Create A Schedule

My tip is twofold: first, create a schedule. Writing is a job. When I'm working on a novel, I have a routine that Irefuse to break. For example, I write every morning first thing for three hours. Then I go back late afternoon for three more hours. Make your routine/schedule realistic. If you tell yourself that you're going to write every day for ten hours straight, you're setting yourself up to fail. Start with a reasonable daily schedule/routine, say sitting down to write for one hour at the same time every day. No outside distractions, no cell phones, no internet. Just you and your notebook or computer. Soon, you'll find that you might be writing for 70 minutes, an hour and a half, two hours. Most important, though, is to religiously stick to your schedule.

Second, always remind yourself that every word that comes out of you isn't going to be golden, isn't going to be perfect. Take away the huge stress that everything that you write is going to be perfect the first time and you'll free yourself up to write for real.

Joseph Boyden’s Through Black Spruce received The Giller Prize. Last year his novel The Orenda won CBC’s Canada Reads.