An Almost Full-Time Writer's Schedule
So this week, I decided to let you in on what my schedule is like writing full-time (or mostly full-time, since I’m a college student as well as a writer). I will be doing another one of these when the fall semester for my college starts to give you an idea of what it’s like to be going to school full-time AND writing. Currently, I am only taking one class, so my schedule is a bit roomier.
Now, the reason I’m doing this is to show you that writing can be quite a bit of work, especially if you are a student or have a job. I don’t want to discourage you from writing, but I do want you to be prepared. It’s not just sitting at the desk all day, cranking out a novel in record time. There are other things you have to consider. So here’s the daily writing breakdown, along with why certain items were included:
Actual Writing – 2 hours, or until 2,000 words are reached
Blog Posts – 30 minutes
Researching literary magazines – 30 minutes
Submitting to literary magazines – 30 minutes
Social Media Promotion – 30 minutes
Reading to study writing – 2 hours
Critiques for Writing Group/Editing – 1 hour (or more if I have an editing job)
Editing Internship – 1 hour
Total (max) – 8 hours
Now, let’s break this schedule apart.
1. Actual Writing – So here’s what you want to do the most. You want to work on your novel or short stories or essays or whatever. Well, you’ll, unfortunately, have to schedule a time to write each day, and you’ll need to have a limit to make time to work on everything else.
2. Blog Posts – These take me a while because I tend to do them in one sitting, and I tend to come up with the ideas at the last minute. But blog posts need to be written, edited, and sometimes formatted. They need pictures to go along with them (and I take the photos myself, so that adds to the time). Even if no one reads them, you have to keep writing them and hope that one will capture your audience.
3. Researching Literary Magazines – This is crucial. Look up literary magazines and check their requirements. Read them. Seriously, read them. You need to know what they accept, and if you’re capable of giving them what they want.
4. Submitting to Literary Magazines – This one sounds easy until you realize each literary magazine has its own guidelines, and this can change anything from your font to your overall formatting to your story itself. Read them carefully, check your manuscript twice before hitting “submit/send.”
5. Social Media Promotion – Now I neglect this the most because I don’t find it necessary before you’ve actually written a novel, and that novel has been accepted somewhere. But I have a near-microscopic social media presence that I keep in hopes that one day it’ll be necessary.
6. Reading for Writing – This is where you read to improve your own writing. You read things in your genre, or maybe well-known literature to study technique. Or perhaps you read books on writing. Regardless, this is crucial to the writing process, and it was a natural choice to include here.
7. Critiques for Writing Groups/Editing – I am almost always a member of a writing group that requires members to give feedback, and this takes up a lot of time. I have to read pieces, often edit, and give critiques. This is also the time window I reserve for editing outside of school and the writing I do for classes or groups.
8. Editing Internship – So, not all writers have an editing job, sure. But it does help you with your own writing. Correcting the mistakes of others allows you to see what errors are the most common, and it will enable you to catch more of your own mistakes. I would wholeheartedly recommend you look into an internship heavy on the writing and editing.
So there you have it: the life of this particular writer. This does not include the hours spent on homework each day. Nor does it include the hours spent on cooking, chores, animal care (one dog, one cat, two guinea pigs), mandatory breaks, and time spent with my husband. It doesn't include the days I have more writing assignments than normal, and it doesn't include the days I skip meals to work at my desk instead. So definitely think before you decide that writing is the right career for you, but also know that it is 100% manageable if you choose to go for it. And try to remember to eat. Seriously, that can save you.
Pictured is one of my many planners. Always keep a planner.