Juggling Writing with School and Work.

Hello Lovely Readers,

Today is the end of a very long week for me, but I managed to get all my homework done with enough time to make a blog post.

For those of you who don’t know, I am currently a junior in college studying Environmental Science. I began writing in high school. My high school was really unique in that in nearly every class we were allowed to use laptops to take notes and do school work. In my history class, we regularly had assignment to write fictional stories set in a certain time period. Now, those pieces of writing will never surface again, but that really woke up my love of writing. As a high schooler, it was relatively easy to manage writing and school. I didn’t work, so after I had swim practice and all my homework was done, I was free to do whatever I wanted. Most nights that meant I wrote.

When I first went away to college, I thought it was going to be something similar. Not much was changing, if anything I was going to have more free time than I did in high school. But boy, was I wrong. For those of you not in college yet, your professor tend to forgot that you take classes outside of theirs. It was overwhelming that first semester, trying to juggle college classes, swimming on the school team, working, and finding time to write. Often times, it was much more appealing to watch Netflix, than slave over edits or first drafts of a story. Slowly, my writing time slipped away in favor of sleep, Netflix, or homework.

In the three years since then, I have learned several lessons about juggling time for writing. The most important one was that I needed to make time to write during my week even if it was just ten minutes.

In high school, writing had become a stress reliever, but I hadn’t realized how much it helped until I couldn’t do it in the same amount at college. Most of my time in class at the college level was all very analytical thinking, which I was expecting, but learning Calculus did not give much room for creative thinking. Now as a junior, on days when my brain is on overload from chemistry or botany, I can pen even just a paragraph of a story to sort out my thoughts.

I also discovered that I processed some things through my writing. Scenarios from my life would appear in my stories with either the best case or worst case outcomes. Even though they were different characters, it helped seeing the extremes of how something could end. During my freshman year, I got so caught up in my own head, that I wasn’t able to process things in an efficient way.

Another lesson that I learned was multitasking. I know that sounds funny, especially if you are someone who believes that women are always multitasking. Both college, I knew how to multitask in someways. I knew that I could eat and do homework or listen to a conversation while reading a book. But in college, I learned the ways to multitask on the computer.

By learning how to do this, I discovered the best way to find time to write. Like most college students, I enjoy watching Netflix, especially binge watching when shows get new episodes. But what I didn’t like was just sitting there and mindlessly watching a show. I felt like I was wasting time. So freshman year, I started to split my computer screen. One side would be Netflix and on the other side, I would have my current WIP (work in progress) up. I completed many words that way.

The third lesson I learned was time management. If you ask a college student what the hardest thing for them to learn, most would say time management. In high school (especially since I was an athlete), much of my day was mapped out for me. I had certain times that were for homework, practice, etc. It was fairly easy to use my allotted free time for writing.

However, college is a whole different ballgame. No one is telling you when to go to bed, when to eat, when to go to class. It is very different. Now, my freshman year was still pretty scheduled. I had practices twice a day and a full load of classes, but after five pm my nights were open. Those hours before bed were for homework and free time. Looking back as a junior, I realized that I did not have the greatest time management skills. I am still learning even now. It took me a while to get in the groove and figure out how to schedule in writing time. But eventually, I figured out how to schedule time for everything and have time left over now.

Even now carrying 22 units, I write nearly everyday. There are some weeks were no writing is done, because it is taking everything I have to just make it through those weeks. Not everyone will have the same experience as me, but it can be done.

Next week, I’ll be talking with some of my fellow Teen/Young Adult Writers (yes, I know I’m not a teen anymore, but I’ve known several of these writers since I started writing) about how they are juggling their schoolwork with their writing. The week after than, I will be talking about how community and family support played a role in writing while in college. If there are any specific questions you want answered comment and I will do my best to answer them or see if any of my friends can answer them.

Until next time,

Bethany

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Writing as told by Gilmore Girls

Happy December my lovely readers!

So my roommates and I have been binge watching Gilmore Girls and felt like I needed to pay tribute to hilarious TV show.

Starting your first story

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Typing “The End”

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Trying to explain your idea to nonwriters

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Their reaction to your explanation

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When you have to retype an entire section.

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When your characters take over the story

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When your characters become your life

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When an idea comes in the middle of the night

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When your characters finally get together

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Trying to get published

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Trying to hold back all the ideas when you are in the middle of a story

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Needless to say, writing a book tends to take over your life for a little bit.

But I wouldn’t give it up for anything.

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Until I emerge from Stars Hollow next,

Bethany

National Novel Writing Month

Today is Day 3 of National Novel Writing Month, and my current word count is 0. I wish I could say that I was at 5 or 6 K like some of my other writing friends, but unfortunately life has gotten in the way.

When you are in high school, people tell you that Junior year is the hardest year. I personally think the same is true for college, but it is different than in high school. Not only are you going through rigorous academics (especially as a science major), but you also have to start looking at real life and the dreaded question of what do you want to do after graduation.

Looking back, I can’t believe how much time has flown. Four years ago, I started The Fallen Crown. It was my second time doing Nano and the first time that I won it. Four years ago, if someone asked me what I thought would happen, I would’ve never said that I would be in the process of trying to get the book published.

While it is a bit of a disappointment that I won’t be taking part in Nano, knowing that it is this month is reminding me to keep writing even if it’s not for Nano. This month, my goal is to write a little bit everyday even if it is just a sentence or to. With all the craziness in my life, this seems like a much more reasonable goal than trying to complete a 50K novel.

Good luck to any of my fellow writers that are competing in Nano this year. To my readers who have done it before, how many years have you done?

Look forward to hearing from you!

Bethany

P.S. Part 4 of High Stakes went up today. Click here to check it out.