LESSON Why You Should Have a Writing Regimen

Discussion in 'REFINING WRITING' started by Minibit, Nov 3, 2013.

  1. Writing is fun, and most writers and roleplayers actively try to keep it that way, which is why the idea of a writing regimen, or schedule, is often cringed at.

    I'm here to explain why a writing schedule will not only help to improve your productivity and writing style, but how it actually PREVENTS writing from becoming a chore

    Let's start with why you should have a writing regimen

    1. Because they are being guarenteed regular attention, your stories/roleplays are far less likely to grow stagnant

    2. Writing on a regular basis forces you to keep finding new ways to be creative, causing less and less plot-holes as you keep writing and learning

    3. It helps you find a style and method of writing that works for you, instead of blindly hammering through whatever you happen to feel like at the time.

    4. If you plan to make a career in the writing industry (This includes everything from novels to newspapers to webcomics), it will get you used to working with deadlines and working on a clock.
    Now let's debunk the common myths about why regimens suck

    1. "It turns writing into a chore"
      The reasoning for this is that having a regimen forces you to sit down and write even if you don't feel like it. This may make it feel like work at first, but the point is to keep you from getting stagnant; it will literally force you to find new ways of getting inspired; instead of staring at a blank screen feeling discouraged, get on the Content forums or even google and look for writers block cures, try even the ones that seem silly.

    2. "My life doesn't allow rigid schedules"
      I feel ya; not all of us have a steady 9-5 job and constant computer access. People get sick, people work overtime, people have tired brains after school. In these cases, remember that the Regimen is not an evil overlord with a whip and mace; if you seriously cannot sit down and write, don't. A regimen can be as stiff as "Every Thursday and Friday at 6 pm" or as relaxed as "Once a week". The point is to write regularly, if you accomplish that, your regimen is fine.

    3. "It leads to overworking"
      This usually refers to the phenomenon where a writer pours out pages and pages of ultimately useless info; itemizing every symptom of every disease of every species in every region of the world a story takes place in, for example. In this case, if you find yourself spending your writing time on minutia for lack of anything new to write about, remember that trimming and reorganizing your info are also fine uses of your writing time, as is a session with a beta or editor going over your work.
    Still sounds like too much work? Look at how easy setting up a regimen is!

    1. Look at your schedule and decide on when you usually have time to sit at your computer/desk and work on creative writing. I suggest the end of the day if you don't have to go to bed early; scheduling writing time before school or before work can be disappointing if the writing session takes off and you have to cut it short. Pick a time with plenty of wiggle room; I suggest once a week, but depending on your life you may need to make it a longer, bi-weekly session

    2. Decide your minimum amount of time spent. Start small; say a 20 minute or half-hour session. Once you get used to finding new ways to get creative and new things to work on, you may be able to ramp up the time. Remember that there is no 'too much time', so if you say you're going to write for a half hour and end up going for a full hour, that's fine, but if you set yourself for a full hour you have to keep at it that long

    3. It can be hard to stick to schedules, because it ultimately comes down to your own self-discipline, and when you're on the couch with warm soup belly all tucked in with your favourite movie, it can be REALLY hard to move your butt to the computer and work on writing. Get a roommate or family member to hold you to your schedule if you don't trust yourself to. Try giving yourself rewards every time you go a month without missing a session.

    4. Filling up the time is obviously the most dubious part of committing to a regimen; here's some quick tips as to how to get started:
      • Visit the Content Forum's exercise boards and find exercises that are pertinent to the story/roleplay/world you're working on, complete them
      • Springhole is also a great resource full of ways to work on certain elements of writing
      • You can also google ways to get writing or artistic inspiration, and try what the lovely folks on the internet have to offer
      • We have some guides here in the Institute about finding your own inspiration, as well.
    Try to focus on actual writing, but remember that creating maps, charts, fan-arts, and other paraphernalia can count, too​
    1. Creating a regimen is very rewarding as it improves your writing, helps to kill writer's block, and frees you from the restriction of "waiting for inspiration"

    2. Following a regimen does not have to be work; create one that fits comfortably into your lifestyle, and have it be a fun time that you can look forward to

    3. Creating a regimen is easy as pie, and the hardest part of following it comes down to self-discipline, which is just an overall life skill that you should be honing anyway

    4. You can fill up your slotted time with more than just writing chapters/new information. You can complete exercises or challenges regarding your project, reading and applying guides and essays on writing/worldbuilding, have an editing session (possibly with a beta or editor friend), create fan-art, charts, and other non-literature stuff for it, or re-write sections that need to be changed.
    #1 Minibit, Nov 3, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2014
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