Your Writer’s Syllabus

I love new beginnings. Love them, love them, love them. We are coming up on a triple home run of new beginnings: The first day of the week, first day of the month, and start of an academic year all rolled into one: September 1.

Perhaps because I have never really left school, I always think of fall rather than January as the new year. The change of seasons is the perfect time to engage in some reflection on our writing life: Where we are, where we’ve been, and where we want to be.

It is also a good time to consider creating your own Writer’s Syllabus, a Do It Yourself guide for furthering your writing education and giving yourself some assignments tailored to your individual goals and purpose. Possible sections to include in your syllabus would be Course Philosophy, Course Materials, Reading Schedule, and Writing Calendar.

For example, today I am looking forward to watching a free webinar on using Scrivener to format books, hosted by KM Weiland and Joseph Michael. That would make an excellent item to include in a Writer’s Syllabus, perhaps with some follow-up assignments. We can schedule days or times in a Writer’s Syllabus to catch up on podcasts for writers or read short sections of our favorite writing books or do writing prompts and exercises.

Be as creative with formatting as you wish. Include only those sections that are helpful to you. You probably won’t need a section on grading, but it may be good to include one on attendance (“I expect myself to show up on time and to give myself at least 24 hours notice if I must miss a required session or assignment  🙂 ). Use humor liberally and give yourself permission to make adjustments as necessary along the way.

Because this is your syllabus, there is no way to get it wrong, but if you want some ideas and inspiration, check out these resources:

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