Life is chaos. The whirlwind of existence will forever thwart our plans, hinder our intentions and throw the proverbial monkey wrench at us at the most inopportune times. Through experience and mistakes, we all tend to develop a kind of balancing act to keep our heads above water.
While we would like to pride ourselves on the fact that we are wise enough to keep the teeter-totter of life ever parallel, it is not always so. The most recent of these struggles for us came when we made the monumental decision to dust off our manuscript. With the mountain of work ahead of us, we began to go through the stages of what I have come to call “The Writing Schedule Dilemma.”
Stage 1: Pride
Believing that our muses would speak to us and give us the guidance we needed now that we had decided to take our writing seriously, we protested the idea of a writing schedule. Looking back, the discussion was one of absolute naivety, and it is a large reason why it took us so many false starts to get to the point we’re at now. We let our ego get in the way and were adamant that writing was only meant for inspiration.
It was only when we realized we were spinning our wheels did we consider that perhaps we should take a different approach. Humbling ourselves to that thought, we entered the second stage.
Stage 2: Overcorrection
With an acceptance of our first line of foolishness, we turned ourselves around and ran full speed ahead in the other direction. Our minds were full of ideas and determination to try and make our writing come to us. We set unreasonable goals with an expectation that we would be able to stick with it. But chaos always rears its head, and every little bump or missed day of writing or inspiration dragged us toward a frustrating conclusion — We had accidently given ourselves a second, unpaid job.
While it was still a worthwhile venture to the two of us, we realized that the commitments we had made were stretching us too thin. Arguments and unhappiness were not worth the prize at the end. To make things worse, it was showing in our writing as well. We had to find another way.
Stage 3: Compromise
Finally, we sat down and decided that no matter how many articles, guides or examples we referenced, we had to tailor a schedule to fit us personally. We both realized that we needed to work around our full-time jobs, hobbies and responsibilities. On top of this work-around, we needed to keep the pressure to a healthy capacity so not to burn ourselves out. In addition, we added a stipulation that would make sure we would review and adapt the schedule on a regular basis to better suit our life.
The end result for now is two dedicated writing days, a reading day and four days left open for research, notes or relaxation. We realize our motto should be “Keep Making Progress.” It doesn’t matter if it is a note or two one day or a few pages of the actual novel the next. What counts is that we continue on the road of creating our novel together.
What kind of Writing Schedule do you keep? How did you come up with it? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!