Finish Your Novel: Struggling with a Schedule

For right-brainers like myself, it’s not easy to follow a schedule. I sit down and make schedules all the time but by nature, I break them; daily, weekly, every minute. What is a right-brainer like myself to do?

I give myself weekly deadlines with a little wiggle room. I set objectives instead of goals.

Objectives are Mini Goals

For example, I post some of my stories to Tapas. Tapas is a web comic and web novel app. The best days to update are Friday and Saturday . I make it an objective each week to update my story by Friday or Saturday.

I don’t set a big, looming publication date, just the objective to write 1,000-2,000 words a week and the rest falls into place.

1,000-2,000 words a week doesn’t sound like a lot, but there are weeks I can write way more than that and weeks where I can barely get that number count in. It’s about giving yourself a manageable minimum, so even when you have a week from hell, you can meet your objective and not get discouraged.

  • Goal: Finished novel
  • Objective: Write 1,000-2,000 words a week.

Set Aside One Day to Write

  • Write 1,000-2,000 words on Wednesday. The end.

I have one day that I am required to write every week and that’s Wednesday. I set time aside on Wednesday to write and I usually get my 1,000-2,000 words done on that day.

If I don’t get enough words in on Wednesday, I still have Thursday, and even Friday to finish up writing or do any quick edits.

I tried to make an objective to have time to write every day and it just didn’t happen, things came up. I had other work that took up more time and it ended up discouraging me, but scheduling in that one day was very manageable and allowed me to get writing done every week. When I write on a day other than Wednesday, I feel awesome and productive, if I don’t get that chance, no sweat, I know I still made some progress that week.

Writing this way takes the pressure off to finish a book by a certain time and keeps the project from feeling too big and overwhelming.

In fact, since then, I’ve added one more writing day, Sunday. My husband is home on the weekend and can look after our son, which frees up time for me to write.

Every Day Can’t be Nanowrimo

I have finished projects or mostly finished them in the course of a month, thanks to Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month), but I can’t function like that the rest of the year. Because of that, I developed this system to make sure that I am getting writing in every week. This way, I don’t feel the pressure of a looming deadline and procrastinate to avoid anxiety.

With Nanowrimo, there are tons of other writers participating and we psych each other up. I love the energy of writers during that month and I’m so pumped to write, I don’t feel the anxiety of a deadline. The rest of the year however, I have to be kinder to myself.

By focusing on the work I have now instead of everything I have to do in the long run, I give my mind a sense of purpose and accomplishment each week without the stress. When my story is done, it’s done.

In Summary

With this formula, I’ve written one to two books a year the last two years, despite all of the loss my family has suffered and the hardships through this pandemic. In fact, if it hadn’t of been for those weekly objective while my mother was sick, and after I lost her, I would have sunken into a deep depression. My writing and art kept me going.

So if you’re struggling to sit down and write that novel of yours, give this method a try and see how you do.

I hope this was helpful!

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