Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Becoming a career writer step 1: Routine

So you love to write, you think you have a talent and you want to make this craft your career. Now what? Making writing a career takes a lot of discipline and focus. For six years writing was my part-time career. I thought it would be easy to make that switch to full-time writer but it wasn’t. I learned quickly the importance and value of a routine.

Being a writer comes with many challenges. First, you’re your own boss. Now this may sound wonderful but it means that no one is there to make you do your work. Even when you have an agent and/or publisher, you are still the person you face each day that needs motivation and drive to meet deadlines. Procrastination via reading, watching television or giving into any other fun activities are temptations constantly present. So how can you tackle procrastination and other negative factors to become a serious career writer? You must have a strict routine. Here are some tips to get you on a successful routine.

Get to “work” early and at a consistent time. You may not have a traditional job but you still must wake up early and go to work. I believe having a set workspace is crucial to becoming a career writer. I turned my third bedroom into an office. Do not sleep late and get to your “office” when you feel like it. In a traditional job that would get you fired, in a writing career that behavior will keep you from being successful.

Create a weekly schedule for work goals. For example, I have a blog and freelance columns. I have set days and times that I devote to these scheduled activities. I publish this blog every Wednesday and Friday. I publish my Special Needs Dog Care Examiner column every Tuesday and Thursday. In keeping this schedule I can help manage my time with these projects to make sure they get done without taking too much time away from my “big picture” goals, my books. I typically write all my blogs and columns on Sunday evening so that all I’ll need to do on the day of is revise and publish.

Prioritize your writing goals. As a freelance writer, it’s easy to get wrapped up in freelance projects that are bringing in money, and lose sight of main goals. To keep my priorities in check, I schedule freelance writing time and book writing time.

Take yourself seriously. You are the only person that can keep you from meeting your goals as a career writer. You also know yourself better than anyone. Set a routine that will work for you and STICK WITH IT!!!!!

What routines work for you? How did you create your routine?


  1. Great tips! For me, as I am also a homeschool mom, my routine involves making sure I do something with my writing every day, do some reading every day, and hopefully some critique work every day. How much of any of these that gets done depends on all types of factors, not the least of which is my children (ages 5 and 6). As long as all of these things are getting done and moving forward, I am happy.

    Some nights I stay up really late reading (which is my writing inspiration), or I pull a late night writing, which leaves me waking up late the next day--one of the beauties of homeschooling is the ability to sleep in and do school in your jammies--but I do see the value in trying to keep a set schedule. I just don't seem to work that way lol! Kind of like the pantser/plotter thing. I am a full on plotter, can't imagine doing the pantser approach, but it works awesome for some. Same with a set schedule I guess. I try to stick to them and all they do is stress me out, but I can see others thriving with them.

    And now I've written a book in your comments here so I will shut up :-) Have a great day girl

  2. Absolutely! There are so many distractions that you can't avoid but it's continuously moving forward to meet your daily writing goal that will be your guide to success.

  3. Rachel- I know the feeling! I'm actually my most productive between 5:15 am- 8am before my daughter wakes up. After that point the day could go many ways so that is why other than my early morning work time I set goals listed in AM and PM. I make them small and manageable, that way I feel really good when I get more done than originally planned!

  4. Phillip- My current distractions that must be conquered are the History and Science Channels! Those can be addicting!

  5. A routine is CRUCIAL for me. Especially when you have kids/family, etc.
    Now if I could only do it with my workouts. *sigh*

    New follower. *waves hello* Nice to 'meet' you. :)


  6. Hello Lola and thank you for the follow! I can relate to working with family/baby and yes I too need to be better at scheduling workouts!:-)

  7. I'm a homeschooler too. I know the joy of just being able to get up and write/have school in our pajamas. LOL.

    I do find that a routine helps me be the most productive though. I try to get up at 06 every morning and get my morning pages out of the way first. I need to get better at setting concrete goals though.