A writing plan outlines the details for getting your writing project done. A good writing plan includes when, where, and how often you will write. Having a writing plan is important because it takes your writing dream—which might be to write a book, finish a screenplay, grow your social media audience, or build your blog—and provides a step-by-step process for getting your project done.
The Power of Writing Consistently
Six years ago, I struggled to write. Then, I heard two words that changed everything, “Writer’s write.” The next morning, I set my alarm for 5 am. I brewed a pot of coffee, planted myself at the kitchen table, and typed. Fast-forward six years. I’ve published twenty-two books, well over a hundred blog posts, and had my writings featured in a popular magazine. I share this with you because creating a writing plan works!
But please don’t misunderstand. A writing plan doesn’t make the journey easy, but it will help you get the work done. I still made plenty of writing mistakes, and I continue to struggle with writer’s block to this day. Unfortunately, writer’s block and imposter syndrome—the feeling that one is not worthy of writing on a particular subject—never go away. The secret to getting past these archnemeses isn’t to defeat them once and for all. Instead, it’s to have a solid writing plan that allows you to push through these writing roadblocks.
A Secret to Write Consistently—A Writing Routine
If there is one secret to writing consistently, it’s building a steady writing routine. Fortunately, this is something I got right from the beginning. A daily writing routine is important because small writing doses add up over time and lead to massive results.
I know this from personal experience. Writing has never been my fulltime job. In addition to my nine to five, I am also a husband to an amazing wife and a daddy to four incredible girls. Of course, these are my most important roles. When I set out to write, creating a system that didn’t intrude on our daily lives was imperative. And creating a noninvasive, sustainable writing plan is what this article is about.
As a writing coach, my goal is to help moms and dads with busy lives integrate tiny writing habits into their daily routines. These tiny efforts compound over time and lead to massive results. I believe a tiny writing habit is key to finally getting your writing done and sharing your invaluable message with the world. The five-step process I’m about to share is based on a momentum method. The goal is to build writing consistency first. Then, once your writing routine is firmly established, you can turn your attention to quality and quantity.
I know that creating a writing plan works because it works for hundreds of other writers I know. It’s also for me, and I whole-heartedly believe this writing plan process will work for you too.
Just as runners run, and singers sing, writers write! This writing plan is for busy professionals who have an important message to share. It will help you integrate a writing routine into your daily life and finally reach your writing goals. So, grab a cup of coffee, tea, or another favorite beverage, and let’s create your writing plan!
Your 5-Part Writing Plan
Here’s the 5-part writing plan I use. It’s the secret sauce that allows me to push past writer’s block, imposter syndrome, and the hustle and bustle of life. In short, it’s the best way to write consistently that I know. If you’re familiar with The Pareto Principle, you’ll understand what I mean when I say, “Creating a writing plan is a 20 percent activity.” It’s a massive game-changer!
Writing Plan Step 1: Commit to a Daily Writing Minimum
To create a writing plan, first, commit to a daily writing minimum. This is the least amount of writing you will ever do. You can always write more if you want, but under no circumstances should you ever write less. Your daily minimum is what you will accomplish—no matter what!
This includes days you feel sick, the plumbing breaks, or you’re up all night with the kids. If you are just starting your writing journey, I recommend choosing a minimum writing time between 10-20 minutes. The idea is to build your writing habit first. You can focus on quality and quantity later.
Now it’s time to complete step 1 of your writing plan. Commit to a daily writing minimum by filling in the blank below:
I commit to writing for a minimum of ____________ minutes each day.
How to Supercharge Your Writing Plan:
If you want to supercharge your writing plan, here is how to take your daily writing commitment to the next level. In addition to creating a daily minimum, decide what your target writing goal and optimum writing goal will be. The target goal is what you’ll write on an average day, and your optimum goal is what you’ll commit to when you are in your writing zone.
