Writing Schedule: Finding time to write with a family and a full-time job

The Key to Becoming a Successful Writer

If successful authors like Stephen King and Brandon Sanderson have taught me anything, it is that the key to becoming a successful writer is (drumroll please….) to write. Gasp! Surprising, I know. The more you write the better you become, and the better you become the more likely you are to find success in your writing career.

Got it.

Though I have been writing stories since I was a kid, I have not seriously considered supplementing my income by writing until very recently. So far, I have only written a handful of short stories and two novellas over the last year. A good start, but nowhere near some of these career authors, who pump out two or more full novels in a year.

So, success = writing a lot?


One of the many issues that independent writers like me run into is finding the time to write. Between my growing family and my day job, my free time is severely limited. In the precious few hours of my day when I am not working or doing chores, I want to spend time with my wife, exercise, play video games, and just relax. How on earth am I going to find the time to write down the story that I have crafted in my head?

I know from talking with other up-and-coming authors that I am not alone in feeling this way. Over the course of the last year, when I have really started to take writing more seriously, I have made a discovery that gives me hope in the future of my writing career.

What I lack in length I can make up in consistency.

With my busy schedule, there is literally no way that I can write the thousands of words that authors like Sanderson are writing during the work week. But authors like George R. R. Martin provide a cautionary tale as to what can happen when writing is not done on a regular basis.

Therefore, I realized early on that writing every day is critical if any writer desires to one day become a full-time author.

It took me a little time to figure out a system that works for me, but when I did I was extremely happy with the results: if I could write a minimum of 500 words per day, I would be able to produce over 180,000 words in year. That is either two and a half average sized novels or one The Way of Kings sized novel. Not bad for new independent author!

I’ve found that I can easily write 500 quality words in the space of half and hour, which I usually do before I go to bed. That’s a minimum of 3,500 words per week. The consistency allows me to keep the story fresh in my mind, and it is a small enough chunk of time that I do not stress myself out trying to make it fit in my schedule. If I keep to this routine, I should have another short story or two, as well as my first full-length novel, completed early next year.

I hope that this helps and inspires my fellow indie writers to become more consistent writers. Though writing in infrequent, massive bursts may work for some writers, I firmly believe that persistently writing a small amount every day will make a big difference in the end.

Thanks for reading.

Blake Arthur Peel

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