By Jessica Day
` You’re running off of approximately four hours and twenty-three minutes of sleep. After it goes below the six-hour mark, you begin to keep track of minutes and seconds while you stare at the time on your phone, half-covered by your notes and textbook. You’re taking six classes this semester, you have an internship that requires that horrid, lengthy commute to the city, and you’re a member of three clubs, in one of which you hold an e-board position. You haven’t been able to go to the gym in three weeks, and your friends are feeling neglected. Worst of all? You haven’t been able to write for yourself since the semester started.
Maybe it’s because when you want to, your roommate walks into the room and begins to FaceTime with their entire family (sans headphones). Maybe by the time you’ve finished your work, your creative mindset has withered away for the day. Or maybe you’re just so tired that when you finally find yourself with free time, you’d rather just waste away on your dorm bed rewatching Parks and Rec. Whatever the cause, it’s okay. You’re certainly not alone, dear writer, and at the writing center, we empathize with you. College is hard and takes a lot out of people, and sometimes the thing that would help you the most (writing, obviously) is unattainable right then. So how does one find the time to write? You use that creative mind of yours to make it happen. Below are five ways in which you might do so.
- Have a significant other? Writing date night.
Being in college, we don’t have much cash to spend on going out, anyway.
Make some shells and cheese and add some sliced sausage to it (super cheap, sort of healthy dinner), cuddle up with your boo and your laptop, and write away. After you’re finished, share your work with each other and see what you think. Maybe you can give each other ideas if one of you is suffering from writer’s block.
- Use the LIRR for some #inspo.
The dreaded LIRR. The acronym that emits groans from commuters all throughout Long Island. Make your morning and evening commute into the city better by working on your writing while you travel. You’ll probably have an easier time doing so if you have a tablet or iPad which you can type into, rather than lugging around a five-pound laptop. If, however, you’re a seriously broke college student like the majority of us and are unable to acquire yet another Apple product, Google docs has an app for smartphones which you can download and use (if you’re okay with using a tiny keyboard). Or, if you feel like running away east à la Jim Carrey in The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, you’re sure to have a few hours to write and stare longingly out the window at the passing towns. Goodbye, dreaded Hempstead.
- SHOWER CRAYONS
I just learned this was a thing about an hour ago, and it’s already changed my life. Shower crayons are a dream come true. You can write on the walls of your shower with them and IT WILL STAY THERE. Until you wash it off, of course, so no worries about irrevocable damage. Is the shower where you get your best ideas? Don’t lose them! Write down all of your new subplots, arguments, and theses with these bad boys.
- Designate a “writing hour”.
Are you one of those people who idolize their planners? Do you believe in the holiness that is the bullet journal? If so, just blocking off an hour in your agenda for writing once a week can really help to make sure you have the time you need. Nobody can ask you to do anything during then; that is your time to work. It’s like setting aside time for studying or for class. You wouldn’t skip those for something else, would you? (Obviously we all would at one point or another, but let’s pretend for a minute that we’re all perfect students).
- Going home for the weekend or a holiday? Write in the car, on the bus, or on the plane!
I love the act of journeying to another place because I’m able to enter a certain state of calm that my anxiety-riddled-self doesn’t frequently attain. If you’re going home for some time and have a long journey ahead of you to get there, why not use the time to work on your own stuff? If your professors haven’t assigned anything for the break, it’s a perfect time to plug in your headphones and type away. Unless you’re driving, of course. Please don’t write and drive.
Now that we’ve reviewed some ways of finding time to write despite your hectic schedule, go forth and create. And if you still don’t have time to write during this busy semester, know that all of us here at the writing center empathize with your pain, and we’ll help you in whatever way we can (even if we can’t help ourselves).