As a full-time student who may have a job, internship, research project, and/or family responsibilities, it may be tough to find time to be creative.
As I’ve written about before, I’m a writer, and with all the other activities I have to do in my life, I sometimes have difficulty finding the time to write. If you’re a fellow writer, then maybe you can relate. Or maybe you have a different passion that you have trouble finding the time to pursue, such as playing music or painting. With the hectic schedule that entails being a college student, I thought it might be helpful to offer some tips on finding the time to write creatively while at school.
1. Write Just a Little Bit Each Day
This is some advice that could help you with essays as well as creative writing, so bonus! Writing essays can sometimes be a daunting task. How do professors expect you to write a 10-page essay in two weeks? It’s not as hard as it seems. You have 14 days to write 10 pages. So if you just write one page a day, you’ll be finished on time with a few days to spare. Or you could give yourself a couple of cheat days to slack off. The same concept can be applied to your creative writing. I’m a member LCC Theatre Company, and I have to submit scripts the first week of classes. So if I have two weeks to write a play, and I’ve outlined that the play is going to be about 25 pages, then I know that I have to write at least two pages a day in order to finish it on time. I finished it, and it will be performed this May, but more on that later. “But what if I don’t have a strict deadline?” you might be asking. Well …
2. Build a Community of Writers
If you’re just writing for fun, chances are you don’t have deadlines that absolutely need to be met, which can make finishing projects harder. But if you have a group of friends with knowledge about writing, just talking about your projects with each other can spur you to finish them. For example, I had this idea for the play I mentioned earlier. The play, which I called “Apoca-Friends,” is basically about a group of friends living in a post-apocalyptic world and going on adventures. So I had a basic idea with some thoughts on a beginning and a few jokes here and there. But initially, I just couldn’t get excited enough to sit down and write the thing. I talked about the basic idea with some friends who were writers, and they made some suggestions, and soon I was expanding on this initial idea. The story grew to include a mutant civilization and a character who’s half-raccoon. And it continued to grow and grow until it was something I became really excited about, and I wanted to see the final product.
3. Find Time, Don’t Make Time
Is there a difference? Yes, yes there is. Making time is when you take time out of something else important, like sleeping or doing homework, and devote it to writing. But you don’t want your grades to suffer. So instead of making the time to write, find the time. No matter how busy your schedule might seem, I’m sure you have at least a little bit of downtime. Re-evaluate how you spend that downtime. Instead of wasting it on Facebook or watching “House of Cards,” devote it to writing. You’d be surprised how much time you have when you cut out unnecessary activities.
4. Write Ideas Down.
There will inevitably come a time in your college career when you just won’t have time for anything else (e.g., midterms week, finals week, the week you spend preparing for Fat Sal’s Big Fat Fatty Challenge). But that doesn’t mean great ideas won’t stop coming to you. Write those ideas down, so you can work on them when you do have time. If you don’t, then you risk forgetting that idea. ”Apoca-Friends” came to me when I was busy with midterms last quarter (I come up with my strangest ideas when I’m stressed). I’m thankful I wrote it down so other people can enjoy it when it’s presented in May.
If you’re passionate about your art, then I’m sure you’ll find ways to pursue it. How do you find time to write? Comment below or tweet @dbmojo.