so what was each going to stand for i.e. What is it that I want to focus on for each blog? The website and novel pages? Now, once I answered that, I have a theme for each. This is the hardest part. Once you have a theme, ideas come pouring in. Even if they don't seem relevant - or workable - right now, right them down. You will find a way to incorporate them later. Always keep a notebook or a phone capable of memos/voice recording (invaluable).
2. Schedule: Most sites advise to grab a huge (desk size) calendar and mark it up to show your self-imposed schedule. I like paperless options for scheduling (odd considering I 'write' with pen and paper, I know). However, unlike the calendar, you don't have to remember to look at your phone - it beeps at you (or sings and vibrates... whatever you want). And, if you are a procrastinator like I am when it comes to writing posts in lieu of novels, you can set reminders to tell you 'it's coming'. It's great. I do agree with this: do not miss your deadline. Just because the date is one set by yourself does not mean you should push it off like it isn't important. It is. You'll feel like you have accomplished something, and who knows? What if you have a silent but loyal readership? As an author, you don't want to start off by letting readers down, do you? So set the days you want to make a post, and STICK TO IT! Or what's the point?
4. Now write down a main idea at the top of a piece of paper or word document. Underneath, outline your main points. Under that, list the sites you wish to reference or link to within the body of your writing. Once you have this, your post is almost golden. You give a writer a topic - especially something this organized - and I would be ashamed if they weren't able to fill out the text based on those topics (from their own ideas!). If you don't know what to say, you have no business saying it.
5. Find some images! This is the fun part - for me. I love art, so adding photos to blogs is like looking through a scrapbook. I could spend hours doing it, though I try not to (I'm supposed to schedule writing, not drawing/painting, right?). Every post should include one or two photos, though. It brings an added appeal, and personally, I would much rather look at a blog when its writer has taken the time and care to make it pleasing to the eye. NOTE: The above images are examples only.
Finally, and this isn't for everybody, I would let it 'simmer' for a day. Re-read for grammar/punctuation issues. Treat it like a novel, where you have to step away for a little while before some of that author bias dies down (it'll never disappear completely). Don't forget to add your tags!
Next week: Where Is the Best Place to Write?