Writer’s need schedules just like babies do

Writers, like newborns, thrive on a schedule.


See? I already crossed off NHWN 🙂

I swear, one of the best things we ever did with our babies was when they got old enough for a nanny/babysitter to take care of them for a few hours so that I could get some work done, was to let the sitter (being British and of a certain age) put our children on a firm schedule.  (She also believed that all babies should have regular “sun baths” and she would strip them down to their diapers and place them in a puddle of sunshine.)

Because of Nana and her schedule, we had babies that routinely took hour long naps at 10 in the morning and 1 in the afternoon.  This made our children rested and happy, and it made for some very pleased (and productive) parents.  (How do you think we had the energy and fortitude to have 6 kids?)

Writers are alike. Although we probably don’t need naps (although there are days…) we do need a schedule to be our best.

During the holidays when the kids are all home from school and college, my productivity goes down the toilet. I schedule only what *absolutely* needs to be done (and yes, I successfully completed that last minute project I had blogged about earlier) and hope that I’m not missing too much family interaction by holing myself up in my office to write.

I let myself do that because I choose to focus on my family for the time that we are all together.

What I didn’t plan on however, was the two snow days that the public school called at the end of vacation, followed by a 2 hour delay.  A full house is not conducive to focusing and days that I had planned to use for writing got lost in the house activity.

But, life happens.  The kids are finally back at school and I am finally back on a schedule.

The first thing I did was to write every single project that needs to be done (blogs, articles, and administrative work) on a to-do list and now I’m slowly working my way through the list (as soon as I publish this post, I get to cross it off  – such a great feeling.)

On my regular schedule of 8 – 3 with my butt in the chair, I am slowly making progress again.

As long as I stay away from thinking about an afternoon nap.


Wendy Thomas is an award winning journalist, columnist, and blogger who believes that taking challenges in life will always lead to goodness. She is the mother of 6 funny and creative kids and it is her goal to teach them through stories and lessons.

Wendy’s current project involves writing about her family’s experiences with chickens (yes, chickens). (www.simplethrift.wordpress.com) She writes about her chickens for GRIT, Backyard Poultry, Chicken Community, and Mother Earth News.

21 thoughts on “Writer’s need schedules just like babies do

  1. I’m with you on that. During school holidays life seems to be centred around the children. We are all glad to get back to the routine of school at the end of it. Whilst it’s good to have a break, we end up missing the routine of day to day life.

  2. For many years I used the excuse of a full time newspaper publishing job to keep me from doing the writing projects I really wanted to do. Now that I’m retired, the excuse no longer flies, but after a few months, I haven’t yet established a routine and it’s driving me nuts. Everything else takes precedence over working on my book and like an idiot, I let it. Your blog comes at the right time. Getting into a writing, blogging and network-building routine is a must for my to-do list. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. A nice way to approach writing Wendy. I would like to do that. So far I do it mentally and sometimes it works and sometimes it does not. I need more order though. Perhaps I will get to that soon.

  4. So true. I have just started writing again and restarted my blog after a life changing event propelled me back into journaling my thoughts – the reason I could never write before was because of my children’s schedule and my energy level – but now I’ve become so passionate that I just schedule around it – and have my time to do so. It really makes a huge difference to have that outlet – and the ability to be able to do it, while making sure that diaper gets changed, naps get taken, and the lost toys get found.

  5. Definitely a great idea. I usually have a schedule and it’s usually all in my head, but writing it down would be even better considering it provides me with some accountability and I won’t want to slack off if I see it in print. 🙂

  6. A fabulous comparison. I could do with a nap as well 🙂
    Mine isn’t back at school for a few weeks yet but then I am absolutely positively putting together a schedule.

  7. I’m not convinced schedules work for everyone, I’ve never got on with them. But then I do have a fluctuating medical condition and you can’t schedule that. I can still be productive though, in NaNovember I completed my first draft of 87k 🙂 I think you have to go with what works for you, if you prefer a schedule, that’s fine, but if you don’t, it’s not worth beating yourself up over.

  8. Planning tasks based on their priorities can let us always focus on the most important staffs, and taking break between two tasks can help us recharge energy and regain inspiration. This is true for writers as well as any other professions.

  9. Great comparisons! Don’t forget we get cranky without a bottle . . . of coffee and we cry when we don’t get our way. But in all seriousness, good luck with your schedule. Stick with it. I found that setting a schedule has helped me progress a lot faster. Good luck!

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