Showing posts with label writing schedule. Show all posts
Showing posts with label writing schedule. Show all posts

Evaluate Your Work Week Every Friday

If you're a writer, every Friday you should spend some time looking back over the marketing plan and writing schedule you created on Sunday or Monday to evaluate how you've spent your work week.

If you follow your marketing plan during the week, on Friday you should feel pretty good about the progress you've made the last few days.

And, you should have marked off several items on your "to do" list each day.

But every Friday, as you're evaluating what you've done during the last 5 days, also be on the lookout for behaviors and actions that you've taken that were not on your marketing plan - actions that really didn't move you any closer to your major career goals for the year.

For example, how much time did you spend on Facebook or Twitter during the week, just sharing cute pictures, interesting quotes, or silly sayings?

Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are great for writers like you.

But only when used strategically.

Otherwise, they can rob you of valuable writing time.

Were there actions on the week's marketing plan that you KNOW would help move you closer to your goals, yet you didn't take these actions because you felt a little "uncomfortable" about them?

For example, did you plan to query a magazine with an article idea, yet you didn't get the query written for fear it would be rejected?

OR - did you plan to contact some local businesses with proposals for writing services you could offer them, but then you "chickened out" and didn't get this done?

Obviously, the first thing to evaluate each Friday is whether you even had a marketing plan and writing schedule in place for the week.

If you didn't have these things in place, then your first task for the coming week is to get your marketing plan and writing schedule created.

Think of this - The life you are living and the success you are experiencing right now are a direct result of the actions you've been taking day after day, week after week.

If you aren't happy with your life and/or your business right now, then you need to get tough on yourself and start taking the actions that will ultimately lead to the life and business you really want.

Evaluating how you spend your time each week will help you realize what you need to do differently the following week if you are finally going to get serious about reaching your goals.

Try it!

For daily writing tips, resources, and other helpful information to build your writing career or your writing business, get your free subscription to The Morning Nudge now at or visit

Suzanne Lieurance is a freelance writer, the author of over 35 published books, and a writing coach.

Time Management Tips

First off, I want to wish you a very Joyous Holiday Season from all of us at WOTM ! We appreciate you all and wish you the best!  

Time Management is a hot topic periodically. Today I want to offer you two ideas to consider if you haven’t already done so. We juggle meetings and deadlines, step-out goal plans, and handle a myriad of correspondence tasks each day. How do we keep track of all of this? It takes experimenting until we find the best system that fits for each of us. Almost every system requires modification to work well. So, we need a flexible system.

I set up a color highlighted Goal Plan spreadsheet on Excel to list my: 

•    Year End Completion Goals
•    Monthly Deadlines
•    Meeting Commitments
•    Weekly Progress
•    Columns for notes

Does it work well? Yes, as a birds-eye view for the year. I keep it on my desk but only refer to it periodically. But, does it help guide my work day by day? No. I need something more.

Two writing friends referred me to the Best Self Journal goal and scheduling strategy. (Check it out: ) It’s an interesting and effective way to stay on top of your schedule and increase your efficiency. 

My schedule has several areas of repetition each day. Because of this, the daily log didn’t work for me. I used a spreadsheet to adapt a weekly schedule.  The graphic above is what I set up to incorporate several areas of the Best Self Journal plan. After a few weeks, I found I wasn’t relying on my plan but rather continued to scratch notes here and there.

Talking about the Best Self Journal with another writer brought up her scheduling strategy—The Bullet Journal. She showed me how she was successful in using the Bullet Journal over several months. So, I tried it. I set up my Index, Future Log for the next 6 months, Monthly Log and Daily logs (as a ‘week at a glance’). I liked how it flowed for a month and have continued. It’s working! 

It is hand written, but I find that setting up my pages at the beginning of each month helps me re-focus and doesn’t take long. I use a dot grid notebook (~5.75” X 8.25”) and insert tabs for the Index and active Month. Check out the Bullet Journal: .

I’d appreciate hearing about your time management strategies. Please comment. Thanks much.

Deborah Lyn Stanley is a writer, artist, and editor. She is a retired project manager who now devotes her time to writing, art and caregiving mentally impaired seniors. Deborah writes articles, essays and stories. She has published a collection of 24 artists’ interviews entitled the Artists Interview Series. Careful editing preserves each artist’s voice as they share their journey. The series published as monthly articles for an online news network, can also be found on her web-blog: Deborah Lyn Stanley : My Writer's Life . Her “How-To” articles have appeared in magazines.

