Shelley Widhalm

Posts Tagged ‘Writing Routines’

Fitting in Writing During the Holidays

In Writing, Writing Advice, Writing Discipline, Writing Goals, Writing Tips on December 5, 2021 at 11:00 am

Zoey the Cute Dachshund wears an “Ugly T-shirt” during the holidays, though she’d prefer to not wear silly human clothes.

BY SHELLEY WIDHALM

The holiday calendar can fill up fast with fancy parties, family get-togethers and ugly sweater contests, leaving little room for keeping up the writing routine.

For me, skipping a whole month is too much of a break, so even a couple of sessions in December keeps the focus on my main goal. If I stray away from writing for too long, I get a little anxious and then find it hard to return to my old habit.

To keep writing on my holiday to-do list and busy calendar, I have to have a plan, be disciplined and set a routine.

Writing Routines

Here are a few ways I’ve learned to be disciplined in writing no matter the time of year:

  • Buy a planner or use a phone app for 2022 and schedule specific writing days.
  • Write daily, or at least a couple of times a week, selecting a specific time or place to write, e.g. keep writing office hours.
  • Clock in the hours you write, both for accountability and to acknowledge what you have accomplished, and add up the hours every week or month and compare them over time.
  • Write for five or 10 minutes in between other activities, using a notebook that you always have with you. Those minutes will add up over time, as do the pages.
  • Write a writing action plan with goals for the year and check in every few weeks to mark your progress.
  • Take a writer’s retreat, even if it’s in your hometown, setting aside a couple of days to focus on writing (maybe as a reward for surviving the holidays or just before everything gets busy).

Writing Results

Once writing is routine and you mark your progress toward your goals, you can see success, while also being able to engage in the fun of the holidays.

For my routine, I like to calculate how many hours I spent on writing novels and short stories, writing poetry and revising my work, along with the time I dedicated to writing each month. I can tell when I’ve gotten distracted and for how long, not putting in those important hours and minutes that can add up to a significant amount, especially in a year’s time.

This holiday, I plan to stay on track and keep to my original goal of writing at least three times a week, writing a poem a day for my daily poem challenge, and fitting in writing whenever I can. That way I can get in more writing for my year-end tally! This year, it looks like I’ll have put in close to 400 hours, or about 10 40-hour workweeks.

Note: I provide editing, writing and ghostwriting services and can help you perfect your project from an article or blog series to a short story or novel. I also offer consultations on writing and editing through #ShellsInk at shellsinkservices.com.

Keeping on Task with Writing During the Holidays

In Habits, Writing, Writing Advice, Writing Discipline, Writing Goals on December 2, 2018 at 6:00 pm

ShelleyPresents2 12-2017

Shelley Widhalm of Shell’s Ink Services holds up one of her gifts during Christmas 2017, celebrated at a local Starbucks with her family, after spending an hour that morning at another coffee shop doing some writing.

The holidays are about fancy parties, good food and fun get-togethers, but they also can be about writing and keeping up that routine.

Each year, I have to make a conscious effort to fit in writing on my holiday to-do list. Beside my usual work and life activities, I need to set aside time for writing my annual Christmas letter and shopping for presents, along with extra holiday socializing. With a busier calendar, I still need to retain focus on my main goal, which is writing. Without that focus, along with some discipline and a plan, the additional activities can become a distraction.

That’s why setting a routine, especially during a busy time of the year, is extra important.

Writing Routines

Here are a few ways to be disciplined in writing no matter the time of year:

  • Buy a planner or use a phone app for 2019 and schedule specific writing days.
  • Write daily, or at least a couple of times a week, selecting a specific time or place to write, i.e. keep writing office hours.
  • Clock in the hours you write, both for accountability and to acknowledge what you have accomplished and add up the hours every week or month and compare them over time.
  • Write for five or 10 minutes in between other activities, using a notebook that you always have with you. Those minutes will add up.
  • Write a writing action plan with goals for the year and check in every few weeks to mark your progress.
  • Take a writer’s retreat, even if it’s in your hometown, setting aside a weekend to focus on writing (maybe as a reward for surviving the holidays or just before everything gets busy).

Writing Results

Once writing is routine and you mark your progress toward your goals, you can see how you are reaching those accomplishments, while also being able to engage in holiday fun.

Over the course of a year, I like to calculate how many hours I spent on writing my novels, writing poetry and revising my work, along with the time I dedicated to writing each month. I can tell when I’ve gotten distracted and for how long, not putting in those important hours and minutes that can add up to a significant amount, especially in a year’s time.

This holiday, I plan to stay on track and keep to my original goal of writing at least two times a week and fitting in writing whenever I can. That way I can get in more writing for my year-end tally!