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How to Create a Writing Work Plan

Students often hear teachers prattling on about creating ‘plans’ for their writing. You get the idea; you plan out when you’re going to write so that you don’t have to do it all at once. So far, you haven’t seen the need for it. After all, none of your assignments have come in late, and you’ve got pretty good grades, right? The problem is, a time will come when you’re overwhelmed with work – and you need something to help you keep track of what needs to be done. When you hit this wall, it’s necessary to understand how to create and implement a writing plan. Surprisingly, doing so is relatively easy, as long as you follow these simple steps:

  • Find out when you’re free. If you have a calendar of scheduled events, great – you can reference it immediately to find out when you’re available time slots are. If you don’t have a calendar, it might be a good idea to make one up – at least for now. Try to locate consistent times during the week where you are free from other academic or career duties. If you can’t find consistent times, at least map out the times where you are free – and stick to it! The key to following a writing work plan is sticking to the schedule. If you slotted three hours on Saturday for research, then use up all three hours!
  • Divide up the work. When you approach a paper, there are several steps you must go through. First, you must find a thesis, then research, then compose an outline or preliminary writing plan. Only after this should you start writing. When you develop a writing work plan, you need to decide how much time each of these steps will take. For example, your research may take several days, while your outline may only take one. Decide how to divvy up the work so that you’ll have the essay done in time for editing, proofing, revising and final completion.
  • Revise when necessary. When you create your original writing plan, you naturally won’t be able to compensate for unexpected occurrences. Here’s the key, though: if you have to skip one of your planned writing sessions, reschedule it immediately. Don’t assume you’ll make up the work when you have time, or that you’ll just work harder in a single session. Reschedule so that you’re absolutely sure there’s time to complete every step in the writing process.