Graduate Writing Program- The Homeschooling Version

I’ve decided to look at my writing as if I’m doing a Masters Level Writing Program. Any stories or novels I finish are like papers or my thesis. All the other things I need to do to get good at writing (reading and analyzing fiction, reading about how to write, researching for my stories, etc.) are like my classes and assignments. So I made myself a class schedule and semester syllabus to help me actually complete my projects.

When planning this program I had to think about how I work best. Here’s what I came up with:

-I live for structure and routine
-But I need lots of variety too or I get bored
-I can only concentrate on a task for 20- 45 minutes before I get antsy
-Most of my reading is done around my kids, in the grocery line, or on the metro, so I read slowly (2.4 minutes per page).
-I have the most energy mid-morning, when I have the house to myself
-I want to sub once a week so that leaves 4 mornings
-I do better setting easy goals that I can meet and then slowly increasing them once I’m consistently making the goal rather than setting challenging goals from the start.

This is the program I planned:

Semester Time Frame: February 28 – June 9
Vacations: March 15- March 22 (Big Sub Job Experiment)
April 10- 17 (Spring Break for Kids)

Semester Goals:
1.Revise current Dr. P story
2.Write 1st draft of new Dr. P story (with lizards)
3.Post one book review or other post on LJ a week
4.Gain knowledge from writing books and other non-fiction reading
5.Explore what makes the fiction I like so enjoyable and what makes the other stuff boring (to me).

Class Time (4 days a week from 9 am to Noon):

1st 30 minutes: Write a summary (no more than ½ a page for each) of yesterday’s reading (both fiction and non-fiction). I’ll also note parts I liked and didn’t.

Ten Minute Break

2nd 45 minutes: Freewrite at least two pages of fiction or non-fiction (book review, LJ post)

Ten Minute Break

3rd 45 minutes: Revise at least two pages of fiction, 1 book review, or 1 LJ post

Ten Minute Break

4th 30 minutes: Brainstorm and Play (can be for a story or character, can be just playing around with words, whatever)

Afternoon Homework (while kids are doing their homework):
-Read about an hour of fiction (at least 100 pages a week) The fiction can be kid novels, YA novels, and even occasionally fanfic.
-Read about ½ hour of non-fiction (at least 50 pages a week). The non-fiction can be on personality type, history, writing, etc. I’ll usually read about 3 different non-fiction books at a time but I read only 1-2 chapters of each book a week. This way I don’t get bored and I have time to absorb what I read.

Evening Class (5 days a week from 9:30pm to 10:30pm):
-Read blogs and forums on writing or whatever interests me.
-Make comments on blogs and forums and email friends

Foreign Language Component (I think of this as the subject I’m “minoring” in):
I’ll also continue learning Spanish and French. I have a whole routine set up where I practice each language for ½ hr. each day (5 days a week) in the afternoon while my kids are doing their homework or having their computer time. Basically I rotate throughout the week between grammar practice, speaking practice, and reading practice using several different programs so I don’t get bored.

And there you have it, my homeschooling writer’s grad program. Anyone else is welcome to post their own program. It can be like mine or completely different.
PS: Yes, I know I’m anal. I live for structure.

4 thoughts on “Graduate Writing Program- The Homeschooling Version

  1. Program looks great Robin! I wish I could be a little more anal about somethings. I think I have a scattered madness at times. I’m reaaly enjoying my A&P class, but have to figure out the rest of my plan. I like the idea of setting smaller goals and building up, I think I aim to high at time, and then give up quickly when I don’t manage it all. Smaller step and keep moving forward.

  2. I like that you started out by identifying how your work best, and then tailoring the program to that. Also, the bit about working in the non-fiction reading is a great idea. (And I’m glad you’re planning to post more on LJ!)
    Keep us posted!

    • Thanks for the support. I think I should have planned a holiday after the Oscars because I am getting nothing done today, except maybe a couple Oscar comments on the web and I posted a book review I finished Friday. At least I’m not subbing this week so I still can do four days of schooling starting tomorrow.

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