There are many writing advice articles out there that will tell you that you need to write every day in order to become a serious author. To be honest, I don’t think that’s true. There are a lot of people who don’t have the time to write every day but still take the vocation seriously. There are even professional, full-time authors who don’t write every day when they don’t have other responsibilities. So if you don’t have the time, or don’t work well on daily routine, don’t worry; no one is going to take your author’s card away.
There are several authors I’ve heard of who only wrote or write once a week. YA author Garth Nix said in an interview that he used to write only on Sundays for about four hours every week before he was a full-time author. Kameron Hurley said on an episode of Writing Excuses that she only writes once a week even though she is now a well known fantasy author.
If you’re busy, you don’t have to worry about writing every day, but on the days that you do have time, you have to make sure you put in the work. Create spaces where you can write, even if it’s only once a day for a few hours, and make sure that you’re focused on writing during that time.
Some other authors advise writing every day but keeping it to small amounts. Lev Grossman, author of The Magicians series, wrote about small-batch or ninja writing where you try to get words on a page whenever you have a chance, even if you only have 10 minutes worth of time. Fantasy author Brent Weeks also suggests writing every day in the writing advice section of his website, but he emphasizes that the amount of words or amount of time spent writing matters less than the discipline of just sitting down to get something done every day.
Author Sacha Black wrote a blog post about the effectiveness of writing sprints. These sprints can be executed consecutively or whenever you happen to have 15 minutes worth of time.
Whatever schedule you decide to adopt, or however often you determine is appropriate to write, I think the most important thing is to make sure that your writing is a priority. It seems easier than ever to find ways of procrastinating or wasting time, but if you ever want to get something done, you absolutely must make the time to do it. This might mean not binge-watching whatever the latest Netflix show is, subscribing to fewer YouTube channels, or missing some sports games, but if writing is something you take seriously, then you’ll need to cut back on other hobbies (unless you manage to do it full time).
Author Kim Chance also put together a vlog all about writing when busy, so if you struggle with that I suggest checking it out: