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Study Habits For Writing

Sep 16, 2008
Good study habits will make your courses much easier to handle. It's human nature to want to do everything the easy way. Unfortunately, anything that comes easily is usually not worth having. Good writing and study habits begin with learning from past experiences.

If you are a quarter horse and you slow down or choke in the long stretch, there is a way to improve your performance. Shorten your goals.

If you don't see how you have time to take a writing course for eight weeks, sign up anyway. Shorten the goal, and don't look at the package deal. Approach it one week at a time.

He who aims at nothing hits same. Staying focused is imperative above all else. Taking one writing course will require about 90 minutes of homework a week. Some students can get by with just an hour. Where can you work 60 - 90 minutes a week into your schedule? Perhaps you could get up 15 minutes early every day. (That's out, huh?) Okay. You could use your lunchtime. I know of a lady who wrote a book by writing only 15 minutes a day. But if that won't work for you, perhaps you could set time aside in the evening. Could you stay up 15 minutes later each night? Do whatever works for you, but make yourself do it.

To make the most of your study time, don't study with earphones, music or television on. Learning to study in the quiet is an art of its own. Some authors go to a cabin or up in the attic to be alone. Learn to cherish the quiet. Listen to it. That is how you will hear the words that come to you.

When the words come so fast that you barely have time to write them down, that is called the muse. Above all, do not stop and edit when you're in that mode. Keep writing as long as you can. If you really want the muse (and every writer should), study at the same time every day for a week. By the second week, you will find that the muse will begin to come at the time you have set.

Setting good habits is hard, and sometimes the only way you can break a bad habit is to punish yourself for it. For example, if you don't write one day, make yourself clean the toilet as punishment (whether it needs it or not). Pick whatever chore you hate most. Don't be discouraged if you miss writing now and then. Begin each new day with the confidence that you can break old habits, and the time to start is now - over and over again.

Last, but not least, whether you're writing a short story, article, or doing homework, don't begin new projects until you finish the old one.

Remember, shorten your goals so you don't burn out before the finish. If you can't see how you'll work the time in for one week of studies, set your goal for three days of study. Make yourself write at least 15 minutes a day, four days a week. Disconnected writing times may make it a little harder to "get into the groove", but you will acclimate to it. Best wishes.
About the Author
Deborah Owen is the CEO & founder of the new writing school, Creative Writing Institute. A non-profit organization that depends totally on gifts and donations, this new mentoring school is taking the net by storm. Registration is open now. Classes begin October 5.http://www.creativewritinginstitute.com
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