Monday, August 2, 2010

Organizing Your Days on a Weekly Basis

A lot of writers ask me about my writing schedule. As a full-time writer, I have multiple streams of income so I have to manage my time carefully. But it doesn't matter whether you write as a calling, a hobby or a business. We all perform better when we have expectations and a way to judge results. For those of you just starting out, here are some suggestions.

  • Set small, measurable goals
  • Under estimate the time you'll be able to put in
  • Adjust your goal setting to a weekly mode, rather than daily
  • Weekly Word Count Goal
One of the things I've found most helpful when setting word count goals is to set my goal for the week rather than the day. I still have two teenagers in and out of the house so sometimes life interrupts life. To combat this, I set a weekly wordcount goal for my fiction endeavors. Then, I break it down into daily totals. If I miss a day's goal, I can make it up later in the week and I don't wind up feeling like I've failed.

Weekly Project Goal
some of you may work on more than just a novels. You may also work on smaller projects, like articles or devotions. If that's the case, try to set a goal of one devotion or article a week, instead of a word count for those projects.

Revolving Weekly Goal
You might want to try something I call a revolving weekly goal. This is where you have a different goal every week for 3 weeks and then it starts over. The first week you might complete a small project. The next week, you look for markets where you can sell it. The third week you might spend learning about the craft of writing. Then you begin the cycle again.

Whatever method works for you is the BEST method.

Just remember, that no matter how early or how far along you are on your writing journey we all need to spend time studying the craft of writing. That can be done through reading books, attending a seminar or conference, or reading blogs and websites.

All of these are necessary for us as writers to improve our craft.

So what have you found works best for you? Share your insights with the rest of us - please!


  1. Great advice. I always try to keep things orderly, but I'll admit, I've never thought about the rotating method, altho I've used it. Thanks!

  2. What a great post--I could use some organization, and your three week cycle sounds like the very thing. Thanks!

  3. I really like this. It's innovative and creative. I'd been toying with the idea of weekly goals/wordcounts or even monthly arrangements with a different emphasis each week. I'm bookmarking this post and returning to it to ponder.

  4. I'm so glad you all have found this helpful! I have to have a way to mark my progress and this works well for me.

  5. Well, Edie, we both posted on setting goals this week. Sounds like it's something we REALLY need to do! Thanks for the confirmation!

  6. Very helpful info! About 3 weeks ago, I began setting a goal of writing an hour a day on my novel, articles, or devotions. It has really helped me and after 21 days, it is becoming a habit. I have the sense that I'm not just talking about writing, I'm doing it! I also set aside time each week to find magazines who I can send my articles to. Thanks Edie!

  7. Edie,

    This was just the advice I needed! Daily goals have left me discouraged in the past, but setting them as weekly goals seems to make more sense with six kids in our house. I also like the 3 week goal cycle and will try that as well.

  8. Edie,
    With the school year approaching us, I've been thinking about my new schedule, balancing the marketing, speaking and writing. What you have shared has helped me feel like I can breathe a little bit better by making the word count by week. Thanks so much! Sarah Bush