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How to Write Fiction While in School for Fiction

I’m baaaaaaaaack!

I know, I know. I haven’t blogged in FOREVER. But I have a good excuse. I’ve been busy surviving my first semester as a PhD student! And even better, I am a PhD student in fiction!! It doesn’t get much better than this.

That being said, my first semester was tough. And I’m guessing it’s not going to get any easier. So, I am determined to find ways to make things go at least a little bit more smoothly. Starting with writing.

See, the thing is, besides the stuff I had to write for school, I did no writing — AT ALL — in my first semester. Which is strange, when you’re getting a PhD in fiction, right? Right. I need to write. That’s the whole reason I’m doing all this. But how?

Daily Writing Log

In the spirit of the new year, I’ve been in my usual state of organizing, prepping, and building new, sustainable habits. I read this blog by a fellow writer recently, and it inspired me to start another new habit: keeping a daily writing log. For my writing log (which will be formatted as a spreadsheet — possibly Google Sheets so that it’s shareable with an accountability partner), I plan to track the following:

  1. date/day of week

  2. start time

  3. end time

  4. number of words

  5. goal/what I plan to work on

  6. what I actually worked on

  7. exercise (before or during)

  8. food & caffeine intake (before and during)

  9. music/environment

  10. mood

  11. writing ritual completed? (yes/no)


This is not MY log — just an example!

By keeping track of these elements, I hope to discover what works best for me as a writer, and what tends to make me less productive. This is how I will grow as a writer!

This is especially important now, since I have so little time available to write. My hope is that this spreadsheet will keep me accountable to my goal of writing something every day, and also focusing my efforts on what works best for me.

(Another blog post that inspired me is this one, which describes fitting in little bits of writing whenever/wherever you can in the midst of a busy day. I will also try this!)

Wish me luck! And let me know if you’ve tried your own writing log!


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