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Writing Help: You Should Use Your Calendar To Improve Your Writing by Deanna Mascle

Many of my students shrug their shoulders at the beginning of the semester when I tell them that time is their best friend. Just like my students, too many writers struggle with their writing because they treat time as a four letter word. However time is not the enemy if you learn to use it wisely. Time can be a tremendous help when you write if you plan ahead. Making a wise use of your time is a three-step process.

First, allow yourself enough time to live with the idea you plan to write about. Do not write. Give yourself permission to jot down notes but it is wisest to simply make these hard copy (or handwritten) notes. You want to give your muse, your subconscious mind, your brain, or whatever part of you that does your heavy lifting when it comes to writing, time to work. During this time just go about your normal life and work on other tasks, writing and otherwise. There is no need to schedule time to simply think about your future writing task. It is going on whether or not you pay attention to it. However every day you can give yourself for this process will save you much time, energy, and agony later on. Trust me. I have been there and I know whereof I speak.

Second, once you have given your brain some time to work out your rough draft (or at least the bones of it) then it is time to start writing. However before you start writing you should work out a schedule for yourself. Set goals and limitations and then stick to them. Perhaps you will write for a set amount of time or you might rather set a certain page count for your goal. Some days it will be a struggle to meet your goal and other days it will be almost painful to stop when you have met your quota, but over time your brain and writing muscles will become accustomed to the goal and the writing will come easier and faster.

Third, and this is where you need to pull out your calendar, you need to plan your schedule so you have plenty of time for that initial period of thought, a workable writing schedule, and time for drafts as well as time for breaks between drafts. Writing and revising through multiple drafts is one of the essentials to improving your writing product but if you do not allow sufficient time between those drafts then you might as well not bother with drafts at all. You need to give your brain time to rest and you need to allow yourself some distance from the initial creation.

Time is a writer's best friend but only if you plan ahead sufficiently to allow time to live with your writing idea, plan a workable schedule, and give yourself time off between drafts. Pulling out your calendar and planning out a writing schedule can be the single biggest step you take to improve your writing.


About the Author

Deanna Mascle shares more writing help and writing tips with her writing newsletters at http://wordcraftonline.com


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