For example, you might have a writing minimum of 10-minutes, a 30-minute target writing goal, and decide that you’ll write for 1-hour on optimal days.
This type of goal setting is known as an MTO goal. MTO stands for minimum, target, and optimal. MTO goals are process goals. This means you are not deciding on a specific date when your project will be finished (that is a target goal). Instead, you are committing to the writing process. The idea is that if you keep doing the work, you’ll eventually end up where you want to go.
Writers can use the mantra, Do the work, and you’ll get there when you get there, as a way of reminding themselves to keep pressing forward—even on the difficult days.
Writing Plan Step 2: Attach Your Writing Time to a Current Habit
To create a writing plan, the next step is to attach your writing routine to a current habit. According to Tiny Habits, The Small Changes that Change Everything, the best way to form a new habit is to attach your writing routine to an old habit.
Here’s how this works. First, identify the time of day you feel most creative. For most writers, this will be in the morning. However, everyone is different. So, know that writing in the afternoon or evening is perfectly acceptable too. Then identify a consistent habit that you already have in place. This might be:
- Brewing the morning coffee.
- Showering and getting dressed.
- Dropping the kids off at school.
- Finishing lunch.
- Or putting the kids to bed.
Next, fill in part two of your writing plan by attaching your daily writing routine to a routine you currently have in place.
Now it’s time to complete step 2 of your writing plan. Do this by completing the sentence below:
I will write immediately after I _____________________.
The Power of a Writing Routine
For two years I tried to write a book, but I kept getting sidetracked. After writing a chapter or two, I would stop in order to study spelling and grammar (because I’m a C+ in these areas at best). I also turned my attention to building my social media audience and learning more about the traditional publishing industry. Then, I heard the two words that changed everything, Writers write!
The next morning, I set my alarm for 5 am. After brewing the coffee (my habit that was already in place), and I planted myself at the kitchen table to write (my new habit). This writing routine is still in place to this day—with one minor shift. Two years ago, our family got a cat. For some reason, Maizy loves to hang out with me at 5 am. So now, my routine involves waking up at 5 am, brewing a pot of coffee, hang out with Maizy for a few minutes, and then diving into my latest writing project.
Like me, your writing routine may change slightly over the years, and that’s OK. The goal of creating a writing plan is to find a flexible writing rhythm. If you are a busy parent, your routine will change as your family grows. Jobs also change and life happens. A good writing plan is flexible enough to grow with you!
Writing Plan Step 3: Choose Your Location
Now it’s time to create part 3 of your writing plan. The next step is to decide where you will write. Although this sounds easy, finding your ideal location is an important step. A good writing routine makes writing easy. In fact, the easier your writing routine is, the more likely you will be to stick with it. So make important decisions ahead of time and add them to your writing plan. Ideally, your writing space will be:
- Well lit
- Free of clutter
- A comfortable temperature
I know these strategies seem obvious, but it’s amazing how easy they are to overlook. Our house is equipped with an amazing office space. It’s ideal for writing with one exception. The temperature in the room is difficult to regulate. Hot and cold days make writing difficult. After getting side-tracked by the temperate on a number of occasions, I discovered I needed to have a backup writing space available. While this seems obvious now, it wasn’t at the time.
I’ve learned the easier my writing plan is, the more consistent my writing gets. So follow the ever-popular KISS method and Keep It Simple Silly! My hope is these tidbits of simple writing wisdom from my journey are also helpful for you.
A few ideas for writing spaces include a desk, the kitchen table, a home office, the local coffee shop, or your work office. A number of writers I know shared that their work allows them to go in early or stay late, and this is when they get their best writing done!
Now, it’s time to complete the next part of your writing plan. Do this by selecting your writing location:
I will write at _________________ and my backup writing space will be __________________.
Writing Plan Step 4: Decide When You Will Begin
Now that you’ve reached part 4 of your writing plan, it’s time to decide when you will start. Will you begin writing today, tomorrow, or at the beginning of next week? Writers write! This means the most important part of writing is doing the work. A good writing plan is actionable. This is where the rubber meets the road. So when will you begin?
