Maureen Kauzlarich

Children's Author

How Writing is like Homework

Oh, the days of homework. Remember those? If you're taking college courses, then this is a present problem (or non-problem?). Writing a book, a blog, an article, or anything that's published is a lot like doing homework. Here's a comparison between the two and how treating writing like homework can push you to write. Here are the reasons why you should let it:


Reason #1: Pesky Deadlines


In school, you have until a certain date to get a piece of homework done. Usually, it's within the same week if it's a small assignment, but sometimes it can carry into a month when it's a big project or long paper. Somehow, even with outside influences, students still get it done. Treating a piece of writing like homework can have the same result. Give it a deadline, like writing the first five chapters by midnight on Sunday. If you don't, an invisible teacher from another dimension will make you listen to nails on a chalkboard in your dreams. This is not a drill!


Reason #2: Taking it more seriously


Homework equals grades. Do the work and you'll get a better grade. (Notice how I didn't say good grade. Now that's not a guarantee in writing.) Do a sloppy job and you're lucky to get a C+. (Now that's a guarantee in writing!) In the book world, these grades are reviews, usually put into four or five stars as the highest. (It's like being back in elementary school with the star system, isn't it?) Both grades and reviews can stick with you forever. They can affect your future career. So, like homework, take writing well seriously


Reason #3: You know your audience


When you must write a paper for school, you have an automatic reader. That is your teacher. This teacher also graded it based on how well written it was, how much effort you put into it, if it covered the topic, if the sources were cited correctly, etc. They gave you that assurance that it was good. In the world of being a writer, you don't have that anymore. A piece of advice? You better find that "teacher" in your life that can look it over for you before reading it to the class. A.K.A. your real audience. By treating writing like homework, you'll have an audience in mind, and you know that they can be the harshest graders. 


Reason #4: "It's called HOMEwork for a reason!"


You ever hear someone say that? In other words, homework is schoolwork you do at home. Well, so is writing anything. Unfortunately, writing books (for most) is done at home or between office meetings or on the toilet. It's an assignment that you must do at times where there are so many distractions and attractions. Like that new show playing on Netflix or a shiny new fork set you found on Amazon. With homework, parents usually had to force you to do it. (Yeahhh, don't try to say otherwise.) With writing, nobody is threatening you to get it done. That means you need to get someone to force you! Call up the friend, the spouse, the enemy, and of course, the parentals to be your go-to buddies that will push you to do it. 


Final Reason #5: You Care


Perhaps you didn't care for homework, but it was certainly a necessity to getting good grades. It made you a better student by practicing skills that you learned in the classroom. You did it because you at least cared about your future (or you feared the teacher from another dimension). Writing is obviously a necessity to making a book, but it's also a practice that will sharpen your skills as an author. So, write consistently! Show that you care. Learn to love writing the same way you learned to hate homework. It will make your parents so proud. 

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