Devising a Writing Project Plan and Schedule

One of the most important things writers can do is to plan their writing and develop schedules for completing it. After you have an outline, you are ready to schedule work on your writing project. To do this, you need a plan. Knowing what topics you must cover and whether you have to perform research will help you plan your writing time. Devising a writing project schedule may be particularly worthwhile for your longer assignments, especially research projects; but a variation of this planning can be useful even for shorter projects.

To devise a schedule, you need a clear plan for all the activities, start to finish, associated with your writing project. A writing plan helps you stay in control of your writing assignment and complete it on time. Consider the time you have to complete the project, and then allocate time for each activity. Some activities may include writing drafts; reviewing your project and asking for instructor and peer review; editing your draft for organization, content, style, and mechanics; producing and proofreading your final draft; and submitting your final project to your instructor.

The professional writing field has given us some handy tools for managing writing projects. You may even use a planning tool at your job that is similar to the one presented here. Tools for managing writing projects are necessary when writers are collaborating and when several people are responsible for various portions of the writing process, such as reviewing and editing. We offer such a tool here for you to consider. You can use this planning tool for any formal or informal longer writing assignment, and you can also use it to get feedback from your instructor on your assignment.

Writing Project Plan
Date assigned:  
Date due:  
Working thesis:  
Audience: Who is the primary audience?
Who is the secondary audience?
Do I need to make any special accommodations for these audiences?
Scope of assignment: How long is this assignment expected to be?
Is it expected to cover a time period or a range of ideas?
Purpose of writing: What do I want to accomplish with this project—show my instructor what I know, earn a high grade, satisfy a course requirement?
Goals of the information: How will the audience use the information?
Methodology: How will I write this assignment?
What writing strategy will I use?
How will I develop this assignment?
Will I subject my paper to any kind of review by the instructor or a peer?
How many drafts will I have time to write?
Will I have to create any graphics for this assignment?
How much research will I have to do?
What kind of research is required for this assignment?
Should I develop an annotated bibliography?
What style standard will I use?
Content outline: Include an outline of the assignment and a brief description of what you plan to include in each section. Include how much library research you think you will have to do and whether you can use other sources of information, such as interviews, personal experience, case studies, and data you collected yourself.
Research: List the titles of your preliminary resources and the subject areas you will have to research.
Schedule for this project: Your schedule should include a week‑by‑week plan for researching, writing, revising, and submitting your writing project. If your project is due within a week, use a day‑by‑day schedule to plan it.

Student Services: 1616 McCormick Drive, Largo, MD 20774
Mailing Address: 3501 University Blvd. East, Adelphi, MD 20783

Copyright © 2011 University of Maryland University College (UMUC). All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without prior written permission of the copyright holder.

All links to external sites were verified at the time of publication. UMUC is not responsible for the validity or integrity of information located at external sites.