August can be a strange month.
Either your kids are heading back to school or you are making plans for them to head back (and this year, that might all be up in the air.)
Or maybe you are finally getting some vacation time.
Perhaps you are trying to balance a busy work day and summer fun in the evenings and on the weekends.
No matter what your August looks like, with some planning, you can help make it into a great month for your writing.
Here are 5 steps to help guide your writing plans.
Identify how much time you’ll have to write.
A lot of the time, we make our writing plans based on your ideal day and then we get annoyed when things go awry. So, for this exercise, I am asking you to do the opposite.
Imagine your most challenging day. Where could you fit a little writing time in that kind of day? (Yes, it is weird to think of adding one more thing to a challenging day but sometimes you can turn difficult days around by finding time for yourself in the chaos.)
Maybe it’s only a few minutes while sitting in the car, maybe it’s 10 minutes while supper cooks or right before bed.
It doesn’t have to be a lot of time and your writing time might be scattered throughout the day. That’s okay, as long as you are realistic about that fact and realistic about what you will get done in those short bursts of time.
And, if you plan for a little writing on your most difficult day then it will be easier to fit writing in on your easier days.
Figure out what you want to work on.
When time is limited, it is always a good idea to decide in advance what you will work on. That way, you don’t spend any of your writing time making decisions.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to specifically know the exact section that you plan to work on. As long as you have a good general idea of what you intend to do during your writing sessions.
If you haven’t got a work-in-progress right now, perhaps you could make a list of writing prompts or exercises to use during the month ahead.
Imagine what your writing time is going to look like.
This may seem odd, but there is a lot of evidence that using your imagination in this very specific way can help you achieve your goals – writing and otherwise.
If you plan to write immediately after breakfast, picture yourself leaving the kitchen and going to your desk and sitting down. Or if you plan to dictate a story while you walk, imagine yourself doing that. No matter when or where you plan to write, create a vivid picture for yourself of you doing that exact thing. Include as many details as possible – including details about the sort of things you will be writing.
If you are unable to visualize yourself clearly like this, write a description of yourself doing it instead.
Get your gear ready.
Make sure that you have everything you need, in the place where you will need it. No matter what tools you use to write, take a few minutes to figure out how you will ensure that they will be close at hand when your writing time arrives.
For writing in the car, prepare a bag with your notebook and pens (or laptop) and a phone charger.
To write at your desk, be sure that it is cleared off long before your writing session starts.
If you plan to write outside, figure out what you will need to write comfortably.
Practice your writing plan!
Here’s the advantage of starting this August process when there is still a week left in July:
You have time to practice!
It’s one thing to make a plan, it’s a whole other thing to put that plan into practice. When you start trying to work your plan, you will discover all kinds of glitches. Perhaps your writing space will be too loud at that time of day. Maybe your deck chair is uncomfortable. Or, perhaps your brain is too foggy first thing in the morning.
Practicing during this last week in July will help you troubleshoot and find solutions so things will run more smoothly in August.
Note: Don’t be afraid to adjust and change your plans to accommodate your realities at any time. We can generate a lot of unhappiness and distress by worrying about how things *should* be instead of dealing with how they are in the moment. It’s hard to break that mindset but it will be helpful for you when you can.
No writing time is going to be perfect but if you want for the perfect time, you will never write anything. So, take your imperfect time and plan to make the most of it. Every word you write gets you closer to your goal.
*These plans will obviously work for any month but August is the month at hand!
Christine Hennebury’s storytelling career began when she was four and her parents didn’t believe her tale about water shooting out of her nose onto the couch – they insisted that she had spilled bubble solution from the empty jar in her hand. Luckily, her story skills have improved since then. Christine makes up stories, shares stories, and coaches other people who are working on stories, in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Find out more about her at christinehennebury.com or visit her on Facebook .