What’s Your Writing Schedule?

In a recent post by Jeremy TeG, we heard about Gene Wolfe’s classic science fantasy series, The Book of the New Sun. A highly successful set of five novels based mostly in the fantastical, far future Urth, the series is an inspiration to aspiring writers in all genres. But how did Wolfe find the time to pen the 950+ pages?

Patrick Wayland gave us a clue in an earlier post that linked to an interview with Wolfe. Before he became a full-time writer, Wolfe said he would “write for about an hour before work on workdays, and then I would write on Saturdays and Sundays. That left my afternoons and evenings free to play with my kids or read to them. And then in those days—and believe me, I no longer do this—anytime I woke up after 4:00 a.m., I stayed up and I wrote. I stopped writing when Rosemary called down to me that breakfast was ready. When I left off editing, I increased the time I spent writing by a factor of three.”

It takes plenty of discipline, or ambition, to stick to a rigorous schedule, but Wolfe shows it is possible to write regularly even when dealing with the demands of a job and family.

James Clear asks a chilling question: How many people die with their best work still inside them?

As Clear’s interesting post on the writing habits of famous authors shows, there’s no one perfect schedule to suit all. Some of us bound out of bed ready to write for two or three hours before the rest of the house rises; others seclude themselves with a laptop and a glass of wine late at night while the world sleeps. But one thing most successful writers do have in common is that they had some kind of self-imposed discipline around their writing habits.

What’s your writing schedule? How do you force yourself to stick to it?The_British_Reoccupation_of_Burma_SE6867


One thought on “What’s Your Writing Schedule?

  1. Routine is critical to me. Since basically every idea I have is for a novel, I would go crazy without lots of writing time. LOTS.

    For me there is a particular coffee shop with just the right atmosphere. It is family run, and I know the owner as a friend. No employees there being baristas part-time during college. It has fast WiFi, lots of electrical outlets, a sandwich I like, comfortable but firm chairs, and really good mochachinos. This small but well-developed business owes its longevity to a small but dedicated family of repeat clientele, so I know almost everyone who frequents the place. It has just the right amount of noise, and unlike other Taiwanese coffee places I’ve been, it’s kept warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Also the music is uninterrupted by any chatting in English between the songs. It is so distracting for me to hear English when I’m writing, but I don’t mind listening to Chinese, which I can choose to pay attention to or totally tune out.

    The owner and I joke that the coffee shop is my second office. Being a writer is my second job, so why shouldn’t I have a second office? Free from distraction and glued to my chair with one purpose, you can find me there 4-5 days a week, from the time I’m up and (when the forecast is good) returned from surfing until I need to get to work in the evening.

    I’m exceptionally lucky because my partner and I do not want children. We talk all the time about how we couldn’t do half the things we do if we had little ones in the house. It’s not the lifestyle for everyone, but it’s been the right path for us. It also really pushes me to not be lazy. When I meet other authors who are as or more productive than I am, and they have children, I ask myself, “How on earth is that possible?” And in my amazement, I’m driven to turn out even more even faster. I have no excuses. “If they can do it, I can do it,” I say, so if you are like me and don’t have children, let us be honest and never say “I don’t have time to write.”

    -Bradley Verdell


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