Should you set aside a regular time to write?

More importantly than setting aside space to write, writers must set set aside time to write. The only way to become a published author, after all, is to produce a manuscript that can be published. If you instead wait for inspiration to strike, it may come so rarely that years could be spent penning just a draft of a novel.

To write every day requires self-discipline. While “forcing” yourself to do so initially may be difficult, eventually you build up writing momentum; that is, you train your brain to be creative and frequently will end the session even knowing what you want to write the next day.

There are several ways you can build momentum during those first difficult days:
• Come to your writing session knowing what you will write – All too often novice writers head to a coffeeshop or library to write but once there have no idea what they will write about. Always come to a writing session at least knowing what scene in your story you will write.
• Change your location – Sometimes the space you write in negatively affects the time you spend writing. There may be too much noise, too many interruptions from family and friends, or too many distractions. If you’re not productive in an environment, change it until you find one where words are able to flow.
• Write with a partner – I don’t mean co-author a book but sit at the same table with another person who also wants to write. The presence of another writer polices your bad habit of procrastination and actually helps you focus. Sometimes you can find writers willing to do such such sprints on Twitter or other social media.

Be realistic about how much time you set aside to write. If you block out several hours a day to write, you probably will find that for much of the day you have no creative steam and achieve nothing.

Finally, some caveats:
• Be flexible – Often you can’t write the same time every day because of work obligations, travel, family responsibilities, and other hindrances to a set schedule. On such days, write earlier or later than usual, so if you always write between 5 and 6 a.m. but can’t one day, then do so for an hour later in the afternoon or evening when you can.
• Not every writing session will be successful – Some days the words you write will need a major revision, some days they will be almost perfect just as you wrote them. Don’t let the “bad” writing days bother you. At least you wrote, and rest assured because of it you are improving as a writer.
• Take a break – Sometimes you need to recharge your batteries, so every seventh day, don’t write. You might set aside that hour to read writing tips or to revise your manuscript.


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.