Writing Schedules: The Non-Routine Approach

Like almost everyone else, my weekday schedule is insane. I try to leave as much time as possible unscheduled since I did leave the 9 to 5 rat-race thing behind me several years ago and what's the point if I'm still going to work like that right?


And yet, as a writer who works from home, there is an exquisitely dire need to get my writing done, because the other thing that you learn quite fast as an independent writer is that if you don't write, you don't get paid.


I have seen monumental lists on this writing schedule topic that have everything from staying on task to getting good at meeting deadlines as reasons for having a plan and sticking to it, and truly, if that's the kind of writing life that you want to have, fantastic, go for it. But if you're slightly more desirious of feeling like you get to make your own rules and hours and work whenever you want, then do yourself a favor and allow your heart to decide.


After all, you didn't quit your day job to be forever at the mercy of more schedules did you?


I am not by any means implying here that the work of writing does not require discipline. It does, but you are more likely to develop the discipline that you need to see you through the long-haul if you aren't sitting there watching the clock until your scheduled writing time is over. There is nothing worse than working from home only to realize that you never fully left the cubicle and are still procrastinating on every task.


When you give yourself permission to let go of the need to have a writing schedule, you open the door for your creativity to decide for you. You will learn to do what feels right in that moment, to write about what you are contemplating or drawn to, and from there will pour forth some of the most amazing words you've ever written.


Your writing will improve because it happens when you want to write rather than forcing yourself out of obligation or duty. We all know from heaps of experience what happens when you force yourself to do something you don't want to do. You either end up doing a shoddy job on it, doing it at the last minute or worse, not at all. Conversely, when you write according to your own schedule you will be more productive because when you're ready to write, you will be ready to spend hours doing it.


When I sit down to write because I feel like writing nothing stops or interrupts me from my task. When I'm not feeling up to it, every little thing disturbs me, but when I'm in that writing zen-place, not even the 'Mom-can-you-look-at's' get through because I am in the flow and getting my ideas, thoughts, and feelings onto the page is what has my undivided attention.


Since I'm not sitting in front of my computer for hours on end trying to ignore everything and everyone while I tediously pull the words from my brain, I can more easily get away with this attitude when I am writing. When I allow myself to write when I feel like writing, the words come easily and fast, and I am much more likely to want to keep writing, or write again the next day than I ever would be if I were forcing myself to sit down at a set time every day and do it. When you're having fun doing something, your brain wants to repeat it.


When you need to have something done for a deadline (if you don't avoid those kinds of projects entirely - hey, it is possible to do) you'll likely have it completed not only on time, but well in advance of your deadline. You won't be waiting until the last minute to write an article just because you have a deadline. You will have already written it at the time that you most felt like writing it, and that is something much more important than merely being disciplined - namely living your life from the place where you are not forcing yourself to do something because you have to, but because you love what you do.

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Copyright © 2013 Patricia Ross. All rights reserved.




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