September 23, 2019

3 Great Tips for How to Set Your Writing Schedule

Getting in the groove matters. So does repetition. But what's a good writing schedule for you? 

You all know the adage of writing a bit every day, but when do you make the time to write? 

There's so much going on in our lives and we really want to start binging The Office again. Plus our laundry is in piles. What's a good schedule for your screenwriting? And how can you maximize hours in the day with all the distractions? 

Let's talk a little about my writing schedule and look at some tips and pointers to keep your pages coming. 

What's a Good Writing Schedule? 

I want to help you develop a schedule that works for you. So let's go through some things, look at some tips, and you can formulate your own schedule based off this stuff. 

First things first...

Are you a morning or night writer? 

This is not to say you can't be both, but what does your schedule allow? Right now, I have to be a night writer because I do my meetings and No Film School during the day. That means that from 4pm to 10pm at night, I get to do my heart's work. 

The rest of the day...I'm yours. 

Or sleeping. 

Tip 1: What's your non-writing schedule like? 

If you have a typical day job, then you have two options. You can either get up early in the morning and write until you have to be at work, or you can do your writing from 6pm (or whenever you get off work) until whenever you need to get to bed. 

But if you have kids, play a sport, or work a second job, these hours may not be easy for you. 

Sit down and plan out a typical day. 

What you really need to find is an hour or two where you can fully concentrate. Maybe that's after the kids go to bed, or while they are down for their nap in the afternoon. Maybe it's your lunch break at work. 

So much of what you do as a writer can be done without writing that I don't want you to stress. Sometimes you need latent thoughts to help crack writer's block. But getting yourself one to two hours a day will help you finish ideas and maximize your time. 

Especially if you...

Tip 2: Eliminate distractions 

When I write, I like to sit on my roof, turn off my wifi, and leave my phone downstairs. With the lack of distraction, I can disappear into the pages. It's also cool up there at night, and for some reason, I always write better in the cold. 

I have a certain music channel I listen to on Spotify called "Focus." But if I am doing a rewrite, I like to procrastinate by creating a playlist of songs that have the same energy as the script. That helps me not be distracted by music. I hit play and keep my head down and write. 

This all allows me to...

Tip 3: Set reasonable goals

Don't try to write ten pages a day -- unless it's all you're doing that day and you know your pace dictates it.

There are lots of days I set my page goal at three pages. I know if I have two hours to write, I'll usually spend the first hour polishing what was there, the next thirty minutes planning what's next, and the last thirty in an insane sprint writing three new pages. 

This leaves something for me to do the next day and also makes me feel like I used all two hours wisely. 

It also makes my first drafts appear more polished. 

Sum it up! 

The point of this post is for you to get to know yourself. Your writing schedule can be as zany or organized as you want, as long as you produce the pages no one is going to care. 

So go get writing! 

What's next? Start writing your TV pilot

When an agent, producer, manager, or executive read your TV pilot a myriad of thoughts will run through their minds. If you’ve written something compelling and refreshing most of these thoughts will be great, but if your pilot misses the mark they’ll be less thrilled.

No matter the case, there are five big questions asked of every TV pilot. Click here to find out.     

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