Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure most people look at the weekend as a time to relax.
To rest, and reflect. To enjoy oneself.
Monday through Friday is when you do all the hard work, and Saturday and Sunday is the time to have fun.
But when you’re a fiction writer, working project to project, there really is no such thing as a “weekend.”
Sure, if you have the luxury of time in your schedule, then by all means, write a lot Monday through Friday, then take the weekend off. I actually wrote a few novels like that in 2015 and 2016. I wrote really, really hard during my weekdays, and then I allowed myself entire weekends of no writing.
But for the most part, I like to use my weekends not to relax necessary but to catch up on my work, and write even more than I did during the regular work week.
I’ve written a lot on Medium about why it’s important to be consistent in your writing.
If you have a busy job, a crazy schedule, Monday through Friday, and really only have time to do actual writing on the weekend, I still insist that you carve out even just thirty minutes a day Monday through Friday to do some writing. It can be 200 words a day. It can be just a tiny little bit. But even the slightest bit is still making progress, and you’ll end the day knowing you’ve advanced your project by even that slightest degree. It gives you a sense of accomplishment before you turn in for bed at night.
I’ve also written a lot on Medium about why I think it’s important not to just purge your writing solely on the weekends.
I’ve known writers who have done this actually. Write nothing Monday through Saturday, then wake up early on Sunday morning and write 5,000 or 6,000 words before noon. There, that writer says. I’ve done my writing for the week!
As great as you might feel that Sunday afternoon, and while yes, I’d prefer you write 5,000 words one day a week than zero words all days of the week, I still don’t think this is the best way to write a piece of fiction.
Writing strong characters, for example, is about living with those characters each and every day.
Stephen King talks about this in On Writing. He says that if you go more than a day or two without writing, the characters begin to stale in your mind, that they start to feel like characters and not flesh-and-blood people.
This is why being consistent is so important, not blocking out one day a week to write a lot of words but rather block out a little bit of time every day of the week to write some words.
Having said all this, however, one thing I do recommend, if you have the time on your weekends?
If you only have an hour to write between Monday and Friday, and on most of those days can only get to, say 500 words or so, and then you have your weekend totally open?
No, you don’t need to only write for an hour on Saturday and Sunday too, and only get to 500 words.
If you are stretched for time during your work week but always have lots more hours available on the weekend, write more, lots more. Write tons! Write 5,000 words a day if you want.
Or write 2,000 words, always my goal when I’m writing my first draft of a novel.
Don’t look at your weekend writing as catching up. Don’t say to yourself, well, I only wrote 500 words a day for the last five days, so now I have to write 5,000 words both Saturday and Sunday to catch up for the week.
Get up on Saturday. Sit at your writing desk. Get your 500 words down.
And now every word you write after that? Gravy!
Maybe just aim for 500 extra words, that might be enough for you. Or go for the full 2,000.
I absolutely love it when my weekends are wide open and I have more time to write. This weekend in particular I’ve been lucky to have the time to revise two of my new middle grade novels and do far more work than I was able to the previous few days. While I revised one chapter for each book a day Monday through Friday, yesterday I revised two chapters of one of the books and four chapters of the other book!
Instead of two hours of time to devote to my writing, yesterday I put in about six.
It was fantastic. And I felt like I had used my time wisely before I moved on to other activities later in the day.
If you want to be a writer, you need to find the time to do the work. If that means an hour or less a day, so be it. If some of your weekends are crazy busy, still of course try to find that hour to devote to your writing.
But when you have a weekend with hours and hours of free time to do whatever?
Don’t waste it by goofing off, lounging, avoiding the computer completely.
Sit down in that chair and write your ass off. You’ll be glad you did!