They say that to be a successful writer you need a schedule.
For years, I thought I had one. It wasn’t a good schedule, mind you, but I did have one.
I had convinced myself that I was going to wake up early each day, write for two hours, then come home after my day job and edit for two more.
That schedule ignored the fact that I was a chronic over-sleeper. It dismissed the fact that I usually crashed after work. Yet I just kept telling myself that that was my schedule. And I kicked myself each time I failed to live up to it.
But I recently came across this infographic on social media:
This one image made me realize what I was doing wrong.
I had chosen a schedule that I thought would make me look good… not one that actually worked for me.
Anyone who writes – professionally or otherwise – has that sinking suspicion that they’re not a Real Writer. That if they don’t get up at the crack o’dawn to write 1000 words everyday then immediately publish their work to the literary giant of their choice, they aren’t really a professional and no one should be listening to them.
But take a look at that chart. Those are all famous people who have made the world better with their creative and scientific work. Do any of them follow a schedule that makes them look good?
Kafka and Picasso are insomniacs, Voltare works like a dog, Vonnegut and Darwin spend more time at their day jobs than they ever did at their writing desks… and Mary Flannery O’Conner must have been the fastest typer on the planet.
But they had the right schedules. Because they had a schedule that worked for them.
I’ve started making some changes to my writing and client schedules, and while I haven’t found anything that I want to stick with, the small changes that I have made have been eye opening.
So as Monday rolls around, as it so often does, I encourage you to ask these simple questions:
Does my schedule let me work when I’m awake, energized, and ready to create?
Does my schedule help me reach out to the people I need to connect with?
Is there anything I could do to make my schedule better?