“Write your best, in your voice, your way!”

New Writers: Balancing Personal Life and Writing Career

Are you trying to create and maintain a writing schedule, only to have distractions or interruptions?

It takes trial and error along with time and effort to balance your personal life and writing career. You are working from home and that makes you vulnerable. If you don't manage your day well you won't be productive. Eventually, you will get discouraged, make little progress, and maybe even give up.

How do you balance your personal life and a writing career?

There is a practical side and an emotional side in approaching this. 

First, the practical:

Make an effort to give yourself “business hours” and stick to them;  both with yourself and with clients. Let everyone know what those hours are, and make sure they’re respected – from both sides.
He continues to say there are exceptions but make sure they are just that - exceptions. 

Identify the distractions from working at home and you will be ready when they come. Navigate through them and learn to manage them.

What you can control:

  • Your schedule for writing.
  • Muting your cell phone, closing personal email and social media sites.
  • Not answering the door.
  • Not allowing friends, family or your children interrupt unless it is an emergency.
Then there is the emotional side to life. We are not machines that input-output. We are human and we face difficult times.

What you cannot control:
  • Illness (yours) - temporary or chronic
  • Illness (others) - and your help is needed
  • Death in the family
  • Computer problems
  • Personal situations in marriage, family, or friends.
Here in the Northeast, sometimes the gray, cloudy winters seem to go on forever. If you face a serious situation out of your control, think of it as a season you will get through. It doesn't mean you don't write. It means you go easy on yourself and be flexible with your schedule. Your schedule is the framework and sometimes adjustments must be made.

Don't think of it as losing ground, even though the difficult season may be long. Often, the situations we find ourselves in ends up making us stronger, along with providing more writing ideas. 

It's all in how you look at it. Allow your personal life, the good, the bad, and the ugly, to positively shape who you are and let your writing flourish.

How about you? Have you found a good balance? Or are you struggling? 

Everyone is different. There is no one size fits all. Please share your thoughts and tips in the comment section.

Acer Chromebook on the white desk


After raising and homeschooling her 8 children and teaching art classes for 10 years, Kathy has found time to pursue freelance writing. She enjoys writing magazine articles and more recently had her story, "One of a Kind", published in The Kids' ArkYou can find her passion to bring encouragement and hope to people of all ages at When It Hurts

Why a Writing Schedule is Important - Help for New Writers

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.  
Chinese Proverb 

One of the first hurdles for new writers who want to begin a writing career is creating a schedule. It can be daunting to figure out how you can find the time if you are in the midst of raising a family or working full time. Even if you are retired, life can still be busy. Some of my retired friends say they're busier!

Writing is creative and I write when I'm inspired. When an idea hits, I love to let the words flow. It's incredibly fulfilling. 

But if I wanted to be serious about my writing career, I had to tap into the logical function of my brain and make a schedule. Otherwise, I would have many unfinished projects laying around.

You may have a book burning inside of you. Keep that long term goal but consider one or two short term goals to gain practice, improve your skills, and make money. Magazine fillers, articles, and resumes are some ideas.

Once your writing goals are in place for the year, create a plan to meet those goals. Your writing schedule will make those objectives happen.
  • Are you a night owl? Morning person? Once you've figured out the best time to write, make the time. An hour every morning? Two hours each night? If you cannot write every day, choose specific days of the week and stick to it. 
       There will be times you don't feel like writing. This is normal.  But 
       keep in mind this great tip: never miss twice. If you skip your scheduled
       time of writing, don't skip the next one.

       Don't be afraid to adjust your schedule if it isn't working. Better to start            small and gradually build than to over extend yourself and give up.
  • Your writing time should have no interruptions. Turn off your phone, log out of your email, and write. Treat it as business because that's exactly what it is.
       When you begin producing, you will feel good about yourself and keep
  • Build an online presence. What are your interests? Write about it in a blog. Network with others in your niche. Visit blogs and leave thoughtful comments. Soon you will build your own audience.
  • Check online job boards for freelance work. Make it a point to schedule this time in so you will always have a project you are working on.
  • Don't forget to schedule time to learn new skills. There are writers' groups and many free and affordable courses available available online. 
Try it and this time next year you will be encouraged with your success!

Photo credit: gtall1 / Foter / CC BY


   After raising and homeschooling her 8 children and teaching art classes for 10 years, Kathy has found time to pursue freelance writing. She enjoys writing magazine articles and more recently had her story, "One of a Kind", published in The Kids' ArkYou can find her passion to bring encouragement and hope to people of all ages at When It Hurts

Gearing Up for September

Around here, September marks a fresh start. After 3 months of fun in the sun, it will feel good to get back into a routine. It's also a good time to review the year, reflect on successes, and make changes if necessary.

Here are some tips that will help you cross the finish line of meeting your goal(s) at the end of the year:
  • Work Space - Do you need to do some filing and organizing? Are there outdated post-it- notes stuck around your space? Is your chair comfortable? Do you have enough room? How is the lighting? I recently moved my desk to another part of the room and it really made a difference.
  • Supplies - School supplies are being sold everywhere at some really good prices. Now is the time to stock up! I like the composition notebooks (used come only in black and white) that now come in lots of colors. I use one for each project I'm doing. Every idea, deadline, contact, etc., goes in the color-designated notebook. I've found this works best for me instead of a file folder for current projects. 
  • Schedule - How is your writing schedule working? Are you taking ground? Even if it feels slow and steady, it counts! Are you trying to work in the morning, when you do your best at night? Have you been able to balance your personal life with your professional life? Take a good look at your writing routine. If you're not producing what you had planned, it's a good indication something needs to change. Don't be afraid to do it.
While practical tips are important for success, are you enjoying the journey? Are you pacing yourself so you don't miss the "little things"? Or are you sprinting to the finish line and the scenery has been a blur?

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Life is a journey, not a destination." Isn't it true we can be so focused on where we need to go that we are not enjoying how we're getting there? 

As summer ends and a new season begins, I hope you'll review your year thus far and be energized in the coming months. But mostly, I hope you're enjoying the process!

  After raising and homeschooling her 8 children and teaching art classes for 10 years, Kathy has found time to pursue freelance writing. She enjoys writing magazine articles and more recently had her story, "One of a Kind", published in The Kids' ArkYou can find her passion to bring encouragement and hope to people of all ages at When It Hurts

Writing Commitment - It Can Be a Positive Thing

Guest Post by Irene S. Roth

    Most writers hate the word commitment because it usually has negative overtones. To be committed is to dutifully complete a project or to create an obligation to write a certain amount every day. So, commitment always requires something from writers. Is there any way of viewing commitment in a much more positive light so that writers don’t panic at the very thought of commitment?

    Commitment in itself doesn’t have negative overtones. Writers have to reframe what it means to be committed to their writing projects. Without commitments, it can be difficult for writers to actually complete writing projects on time. And many times if writers work with publishers and editors, they will have to make many time commitments to complete projects. That is all a part of the writing life and being a professional writer.

    There are ways of viewing commitment in a positive light.  Here are a few such ways.

1.    Commitments can give writers structure

Many times, writers tend to find it hard to schedule writing projects. However, if a writer commits to the project, she will create a writing schedule to complete the project in a timely fashion. And this will boast the writer’s self-confidence, productivity and success quotient.

2.    Commitments can help writers complete projects

So many writers have a difficult time completing writing projects. They start off being on fire and motivated but as time goes on their motivation dwindles and the drive to complete projects is curtailed if not ruined altogether. Many times, this is because other things and life intervenes.  But most times it is because our motivations tend to fluctuate.  Commitments can solidify a writer’s motivations and make them firmer.

3.    Commitments can help the writer determine the most important writing goals

So many things come across a writer’s desk in a given week. If a writer doesn’t make commitments to certain writing projects, she will probably take on projects and assignments that will take her any closer to completing her own main writing projects. Commitments can change that by ensuring that the writer does first things first at all times.

Given all the benefits of creating commitments, writers can’t afford not to commit to writing projects. After they have committed to them, they will be able to take steps to complete their most important projects and be successful. This will create self-confidence and ensure that the writer can start the next project and complete it too after this particular project is complete.

So, writers should reframe how they view commitments. Instead of being something negative, commitment can be positive and ensure that the writer will be most successful. And once a writer completes one project that she committed to, she will be able to commit to others as well. 

Try it!

Irene S. Roth
Freelance Writer, Author, and Editor

Irene writes for teens, tweens, and kids about self-empowerment. She currently has two empowerment books published, one for tweens and one for kids. She also leads workshops on the craft of writing through Savvy Authors.


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Writing for Children – Which Came First, the Chicken or the Egg?
The Dossier – Who is the Character?

