I am a dreamer. I have big aspirations. Dreamers like me are capable of amazing things, but we do have one fatal flaw. We are not good at planning. You see, we have all of these wonderful and lofty things stored up in our minds. But in order for those things to actually happen, they have to find a way to transition from our minds to practical reality.
We like living in the abstract and following inspiration wherever it leads us. That sounds magical in theory, but there still has to be some practical thinking. Just going with no real direction is a fast way of going off a cliff. We have to know where we are going. I’m not saying we have to stifle our inspiration. We just have to drive it, to focus it. This is where the age old science of scheduling comes in.
In my opinion, writing is an art and scheduling is a science. If you blend the two together you experience harmony in your work.
Here are some simple things I have learned about scheduling to accomplish your goals.
Make a list
This is pretty simple, but it is foundational. I have aspired to write at least five days a week. Most of those days I hope to write two articles. This is on top of a full time job in the ministry. As I have thought about this I have found myself becoming overwhelmed and thinking there is no way I can accomplish this. However, I recently sat down and made a simple list of the publications and places I want to write for. At first, this overwhelmed me even more because it looked like too much. But don’t worry, things get better in the next step. Here is what my list of January writing goals looks like:
Write at least once a week for:
Write twice a week for my personal newsletter, The Verse.
Like I said, looking at this list overwhelmed me even more. But then I took the next steps.
Choose a time
I decided the only way to hold myself accountable was to set a consistent time to write each day. Being consistent would build a habit, and the rhythm would eventually become a natural part of my daily life. So I chose to wake up one hour earlier than usual, make some coffee (the most necessary part of the day), and get to writing. Does it take discipline? Yes. Is the payoff worth it? It’s so worth it! Now I know I have about one hour every day I can dedicate to writing. This gives me the time I need to complete the task. I never have to wonder or stress about when I am going to have the time to write that next post.
So now that I have the time, I just need the structure.
Assign your days
This step has been so necessary for me. If I don’t assign my writing to a day I will waste half my time deciding which article to write and which publication to submit to. If I assign my days then I wake up knowing exactly what I am writing about and where I am putting it. This means all my alloted time can be spent writing. So here is what I came up with:
- Monday: (1) Koinonia, (2) Poem or story for my newsletter
- Tuesday: (1) Verse By Verse, (2) Record “ask anything” segment or write a topical piece for my newsletter
- Wednesday: (1) ILLUMINATION, (2) Plan for future articles
- Thursday: (1) The Dad Hammer, (2) Plan for future articles
- Friday: (1) A Few Words, (2) Newsletter verse post
- Every Day: Coffee. So much coffee.
When I got done with this step I noticed something amazing. I was no longer overwhelmed. In fact, I am now excited about my writing plan! I look forward to it every week! And the more I put it into practice, the more efficient I become.
Do you know what is great about this? You can do it too. Seriously, if I can set a schedule for my writing goals and accomplish it, you most definitely can. If you knew me, you would understand. So get at it! If you don’t already have a structure for your writing, now is the time.
If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy this other post I authored for ILLUMATION: