Sticking to a Writing Schedule

It's weird about writing, right? We want to do it, but actually sitting down and doing it can be really hard sometimes.

For me, struggling to write has several reasons:

  1. The things I really want to write don't bring in much cash upfront.
  2. After a while, I start to resent my money-making writing.
  3. I have a hard time writing things I don't want to write when I'm in a bad mood or things in other parts of my life aren't going well.
  4. My biggest moneymaker is really boring.
  5. I don't do well with feeling like I have to do something.

So, how do we combat the resistance?

Scheduling is important, I think. It's really easy, when you're working from home, to end up work that just never ends. With no start and quit time, there is no pressure to--well, start or finish. If you're like me, you might find yourself trying to squeeze in all of your day's work-for-pay in between when the kids go to bed and when you do. Or maybe you just kind of float through the day, doing a little here and a little there, and never giving yourself permission to do writing you really want to do, because you're not done with your pay work yet. Or ever.

Sometimes these two combine, and you don't work on your pay work and you also don't work on your heart work, because you haven't done your pay work yet, but you don't want to do your pay work . . . ugh.

I can write 10 articles for Demand Studios, about $150 worth, in five hours. But, it can take me all day. Or, I might only get half as much done because I don't ever get to it until 9 p.m. And meantime, I don't work on my novel at all, because I still have pay work to do.

I try to have set hours in the morning and the evening for my Demand Studios work. If I give myself 2 or 2 1/2 hours in the morning to write and 2 or 2 1/2 hours in the evening to research the next day's stories, I can get a lot done without driving myself crazy, and have my best creative afternoon hours open for my novel. I'm an early bird, usually awake by about 6 a.m., so I usually spend the early hours blogging and doing other work that doesn't pay immediately.

It doesn't always work. I don't always stick to my schedule. Sometimes I get less done in the time I have set aside. I know that having an office once we move will help. There is just way too much other stuff to do when I'm at home. In the meantime, having scheduled days off and scheduled hours during my work days for pay work is really important.

How do you stay motivated to write for money, when all you want to do is work on your novel or poetry or that memoir you've had brewing on a back burner for a while?

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Shaunta Grimes blogs about freelance writing at Will Write for Peanuts.

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