As I get further in Accountability (yes, with a capital A), I’m thinking of all the things an author has to do to get themselves to sit down and finish the damned book. That is the goal, after all. That is the entire point.

There are so many things that are stopping us from sitting down and writing, I got into some of them a few weeks ago when I told you about my family trying to pull me into their vacation when I had to actually get some work done. I will get into more in the coming weeks (SPOILER: *imposter syndrome* among others). But what I want to talk about today is, assuming you have no trouble actually putting words on the “page”, getting the time to actually sit down and work.

You may say, “But Merry, you already did that the week before last!” And, yeah, I kind of did. Today, I’m going to get into more detail because I mentioned something last time that deserves more words: Scheduling.

When you schedule your writing, you can be 90% sure it’s going to get done (there’s still that 10% chance that something is going to happen to stop you, but hopefully it is only a small chance).

So, how do you do that? I’m so glad you asked! With a calendar, of course!

Yes, you have to actually pull out your calendar and write it in there! A lot of writers don’t actually do that step. They say, “I’m going to write this afternoon” and before they know it, it’s 6 o’clock, they have to make dinner, the afternoon is gone, and they haven’t written a word. Where did that time go?!

I honestly don’t know, but I can tell you that’s happened to me too often.

Now, I actually put my writing into my calendar. Yes, I put it into my paper weekly planner because it’s important for me to see it daily and know that I am going to write that day. However, even more importantly is that I put into the calendar that resides on my smartphone – you know, the one that beeps at you to tell you that it’s time to do something.

That’s the calendar I mean.

I need that beep, that reminder. It would be even better if I put everything into that calendar and actually planned out every hour of my day (I don’t). I make a list of all I need to do which is great, but sometimes I’ll get caught up in doing everything on my list except writing… until my reminder rings. The key point here is that when it rings, I quickly finish up whatever it is I’m doing and get to work on my writing.

I have to do it. It’s in my calendar!

It doesn’t matter if I sit down for twenty minutes to write or two hours, just so long as I sit down and work on my story. Yes, I’ll get more written in two hours than twenty minutes, but the book is still getting written.

Sit down and write for just twenty minutes a day, and you will write a book.

It’s that easy.

Well, okay, I take that back. It’s not that easy, writing is hard, but it doesn’t have to take up a huge amount of your day. To make it easier, you know that I’m a strong proponent of worksheets and plotting (you can find mine here on Etsy). By plotting out my book before I begin, I know where my story is going and what the major turning points are. I can then use my Writing Journal to keep track of what I’ve written and what I still need to write by noting it down each day. Five minutes of planning will save me time I’d rather spend actually writing my story.

So, there you have it, the number one secret to finishing a book: write it! Every day. It doesn’t matter how long you spend each day, so long as you do it every… single… day. (Except, maybe, weekends because you do need some time off to relax and refill that creative well.)

Tl;dr (because you may not have a lot of time to spend reading my silliness)

  • Schedule your writing time just like you would any other important thing you need to do in your calendar at a set time.
  • Have a reminder buzz, beep, or ring at you to remind you that it’s time to work on your story.
  • Write!

Oh, say, what do you think of this tl;dr? Is it helpful? Should I put it at the top instead of the bottom? I’d love to know what you think! Thanks!