How to Get Writing Done Over the Weekend

You can relax, have fun and write a lot, too.


The life of a writer is often a little more complicated than most people realize. A lot of us don’t get paid when we’re first starting out. And if we do, it’s either part-time work, extremely part-time to start, or we’re getting paid to write things that aren’t necessarily what we really want to be writing.

So when we get home from work, in the evenings and on the weekends, we’re not just lounging around. Often times, we’re writing. Or trying to, on top of everything else.

During NaNoWriMo 2015 we helped you catch up on your word count when you fell behind and taught you how to keep up with writing over the Thanksgiving holiday. You apparently loved those tips. There’s more where those came from.

It’s now the weekend again (finally). Not a holiday weekend: just your average Saturday and Sunday. (At least not here in the US. To everyone reading who’s not here, I’m sorry I keep forgetting about you.) We’re going to help you get some writing done over the next two days and still have time left over for sleep, relaxation and Netflix.

Determine exactly how much you want or need to get done

On Friday or Saturday morning, sit down and figure out exactly what and how much you need to have finished before you go to bed Sunday night. Once you know what you need to get done, the end is much easier to visualize – especially if you give yourself an incentive.

Promise yourself a small reward if you get it done. On your way home from work Friday night, stop by a bookstore and buy yourself a book. Give it to someone in your household or a friend and tell them not to give it to you unless you meet your writing goals by the end of the weekend.

Get it done first thing Saturday morning

The beauty of Saturday morning – if you don’t work or have overachieving children or early lawn-mowing neighbors – is its quietness. Even if you let yourself sleep in, there’s often a bubble of time before the rest of the world truly wakes up and starts being disruptive, distracting and needy.

What’s appealing about this method is that it establishes a sense of routine. If you know you’re going to be waking up and spending the morning writing, and you stick with it long enough, it will become a habit. You’ll begin to expect and even plan and prepare for it. You might even come to look forward to and enjoy it.

Establish your own Saturday afternoon or night writing tradition

Piggybacking off the point above, if you’re not a morning person or you have another weekly Saturday morning commitment, you can also try setting something up for yourself in the afternoon or evening. A way of training your brain to get used to the fact that after lunch or dinner on Saturday, you’re going to be spending some time writing.

Since you don’t necessarily have to worry about being at work at normal time Sunday morning, you can turn this into something a little more fun by picking a new library, coffee or tea shop or cafe or bookstore as your designated writing space every week. Turn it into an adventure.

You might even find a few fellow writers or friends who will be willing to tag along with you just for the experience. Sometimes it’s good to get out and write somewhere different.

In a nutshell, if you plan out how much you need to do, give yourself a time and place to do it in and add a little flavor into the mix, you’ll get that new book you bought for yourself.

As for how to make time to actually sit down and read it … good luck with that one. :)

Image courtesy of

How to Turn Inspiration into Motivation, and Motivation into Productivity


Last week, I figured out how my trilogy is going to end.

As it often happens these days, I wasn’t writing when the idea emerged from hiding. Actually, I was working, minding my own full-time, focus-requiring business when BOOM—there it was. Right down to the last line of the epilogue. I could almost hear the character speaking the words in my head.

Admit it, it’s happened to you before, too.

You’d think this would prompt a much-overdue happy dance. I FIGURED OUT HOW TO END MY SERIES! There are just a few problems with my new “discovery,” though. The most important being, of course, that at this point I have barely made a dent in Book 1. Even after almost three years of working on the project.

So here I am, with a beginning mostly written and a pretty awesome ending in mind. Now all that’s left is … everything else.

The moment I realized the perfect way to end my trilogy/series/whatever the heck it ends up being, inspiration hit. Really—if you’ve felt it before, you can back me up that it’s an actual physical, yet oddly satisfying slap in the face. Though I had the ending, and not much in the middle, thinking about my book again inspired me to work on the story despite not being anywhere near the end of it.

There is a common misconception, though, that the second a writer feels inspired to work on one of their [often many] projects, they get to writing, well, right away.

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Inspiration does not always equal motivation, which does not always lead to productivity. I haven’t made much Elite progress since my “ending revelation,” but that doesn’t mean I haven’t felt inspired, and even motivated, to do so. Here’s how to get yourself from that fresh sensation of inspiration, onto the motivation train, all the way to Productivity Land.