Once you decide, complete step 4 of your writing plan by filling in the blank below:
I will implement my writing plan on ____________________.
How to Supercharge Your Writing Plan Start Date
Knowing what we want to do, should do, and must do is easy. Actually pulling this off can be far more difficult. I’ve heard it suggested that most people don’t need more information. What they do need is a coach, friend, and accountability partner yelling, Let’s goooooooo! I think this wisdom is especially true for writers.
This is why I love habits coaching. If you’re looking to write consistently, then habits coaching may be for you. In this personalized, text-based coaching, you and I will connect daily. We’ll start by making sure your writing plan is air-tight. Then, we’ll put it into action! Next, you and I will celebrate successes and brainstorm ways to overcome barriers. We’ll work together to make adjustments as needed and look for ways to increase your writing productivity as your habit grows. To supercharge your writing plan with individualized coaching, check out my Write For 30-Minutes coaching package on Coach.me.
Here is what a recent writing student had to say:
“Jed is coaching me in creating (and sticking with) a daily writing habit. Having him check-in daily to ask how I’ve been doing has motivated me to keep writing so I can send him a daily word count. Along the way he’s asking questions that get me thinking about my routines and how to keep them up, as well as how to adjust when life happens. I’m happy with the time he’s been my coach!”– Kay
Don’t create your writing plan alone. Life is so much better together. I’d be honored to provide an extra layer of writing accountability and insight. Click here to dive into personalized coaching, and take your writing routine to the next level!
Writing Plan Step Five: Bringing it all Together
To create a good writing plan, the final step is to bring everything together. This will solidify your writing routine. Here is an example of what my writing plan looks like:
Starting tomorrow, I will write for at least twenty minutes a day, at our dining room table, immediately after I brew the morning coffee.
Now, it’s your turn. Create your writing plan by filling in the blanks below.
Starting ________________, I will write for _____________ minutes a day, at___________ immediately after ______________.
This writing plan works because it attaches your new writing routine to a current habit. As a result, the old habit becomes a trigger for your new writing habit. A secondary advantage is this process trains your brain to enter a creative zone. After a few years of following my daily writing plan, the smell of coffee began triggering my creativity. It’s almost as if I can feel my creativity kick-in when the aroma of coffee fills the air.
I believe the same will be true for you. If you stick to your writing plan long enough, your creative brain will learn exactly when it needs to get energized. As a result, you’ll find yourself entering into a state of writing flow more often. The words will come easier, and you’ll finish one writing project after another. Then, one day, you’ll look back and be utterly impressed at just how much you’ve accomplished!
Your Bright Writing Future
Now that your writing plan is in place, I believe your writing future is so bright you may need to wear shades! Imagine how good it will feel to finally have that book, blog-post, screenplay, or social media post done! Writers write. This is the real work and your number one priority! Just as runners run, dancers dance, and singers sing, writers write!
Remember, you are on a mission. Your message matters and is worth sharing with others. Now that you have a solid plan in place, it’s time for the real work to begin—the writing!
More Writing Tools
If you enjoyed this post, then you may want to check out some of my books for writers and authors. These include:
I’ve heard my writing books described as airplane books because they are short enough to finish on a short flight. I’ve written them especially for busy parents and couples who have an important message to share. In fact, my writing books are unapologetically short and packed with the best writing tips I know. The goal is to help you get to the real work (the writing) as fast as possible and to help you incorporate a writing routine into your already busy day.
Let’s Continue the Writing Conversation
Finally, I’d love to hear from you!
- What does your writing plan look like?
- How is this writing plan working for you?
- What’s your big writing goal?
- Is there something you’d add to this writing plan list?
Let’s continue the writing conversation in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to answer any of the above questions or simply leave your thoughts.
Wishing you happy happy writing!