On being accountable and building a realistic writing routine

Like most people who choose to write as a hobby, I struggle when it comes to finding a realistic writing routine. I have days or weeks when I feel inspired and manage to carve out regular slots of time to sit down and write; however, these bursts of writing energy tend to be followed by months of complete inactivity. I am getting tired of this vicious circle. I’ve looked into many tools and methods that help create new habits, but have not used any of them in a consistent enough manner fort them to truly be of help. So I’ve decided to start again, and use this blog as a way of staying accountable. I’ll write every week to share what I have (or have not) achieved and the tools I’ve used to do that…

1) First things first – Setting writing goals

I used to have a boss that would constantly ask me to set out my 5-year plan. That used to drive me mad, as there is no way I can think (and plan) so far ahead. I can have a vague idea of what I want, but I struggle with the details when there are so many unknowns. I find short and medium term goals easier to work with.

So  here go my short and medium term goals:

Short goal: Come up with one story/play idea a day for 31 days (I’ve started this on 1 August). My initial intention was to follow the “31 plays in 31 days project”, but I soon realised that I didn’t have the time (or the energy) to write a full play (even if they were in short format) every day. However, I thought it would be a good enough challenge to come up with an interesting and fleshy idea every day (something I can develop into a full-length play later on).

Medium term goal: To have finished, to a good standard, two short plays by end of the year.

I’ve got some longer term goals in my head, but for now I’ll only focus on these two…

2) Getting organised – Finding time to write:

Finding time to write and staying focused are two key things I need to master if I want to achieve my goal. Because I have two 15 month old babies, work full-time and have other side projects, finding a regular spot to write is almost impossible. I’ve tried getting up before the babies or staying up late but soon accepted that I need to embrace flexibility and write whenever, wherever. Having a clear daily goal hugely helps, I find that as the end of the day approaches I have more urgency to write. What helps me stay focus and keep my writing “sacred” and separate from the rest of the world that surrounds me, is using the “Pomodoro Technique”. I break-down my writing into slots of 25 minutes. The more I can fit in a day, the better. But to my amazement, even with only one Pomodoro slot a day, I manage to write a lot. I strongly recommend this technique for people who struggle to find time or tend to procrastinate…

3) Staying accountable:

Apart from using this blog to stay accountable, I’ve picked a “habit tracker” app from one of the many available out there, to make sure I mark every day and reward myself for my achievements…

Because I’m not so concerned about my word count this time, I’ve ignored word counting apps…

So with that… I’ll go and set the clock for my next writing session!



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. G. R. McNeese
    Aug 10, 2015 @ 13:46:28

    I’m having a hard time building a writing routine. I struggle with procrastination a lot. And finding time to write is just as difficult. I try to write on my lunch breaks whenever I can. It’s not easy when you have one car and have to take your sister-in-law to work. I have reminders on my phone to write in my journal app, One Day. For the most part, I fulfill that requirement. But writing in a notebook takes more commitment. I could set a reminder for that, but as I said, the times vary.

    I applaud you for taking the time to develop your own routine. Everyone’s is different. And if you don’t meet a goal, it’s not the end of the world. Perhaps, I should follow my own advice.


    • julizach
      Aug 17, 2015 @ 01:50:01

      Thank you for the comment! I haven’t tried One Day yet, I’ll check it out! I’ve just started using “Way of Life” for tracking the days when I write and so far it’s working really well. My moto is: every little counts!


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