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Growing a Writing Career

Beginning a writing career is like planting a garden. It takes time and patience. Depending on the crop, the harvest can be from a few weeks to months away.

When planting a garden, you first have to pick out a spot with the right conditions for optimum growth.
  • Do you have a spot for writing? A desk, calendar, file cabinet, computer, and anything else you need to grow as a writer? Having a place that feels professional really makes a difference. You can write anywhere, but in order to get yourself thinking in terms of making money, a corner in the house with all the proper tools will give you a place for your writing business.
Next, preparation - working up the soil and amending if necessary. 
  • What do you want to write? You may have many ideas. Choose one you know the most about. If you are a mother, you may have great ideas to submit to a parenting magazine. If you have fond childhood memories spending summers in Maine with your grandfather and his lobster business, you may want to write a children's book. Dig deeply and think about what's in your heart. It won't limit your ideas, but it will give you a place to start.
Time to plant! The seeds or plants have to be selected.
  • Do you have goals? You have to know what you want to plant in your garden. Once you choose what you want to write, make a goal by the end of this year so you will have a harvest. If you want to write for magazines, perhaps your goal is to have 3 articles written and submitted. If you want to write a children's book, perhaps your goal is to have a rough draft completed. 
Watering, weeding, and fertilizing.
  • Do you have a writing schedule in place? A garden will flourish with proper care. If you don't select the days and times you will write, chances are your writing will be sporadic (watering) and your business won't grow. If it doesn't get done, you won't make money. There is a tendency to over schedule. You will know if you do. Just eliminate (weed) the days or  hours out of your schedule that are stifling your success. It's better to schedule 3 hours a week and stick with it than to schedule 6 hours and miss the mark.  
Your schedule will include weekly objectives (fertilize) to meet your goal:
  1.  Network with other writers and authors. Here you will find support, suggestions, and  guidance to help you know what books to read or classes to take for your style or genre.
  2.  Research your topic. If you're writing historical fiction, you have to be accurate about the  history. If you're writing an article for a magazine, you have to become familiar with the magazine and  writer's guidelines.
  3.  Build your platform. This is included with networking with other writers, but it also includes  having a blog or website. Who you are and what you write about will be reflected in your site.
  4.  Write. This is the actual writing you will do on your project. Are you a morning person or night  owl? What time or day works for you? 
  5.  Prioritize. You are starting a business. You have to take it seriously and your family and friends  have to take it seriously. Unless it's an emergency, treat your schedule as if you were going to a job  outside your home. Would you be able to leave work to help someone? Make it a priority to decide  when and if you will forgo your work schedule. 
  6.  Submit and Query. I know many beginning writers who have not taken the next step of submitting  or querying their work. What good is a garden if you don't pick the produce? Fear of rejection, lack  of confidence, or low self-esteem are all possible reasons. You have to take some risks to be  successful.  It's like  pruning. When you snip a plant in the right places, the promise is better growth.
  7. Patience. If you've planted a garden, you know it requires patience. The harvest is weeks or months away. I am just picking ripe tomatoes that I planted in May. I have a hydrangea that I've babied along for 3 years and just saw some buds. But then there are the radishes and  green beans that seemed to grow overnight. 
When I became serious about freelance writing, I had so many ideas I didn't know where to begin. I have 2-3 book ideas, but I also knew I wanted to make money as a writer in the very near future. Do I write resumes? Do I write for local publications? Do I take a course and get some credentials under my belt? I had to start organizing my thoughts since I was overwhelmed with information. Then it hit me - writing short pieces was a better fit for me than a book. So the book ideas are currently set aside for now, and I am regularly working on submitting to magazines. The book ideas will eventually be scheduled in. 

Where are you in your writing career? If you're just beginning, you may have lots of ideas to write about. But if you don't plant those ideas and keep to a regular schedule each week, you won't have a successful harvest.

Go for it! You have something to offer the world.


Kathy Moulton is a published freelance writer. You can find her passion to bring encouragement and hope to people of all ages at When It Hurts -

Launching Into Success

  How to Become a Successful Freelance Writer

In a nutshell: write, submit, write, submit. 

Okay, there's more to it than that. But if you don't actually have a plan you will not be successful.

After 18 months of learning, thinking, and taking some baby steps with freelance writing, I carved out this week of July 15 – 20 to get serious. The goal is to launch a working schedule to stick with regularly. 

Sometimes, the conditions have to be just right for success. After 30 years of raising a family, homeschooling, and helping with our dairy and maple syrup business, I am now in a season of transition. And the conditions are right.