Write Something Down ASAP

It doesn’t matter when, or how, or what. When inspiration hits, especially if you can’t start writing that second, minute, hour, day, week, just jot down something. Find a Post-It and scribble keywords. Write a note in your planner. Set a reminder in your phone.

While you’re not likely to forget an idea—and if you do, if the idea is good enough, it will always come back—making a physical note to yourself gives you something to go back to when the “right time to write” finally comes.

Journal About Your Idea Later 

For those “against” outlining, think of this practice as a way to expand the horizons of your inspiration before shaping it into a scene, theme or piece of dialogue. On that same Post-It note, marginal space in your planner or in your phone, without worrying about spelling, grammar or even full sentences, write about your idea. I have an untitled document on my iPad that consists of several pages of random thoughts associated with my trilogy, and when I am inspired to write but not motivated to sit down at my computer and do it, I open up this document and scroll through it first. This usually does the trick.

Writing your idea down, and then writing more about that idea, can give you a clearer picture of how you want to use it in a current story or even a future project. Additionally, if you’re inspired but still dragging your feet, return to those notes. Often, this will transform inspiration into “I have to write, right now!”

Choose One Piece to Run With

You’ll develop a lot of smaller ideas just from one bout of inspiration, probably without realizing it. One mistake writers frequently make is trying to fit all the pieces together in one sitting, then hopping onto their laptop and trying to crank it out right then and there. Highlight one small element you want to work on, and focus on that first.

Writing about your idea, instead of leaping right into working on the actual project, is not a waste of time. It took almost a quarter of a page of notes before I realized one of my characters has to battle a brain disease (spoilers, sorry, you’ll forget by the time, if, this thing ever gets to print), which eventually turned into a significant plot point throughout the entire series. For awhile, I focused just on this, and it has led to many more (slow) developments since.

When you feel inspired, get your idea on paper. When it’s on paper, motivate yourself by expanding on that Post-It/margin/screen. When you’re motivated, take one small piece from the notes you’ve made and start incorporating that into your project. It’s not complicated, and you might find it works better than another method you’ve tried.

These three steps will take you from the abstract to the concrete; the process is worth holding off on opening your project’s document in MS Word. Especially if you’re like me, who gets ideas in the middle of the work day and can’t stop menu editing to work on them. (If only.)

Love&hugs, Meg<3

Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.

A recent graduate with a B.A. in English and a completed major in nutrition, currently seeking a graduate degree in health communication, Meg is a twenty-something workaholic with a passion for writing, coffee and dietetics. In addition to her status as an aspiring novelist and Grammar Nazi (and the mastermind behind this site), Meg is an editor for College Lifestyles magazine and a guest blogger for Food & Nutrition Magazine’s Stone Soup.  She is a seven-time NaNoWriMo winner and has written several creative pieces for Teen Ink magazine. Follow Meg on Twitter.

Tales of a Highly Caffeinated JulNoWriMo Enthusiast – Day 18

I can’t remember the last time I’ve felt this tired. I also can’t remember the last time I’ve felt this free.

I’m not done with all of my classes yet (two more weeks – it will go by quick), but two of them are completely done and over with. This means I can focus more time on my internship, reading books for fun, and – of course – writing.

I’m extremely behind as far as word count goes, but I plan to spend a good portion of this weekend catching up. I love my characters and my story – I’ve just been swamped with a thousand other things. Like accounting. Which, if you really think about it, isn’t that hard. If you’re an organization enthusiast like myself, that is.

I think between running, school, sleep and anything else I can squeeze in-between, there’s only one thing that always seems to keep me going: possibilities. Where can my writing lead me in the future? What can it help me to achieve? I’m 20 years old and have no idea what I want to do with my life, but there are 50+ year-olds who don’t know what they want to do with their lives. I’m not worried. I’ve come to realize that the only thing you really can do if you have a dream is practice your passions, toss them out into the open, and wait for things to fall into place.


arrowWriting is something that energizes me. It helps me focus on something other than that homework assignment over there, or that test next week, or that tuition I have to hope my parents will continue to pay for (isn’t education fun?). Of all the things I do, it often seems to be the only thing I can sit down and do without stressing over it.

I’m not stressed about my low word count. I know I’ll get there.

I always have a good enough reason to try, anyway.

Love&hugs, Meg<3