Most writers have a limited amount of time they can spend engaging with their art form. I, for example, have three hours on a Tuesday morning to write as many articles as I can.
Because of this, it’s important that I go into my workday with a clear direction and specific instructions.
I do this primarily by segmenting my time and dividing up my writing process into different sections.
Every Monday morning, for half an hour, I have a brainstorming session. My goal for the session is to develop a minimum of three article ideas. I usually come up with more, but three is enough to keep me on top of my publishing schedule.
As a part of my brainstorming day, I come up with the title, assign the topic a publishing date and write a brief outline as a guide for future me.
Because I’ve put in the time and the information that I need ahead of my writing session, I have a clear idea of what I need to accomplish. I never need to worry about topic generation or outlining.
Next comes the writing day. Tuesday from 9 am to 12 pm. I have three hours to write at least three articles, more if I can. I work off the list of topics and outlines that I generated for myself on Monday.
Generally, I work through them in order, but if I’m having a particularly rough writing session, I will pick and choose the ones that interest me most, adjusting the publishing dates if I have to.
I write the first draft for all of the topics, following the outlines or going off-script if the inspiration strikes. I don’t hold myself too accountable to the original outlines; they were, after all, thought up quickly. If I find myself wanting to write about something else, it’s either a more important topic or more inspiring. Either way, it ticks off the list, so again I don’t worry about it. If the original idea still interests me, I’ll schedule it for another day.
Once I’ve finished one first draft I immediately begin the next article. I don’t take breaks between articles. Instead, I write in fifty-minute sprints with a ten-minute breather in between.
You’ll know for yourself how long you can write for before you need air, it’s important to still take care of yourself even if you are under time pressure.
Taking a few minutes away from my computer to stretch and refresh my water is important for my mental health. If I take care of my mind and body, I can write for longer. It’s that simple. Getting set up nicely for the next writing sprint is vital on days when you plan on writing a lot.
I edit my articles on Thursday afternoons, between 1 pm and 4 pm. I have an editing checklist that guides me through the steps I take with every article. Feel free to use it or add elements of it to your editing process.
After editing, I proofread the article and schedule it both on Medium and the Imposter’s Guide website.
Scheduling the articles is a nice feature because I don’t have to worry about hitting the publish button again. A business-savvy person could also schedule some social media posts to go up advertising the articles at around the same time.
There you have it. That’s how I make the most of my writing day.
On average, I generate five articles a week, which means I’m usually well set up for sick days, holidays, or mental health days with my publishing schedule of three articles a week.
I would encourage you to produce more than you publish for these reasons. It’s important to be a good boss to yourself.
As you’re reading this I’ll be on holiday enjoying time with my family for the next two weeks. It’s because of this schedule that I can enjoy time with my family. I’ve set up a writing schedule that works for me instead of one that burns me out.
I would encourage you to implement a kind writing routine into your new year plans. As the year goes on I will continue to be weeks if not months ahead of my publishing schedule.
This means that writing won’t ever be something stressful.
It allows me to take the time I need to publish content I can be proud of. Or work on bigger projects if I need to spend extra time on them without dropping the ball here, all while publishing roughly fourteen articles a month.
So make the most out of your writing time and set yourself up for success.
As always, I cannot wait to see you on the bookshelf!