So, with my 11 year old off to camp, the always-available wife, mother, and friend had to make sure this was my week. It’s day 2 and I am thrilled at what I am accomplishing.

As I have been implementing all of the wonderful lessons which I have learned here at WOTM, and from other seasoned authors, I had to take a step back to not lose myself in the logistics. I believe in hard work. But I also believe one can get buried in crossing all the “T”s and dotting all the “I”s (pun intended) - to the point of not dreaming big and following your instincts.

One bit of advice I had printed off last January helped me find balance this week. On the topic of marketing strategies, Holly Weiss writes in Scaling the Marketing Ladder in One Fell Swoop:

“Are you trying to get your opinions, writing skills, or articles noticed? Do you spend hours a day reading advice from well-meaning experts on how to drive traffic to you blog?”

Yup! That’s me. Trying to get it all figured out before I moved off of square one. Thing is, I wasn't going anywhere. I was getting buried under a heap of "getting it right" and all I was getting was overwhelmed. 

Holly's advice was like a welcoming breeze. It filled out my sail and I started moving.

She continues to say, “Down deep, you know your own best marketing tactics. Find your talent and put it out in front of the public – consistently.” 

"Down deep, you know..."

This, coupled with the technical advice from seasoned authors, helped me find the right combination to set sail.

Only you know when the conditions are right. Learn, learn, learn. But don't be afraid to make a move when down deep you know yourself. Don't let too many opinions overwhelm you and hold you back.

Fair winds!

*Edit: week 2 and I'm sticking to my writing schedule!

Photo Credit: Jared and Corin

You can find her passion to bring encouragement and hope to people of all ages at When It Hurts -

Striving to Be a Better Writer by Writing More

Do you write everyday? Do you make sure you get some writing time in each week, if not daily?

If you answered yes to either of these questions, you should have noticed an improvement in your writing, and possibly an improvement in the speed at which you are able to write. But, that’s not all. You will also find it easier to think of topics to write about.

This is especially true if you do article marketing or ghostwrite articles for other writers, blogs, or businesses. The more articles you write, the better you’ll get at it. The more writing of any type you do, the better you’ll get, just like the adage, ‘practice makes perfect.’

But, what does it mean to get better at writing?


One aspect of writing improvement is the ability to create a well structured article or story. It should begin with an interesting or hooking introduction. The beginning lets the reader know what the piece will be about. And, it should move smoothly into the middle. You might think of the beginning as the appetizer to a meal.

The middle is the content substance. You let the reader know what the story will be about in the beginning, the middle follows through and embellishes on the topic. The middle is the meat and potatoes of the story or article, and it should move smoothly into the ending, or conclusion.

The ending wraps things up. It should wrap up any loose ends and tie the piece up into a nice package. It needs to leave the reader satisfied. You can think of the ending as the dessert.

The more you write, the easier it becomes to create content that is well structured and smooth.


Another aspect writers strive for in their writing is clarity. Along with a well structure piece, you need it to be clear, easily understood. It needs to have focus.

Think of your story as having a road map. You need to get from point A to point C (beginning, middle, and end) with as little deviation as possible. Your reader is following you down the road and you don’t want to lose him.

If you give your reader any reason to pause or divert his attention from the main point of your story, you’ll lose him. People have a short attention span today; they want the information as quickly as possible and with as little effort as possible.

If you write non-fiction and your topic is about health, don’t go off on a tangent about today’s political climate, unless it’s in regard to the stress it adds to your everyday life, and thus the harmful effects it has on your health.

The more you write, the easier it becomes to create content that is focused and lean.

The Writing Time Issue

There are a number of writers who give themselves daily writing quotas. Some may choose thirty minutes a day, others 500 to 1000 words per day. There are also those writers who feel too pressured having to fulfill a daily writing quota, so they choose to create weekly quotas, or just set time aside for writing.

One problem just about every writer faces is time. Even if you work from home, by the time you read and respond to your emails, keep up with your blogs, do your social networking, and keep up your family and household duties, the day can just slip away. That’s why it’s so important to have some kind of weekly writing plan or schedule in place and do your best to stick to it.

Bottom line, if you’re a writer it’s important to write regularly, if not every day, as often as you can. As with any craft, the more you practice or work at it, the better you’ll get.


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Karen Cioffi
Multi-award Winning Author, Freelance/Ghostwriter, Editor, Online Marketer
Writer’s Digest Website of the Week, June 25, 2012

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