Argh. For some reason my post didn’t publish yesterday as schedule! So here it is…

One of the biggest challenges I now face is keeping up with the writing practice I developed during NaNoWriMo. Beyond whether I’m a fast writer or a slow writer is the question of my commitment to my practice. I’ve said this before, but it’s very much like my yoga and meditation practices. I want to write every day or nearly so to keep my skills up. And like yoga, some days I’m feeling flexible, other days I’m not. Some days I have a clear mind during meditation, other days my mind is all over the place.

That means some days I will find a writing groove and it will go smoothly, and other days it may feel like I’m slogging.

So here are my recommendations for being successful in a writing practice. They work!

Schedule Time. The best way for me to incorporate writing into my days is to schedule it. But not only that, but to respect that time slot just as I would any appointment I’d set. I am back to looking at my calendar on Sundays for the week ahead and slotting in time. And then writing during that time!

Plan Ahead. I identify not only what manuscript(s) I plan to work on, but what aspect–character, word choices, ending for a picture book for example–or what scene or chapter for a novel. The more specific, the better. This means I can get going right away and I’m not stalled trying to decide what to work on or write. The plan may change when I get into it, but having something to focus on when I get started is key to me doing it at all.

Make it Short. If I have a lot going on in a particular week, I write in 10-15 minute writing blocks. Or, if I’m really pressed for time, I may use a short block to perform writing-related tasks which may include researching, naming a character, or deciding on an ending (See “Write” on the Run below) And check out this great blog post: Tips for Writing in Short Blocks of Time by Elizabeth S. Craig. She has much of the same advice and more.

“Write” on the Run.  I often use the time I’m waiting in line or when I go for a power walk or run as my “writing time,” where I work through something I’m struggling with in a book. Most recently it was how to develop my picture book character a little more and choosing which scene I wanted to use to begin my NaNo novel. I figured out both so could jump right in during my writing time later that day.

What have you done to maintain your writing practice?