Sunday, August 12, 2012

How to Be A College Writer

In a little over a month I shall be back to university. Summer has gone very quickly, and I know I shall miss it soon enough. But I also find myself missing the dorms and classes, and my campus in general. With the coming of my sophomore year of college will also come more writing.

Last year I wrote one novel for NaNoWriMo, and then began another entitled Balancing Act which is nearing completion. It is a struggle to write in college, especially when you're an English and History major, because there always seems to be something else you should be doing. Like reading a book for research, or trying to write a poem using a certain method. But if you want to be a serious college writer, here are my suggestions:

  1. Weekends are your friends: I know you'll probably want to go out and about on the weekends. After all, it's your first time living away from your parents and it's exciting. And I wholeheartedly reccommend getting to know your campus and the surrounding towns. But you should also spend at least a few hours each weekend (or even every other weekend if you're very busy) writing. Whether it's outlining, or actual story-making, this will lift you out of your study-centric life for a while.
  2. Summers are your best friends: Whether you have a job or vacation, or are just laying around the house, summers are the best times for busy college students to work on their books. I've been to New York this summer, and for the past couple months I've been working a full time job. But since work stays, well, at work, I have time to write once my shift ends. Vacations are great vats of inspiration to get you out of a rut, and summers provide ample time to sit down and write.
  3. Have a deadline: This is a personal preference of mine, but if you are a college student I'm pretty sure you're double majoring in Not Enough Sleep and Procrastination. You know what I'm talking about, don't pretend you don't. A deadline makes a paper a lot more likely to get done, especially when you're close to the due date. So here's my advice: Set yourself a hard and fast deadline for how many pages/words/books you're going to write. If it helps, split it up by quarter or semester so you have multiple deadlines throughout the year. My deadlines include: Finish my summer reading project before fall quarter starts, write two books a year (one for NaNoWriMo and one other), be ready to send out massive amounts of queries by winter quarter.
  4. Don't say "I'll do it tomorrow": I know I just essentially said that deadlines are linked with procrastination, but if at all possible, avoid procrastination. The thing about being a college writer is, you don't *have* to write. You've got quite enough on your plate at the moment between trying to juggle classes, homework, and a social life, and possibly a job. It is easy for writing to fall to the wayside. But if you are serious about being a college writer, don't say "I'll do it tomorrow." You won't. Trust me. Doing it today will make you a whole lot happier tomorrow.
I hope my advice helps. If you have any questions, or further advice, feel free to put them in the comments.

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