When a writing deadline approaches, you might want to think about planning writing days. I tell students to plan a writing day like it’s an event. You need everything you would need at any other event including a chosen location and special food and music. When you’re at your scheduled event, you do the thing you’re supposed to do there. You don’t attend another event. You focus on where you are and what you’re doing at the event you’re attending.
So eliminate all distractions. It’s your writing day. You aren’t doing anything else. Don’t respond to the phone or texts. Don’t answer the door. You’re busy. (If you’re a parent of younger children, this is the day you’ve sent everyone away to a fun event with a babysitter! If you work full-time like me, this is a Saturday event.)
Before your writing day, prepare your meals ahead of time so you don’t have to take long breaks to make food. Writing makes you hungry! Stock the fridge with soup, sandwiches, or fresh fruit. Stock the pantry with nuts and chocolate and really good coffee. You might consider ordering something like pizza or Chinese food to get you through you the later afternoon hours. Splurge! It’s your writing day!
For your actual writing day event, have a good breakfast with your great coffee. Settle in to your location shortly thereafter. Maybe it’s your home office, a coffee shop, or a retreat location like a little cabin in the woods with a roaring fire (I wish!). Then, write for two hours, taking a 10 minute break after the first hour to stretch. You might feel discouraged that the writing day still looms ahead of you. It’s just the morning! But you’re going to love this day. Play music. Light a candle. Refill your coffee. Put on slippers and anything that makes you feel cozy and at home.
Around 10 or 11 (depending when you start), go for a nice long walk. Then eat something. Then write for two more hours. Repeat the snacks and walking (or stop for a big meal) and then go back to writing for two more hours. By this time, you’ll be thinking you need a long break. Watch a show. Walk. Take a bath. Put a chicken in the oven to roast. But know that after an hour, you’ll return for your final 2 hours of writing.
Before you know it, you’ll have finished that paper or that chapter. You’ll have put in a long day of writing–8 hours of it! Maybe this should be your plan for your Saturday. I think it might be mine!