Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Making a writing plan!

at Two Writing Teachers!
Yesterday, Kate Messner's first post for the Teachers Write! 2012 camp was about making time for writing.  Now, I've gotten a lot better this year about making time for writing... I even did it every day in March

However, the end of the school year brought its usual (and even some unusual!) craziness, and all of a sudden I didn't have as much time to write as I wanted to.  So I'm glad for Kate's camp and her suggestions to get me back into full ready-to-write mode. 

Ironically, I'm a day late posting about this... But I seriously spent ALL DAY yesterday -- and I mean nearly every waking minute that I wasn't eating -- preparing for ELL summer school, which started today!  However, that was an abnormality caused by a variety of factors, including no teacher workday at the end of the year, my cousins coming into town, and the Memorial Tournament.  (Anyway, summer school is off to a great start, although it's K-5 this year and elementary kids seem to be rather wigglier than I remembered!)

But really, I love the idea of making a writing plan.  In March, it was just sort of "I HAVE TO BLOG TODAY!!!" and I squeezed it in somewhere, although I often ended up posting at a similar time.  Like Kate, I learned not to wait for the mythical "perfect writing time" but to just WRITE! Squeezing it in somewhere worked for a month, but it was much too easy for other things to squeeeeeze the writing back out when the month (whew!) was over.  

with Kate Messner!
So here we go, my writing plan!  (Or at least, what I think is my writing plan, subject to change if I find that something else works better!)

1. Cut out / cut back on: TV, reading blogs, playing games on my iPod Touch.  Write during this time instead -- maybe not read all my blogs every day, and don't play my games so often.

2. When & how long: The big new commitment time will be evening after-dinner time: around 7:30pm, for 30 min to an hour.  If I have the chance some days, I'd like to add additional blogging-only time after school, before dinner, which is when I usually blog now (and thus why blogging gets pushed aside on busy schoolwork days!).  As for how long, my problem is that I'm kind of a long-drawn-out-writing-process person: I brainstorm, I play with ideas, I change them in my head before I put them on paper, and then I dive in deep when I start writing.  (For example, I've been thinking about this writing plan since yesterday and I've still already been in the process of this post for over an hour!)  To really try writing every day, I think I need to change how I think about writing -- I don't have to "WRITE" a polished, finished THING every day, I just have "DO writing"!  This could be brainstorming, outlining, editing, or even just "rough" writing that never gets polished.  I need to get a real Writer's Notebook (and maybe also form a digital one in Word for blog drafting?) to make this possible.

3. Where: On the couch with my laptop (and/or notebook) for the evening times, so I can still spend time with Husband.  In the afternoon, I'll opt for writing on the cozy bed with the drapes open to the greenness of our big tree (that's where I am now!), or outside on the back patio if it's nice weather!

4. Who I'll tell:  Husband, who is very sweet and encouraging and supportive about all this writing stuff, even though he's neither a writer nor a teacher... and obviously all of you, my wonderful blogging friends, who keep me going when I don't feel like it!  Also probably my parents because I may even have to write when we're over at their house sometimes, if I really jump into this completely!

If you have any tips about how YOU manage your writing time, please share!  :-)


  1. Sounds like you've got a plan in the works. I'm sure you will make it work. I look forward to reading more of your writing. I think I will be a lurker of this writing camp. It intrigues me.

  2. Hi Jennifer. Your plan sounds great to me. I have more time than you do, at least I will after this week. But I need to seriously start cleaning out my house to think about moving now, so that will take time. Thank goodness it's summer for a while. I'm sorry you're teaching so soon. Your plan sounds great to me. And you are right, it's process too & not like March where we presented a post every day. I do my serious writing late evening, as you read on my blog, but getting started is hard. I really wish I could sleep in a bit more & then I would stay up even later. Now maybe I will. I'm looking forward to reading everyone's writing!

  3. Great plan, Jen. I can't wait to read what you write.

  4. Summer school already started by you? Wow, that's early. Where do you live again?

    I write while my daughter is napping or sleeping. It helps because it's super quiet.

    1. Oh yes, unfortunately this year school ended on Thursday and we started summer school today -- not much time to transition and prepare! (I live in Ohio.)

  5. Jennifer, #3 is the most important! Just "do writing" every day! (I would also add "Have a deadline" to this list, but I don't know how that fits Kate's camp idea...) I take the train to work, and I type "stuff" (mostly ideas and outlines) on my phone on the train. This gets me ready to do more writing later (at lunch or after dinner). I noticed during the March blogging challenge that my husband was just as happy for us to "parallel play" on our computers in the evenings as to watch t.v., so I think writing after dinner is a great idea! I also have found it helpful to have ONE evening that is most definitely devoted to writing a week, and it helps if there's some accountability or community for it. (I meet with a writing group, so I know I have that time reserved...)

  6. This part, "I don't have to "WRITE" a polished, finished THING every day, I just have "DO writing"!" is so hard for me to get into my head sometimes. I think it's because I want to use the blog to post things I might put in my notebook as typing is often easier and I like having it organized online for me but it's public and has an audience.


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