What Is Your Writing Schedule?

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I have no routine. When I do write, it’s usually late at night because all is quiet. I don’t set a daily goal — the words come hard for me, so I’m grateful for whatever words I manage to get on paper.

It’s amazing to me that with as sporadically and as slowly as I write, I’ve still managed to complete four novels and a non-fiction book.

Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov

I guess it just goes to show what one can do by plugging away. Oddly, considering this is the electronic age, I still prefer to write longhand, though I am gradually doing more writing on the computer.

Here are some examples of other author’s writing schedules. The comments are taken from interviews posted at Pat Bertram Introduces . . .

From an interview with Dale Cozort, Author of “Exchange
I usually concentrate on one aspect of writing at a time. If I’m writing I schedule myself to write a thousand to three thousand words per day, depending on what other obligations I have. If I’m editing or marketing that’s usually all I do that day.

A group of people from a workshop I went to last July pledged to write at least two hundred and fifty words per day every day for thirty days. We kept renewing that through the end of December and most of us ended up averaging five hundred to a thousand words per day. The two-hundred and fifty words is a small enough amount that you can do it in twenty minutes to a half hour, so pledging to do that is a good way to avoid procrastination. At the same time, the mindset for editing and marketing are enough different from writing mode that I found myself having to work at making the transition.

From an interview with Polly Iyer, Author of “Hooked”
I write all the time. I try for a certain amount of words when I’m writing a new story, but much of writing is rewriting. That’s when I go hoarse reading aloud to see if the dialogue works or if sentences sound strained.

From an interview with T. C. Isbell, Author of “Southern Cross”
Even though I’m retired, I approach writing like a job. I believe that following an established schedule is the key to finishing a project. I start writing at seven in the morning, right after my wife leaves for work, and work pretty much through the day. I take short breaks, but other than that I’m either researching or writing. I try to add at least one thousand words a day to my manuscript. Some days the juices flow and I put down two thousand words. There are days where I write the same sentence over and over. I stop writing before my wife comes home from work.

From an interview with Malcolm R. Campbell, Author of “Sarabande”
I do everything possible to avoid having a writing schedule, much less a daily word-count goal. The story unfolds as it unfolds. I don’t know what’s going to happen next, much less when my characters or my muse or the universe are going to fill me in on the next scene or chapter. Sitting down to write at a specific time or forcing out a set number or words each day would ruin the flow. This sounds like a lazier approach than it is. Whenever I have a novel in progress, I am rather obsessed with it. It is always on my mind. Basically, I’m much better off when I’m actually writing it than when I’m not writing it.

So, what’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?

4 Comments
  1. Jack Eason says

    Pat,
    Everybody’s approach is different. Every book is written differently. With some, the words pour out, while with others it is a struggle. Some have straightforward plots, some are complicated. No one ever said that writing was easy… 🙂

    1. patbertram says

      Isn’t that the truth! Hey, Jack — when are you going to do an interview for me?

  2. Nancy Duci Denofio says

    Great job Pat – I am totally different, and I do believe I make things happen as I see them, as in a picture, movie – I want to hear what I write. Using dragon dictate is almost like having a built in editor. It tells me if someone will like what I am saying, as far as novels. Yes, I have three which need to be finished, and that’s my off line work as of now. One thing I have to say, I am writing for a local couple, but I had to learn their life inside out. And, during one interview I said, (after a year) I have it, it’s ready now. I heard the story which would open the book. I can’t wait to share it. Although a ghost writer, it will state as told to …… and written by …. as requested. Keep up the great work Pat. Sincerely, Nancy

  3. MFBurbaugh says

    I wrote my latest book, ‘The Bounty Hunter’ in a little over three days. Almost without sleep. It was supposed to be a 2000 word short for fun but the words refused to quit coming.

    I write when it hits me to write. Many times at one or two in the morning I’ll start with no set end.

    Sometimes I plot it out a little but many of mine are more liner, I start writing and can’t wait to see how it turns out myself.

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