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I have a problem when it comes to writing. Most of the advice I’ve ever read says to find a time, set a schedule and block that out for just writing. I have never done that. Sometimes I wish I would, but I don’t. Instead, I do basically everything else on my list and then hopefully I will get all my writing done before sleepytime. (To be fair to myself, I usually do get it done before sleepytime.)

When is it best to write, to get the most out of it? Answer, as with most things writing related: It varies. It changes from person to person and even then it depends on what the person wants to get done. Some people have to stick to their schedule (like 5am is writing time), and some people snatch out segments (whenever I happen to have five minutes on the bus, that’s writing time). I don’t have any kind of plan like that, which will probably come back to bite me eventually when I no longer have a flexible schedule, but for now this is what I do.

If I want to do a lot of writing, it’s better if I start early in the day. Not 5am early, because I would probably kill someone if I had to get up that early every day, but before noon early. (Yes, I know, that’s pathetic. Shush.) If I don’t get a little bit started, then I won’t keep doing a little bit as I have a spare moment. I will instead check Facebook or go on Twitter. Or I will go wash dishes or fold laundry or something else, and the pattern will continue until it’s 9pm and my word count needs to go from 0 to 2000 in an hour. (Doable, by the way, but not necessarily much fun.) If I don’t give myself that initial push, it won’t get done.

If I want to get through a plot disaster or figure out where to take my characters next, later in the day is better. Gives me plenty of time to process, talk to people, listen to music, so that when I do finally sit down and write it (in theory) the ideas will just be there, ready to be put on paper.

If I’m writing an action scene, I like to take my time and get the motions right, get in and out of the scene as smoothly as possible.

If I’m writing dialog, it has to be done quickly or else I’ll end up with a ten page monologue of exposition. (Well, maybe more like two pages, but that’s still too many!)

One thing I do find is if I let myself start too late, I have no momentum and it’s better to just go to bed. Because there’s crappy writing, and then there’s “I only wrote this so I can get my word count and go to bed” crappy writing. Sometimes gems have come from sleep deprivation, but usually it’s just weird and nonsensical. Sleep is our friend.

So I keep an erratic schedule. It evolved around a day job that required flexibility, so trying to make writing time sacrosanct would never work. But that’s me. I’d love to hear what benefit people find in a regular schedule, or if they have an easier time writing if they do it early or late, and why. Let me know!

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