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I am a third year undergraduate student at university (21yrs). I absolutely love writing and I want to publish my pieces at some point. I write poetry, short stories, and novels. I was wondering - how should I create a daily schedule as a writer? And how do I create deadlines myself (eg: finish Y draft of novel by X month) because where you are your own boss, you need some kind of deadline to push you towards the finish line haha. Also, any words of advice?

Thanks :)

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There is really no correct answer to this, it all depends on how much you want to do, and how much time you can make for it. The only thing that I can say is that it would benefit you to be as consistent as possible with your writing schedule.

For example, I write the next part of the story for my novel in shorthand in my notebook on the train to and from work, which is approximately 40 minutes each way. When I'm home I put aside an hour every night to write up my notes onto the computer and add anything else that I can, as well as look over what I wrote the previous day. The next day I rinse & repeat, and then take the weekend off.

It doesn't have to be every day, but this works for me, yours will likely be different. What this does is allows me to keep on writing constantly, and that is time that is put aside for my writing, and I don't feel bad if there are other things to do (chores etc.), and I don't feel like I could be doing something else that is more fun.

Even if I can't think of anything to write I stay at my computer and don't do anything, which helps to reinforce in my mind that I should be writing, so that I don't slack off the following day thinking that I'm stuck. Now whenever it gets to that time my mind is in the routine of being prepared for writing, and it's easy to sit down and get at least something done.

For deadline-making, I would suggest having a long term goal, and then breaking that down into shorter term goals. For example, I want my book to be done in a year, so for approximately 25 chapters that means if I complete a chapter every 2 weeks I remain on track. This can vary sometimes, but as long as I am at around that pace I feel comfortable with my progress.

So it entirely depends on what works for you. For further tips try this SE question, the stuff on there really helped me.

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Everyone works differently. Some people write better at night, some in the morning. Just keep in mind that what you're looking for is a good weekly average. Don't listen to people who say you need to write every day, that's the road to misery. Just make sure you're on track and set a reasonable pace.

Two websites that might help are 750 Words and 4thewords. 4thewords has fun gamification.

One key is when you're writing, don't edit. Fixing spelling is one thing, but don't keep rewriting sentences for flow or word choice, that's how writer's block and frustration hits. Just get the words on the page. Edit it the next day before you start writing, to get back into the story.

If you have an overall story map, with the major arcs of your major characters and plot points planned out you can go much quicker. From there, you can create a list of scenes (possibly with beats) or work on whatever scene interests you most. That helps avoid writer's block. This works really well with Scrivener, which I highly recommend. It is pure awesome.

Most novels are about 90K words, plus or minus 15K depending on the genre. If you write on average 750 words a day, that's 4 months to write. A month to plan and a month to edit means you can write 2 books to first draft per year. If you can write a bit more, three novels per year, or 2 novels and some short stories are easily doable.

One thing that's key is to go back and add detail and polish, proof your work, and then have your work reviewed/edited. Join Critique Circle, or Scribophile. A local group or UCLA's extension school are other options for feedback.

Good luck!

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  • Both good advice, really. You might wish to ask yourself what you are trying to accomplish. When I had a day job, my writing was erratic and seemingly occurred on a whim. Now it's a job. Big difference. I try to do 50/50 revenue pursuits versus artistic pursuits (which of course could offer a huge payoff, but I can't count on it). – Stu W Dec 8 '15 at 23:07

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