Most of my school career I pulled A’s and B’s out of my classes. High school was difficult, but most classes I did okay. (I did have to repeat two classes – Science and Math). I never forgot to write down assignments and I loved studying. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise when I tell you I loved my study skills courses in middle school.
When I first found out in sixth grade I would have to take a class about how to study, I thought it sounded pretty idiotic. Homework about how to do homework? Sure … but honestly, the courses were very helpful.
There are a few aspects of study skills. I’ll go over a few and show you how awesome these have been in my writing.
- Time Management – Though I do write down daily what work I need to get done, I still struggle a bit here. Distractions are the number one reason why. I sit down and open my laptop and find myself looking at social media or checking sales on my books or my Jamberry business. However, when I do buckle down, I figure if I have an hour, I can type out about 1K in words, and if I dictate, maybe even more. Every morning I get my workout in first and the rest of my day follows.
- Essay Writing – Case in point! I always loved essays in school. Give me a multiple choice test and I’m terrified. Toss a two or three-page essay my way, and I’m happy! Writing essays in school helped me with my writing, obviously. I don’t think this needs much more!
- Organization – I think this can be put together with time management as well because if you have one you have the other. I keep a weekly planner and I love it. I want to get a fantastic one for next year so I can outline all my goals. I’m still deciding what sort of a planner to get. I’ll take suggestions in the comments!
- Critical Reading – I love to read as much as I love to write. In order to improve my writing, I need to read great writing. I also need to read poorly written material. I read books much differently than I used to and with a much more critical eye. Doing this helps me recognize the good and bad in my own work.
- Research – There are many forms of research. The internet is one, obviously, but nothing beats interviewing people or hitting the books from your library. I write a lot from experience, but not everything! Many times I need to interview someone about a job my character holds or hop onto Google Maps to get an idea of scenery.
- Outlining – I’ll admit, I hated this part of study skills. I didn’t like being boxed into an outline. I hated the Roman numerals and the structure. Then I discovered beats. Up until I started working on Jay Walking, I was a pantser. Yes, I still do fly by the seat of my pants at times, but I’ve learned that I don’t need to follow a specific outline of an outline. See what I did there? My outlines are simply a few notes about each chapter.
I think my love for study skills contributed to my love of planners. I always protected my assignment notebooks and put as much information in them as I could. I still do. I still remember my first assignment notebook in middle school. It was so simple – basically just copied sheets stapled together – but it was mine.