Balancing School, Work, & Writing

Time Management

Finding a balance between everything in your life is hard. Devoting enough time to this thing or that thing can sometimes seem impossible, how do you decide what gets precedent and what gets put on the back burner? How do you decide which task is more important? Which one to focus on? Time management, I have learned, is key.

When you’re given a list of tasks or duties, you need to decide which ones to focus on or prioritize. For me, I have school, work, and writing (squeeze a little housework and sleeping in there too). Of the three, the two that take precedent are school and work; and out of those two: school.

School has to be my top priority because I need to finish my education in order to meet my future career goals. Work has to remain a priority because a) it’s work; and b) I need work to pay for school. Basic human needs and functions come next, like sleeping and eating.

Wouldn’t we save so much time in life if we didn’t need to sleep? I would actually have time to write regularly if we didn’t need sleep. When you get right into the middle of something and the flow is going really well, but you’re eyes are closing and you can feel your brain slowing down… I find sleeping to be mildly inconvenient (but so, so nice).

It is unfortunate and disappointing that at this moment in my life writing has to be put on the back burner a lot. I try to squeeze in time whenever I can, but find it hard sometimes when I have a looming list of things to get done for school.

This is where the time management I mentioned before comes in.

When I have a lot to do, the first thing I do is write everything down. I always write due dates and important dates down in my agenda (as well as my writing schedule), but when I have SO MUCH to do, I also just like to make a list of everything that needs to be done.

From here I rearrange the list so the most important task is at the top (this is usually whatever assignment is due first), all the way to the bottom where the things that can wait go. This allows me to see how much time I have for each task. For instance, if I have an assignment due tomorrow and a writing post going up next Sunday, I’m going to make sure the assignment is done first. I’d rather be doing the writing post, but unfortunately the assignment needs to be done.

This can make things difficult when I have a list of assignments as long as my arm to get done and another list of writing posts as long as my other to also get done (which is why writing down when you need things done by is key). Going forward over the next several weeks I will really be testing myself to see how my time management is.

Can I keep on top of all my schoolwork? Probably. Can I keep on top of my regular work? I have no choice. Can I keep on top of my writing? Hopefully. And I can’t wait for the day where this list is shrunk down to my writing because my regular work and the answer being Yes, Absolutely.

Do you have any time management tips for your fellow writers? Do you remove all distractions? Do you set aside dedicated amounts of time to work on certain things? Do you set certain goals for yourself to help you achieve things? Or do you just wing it and hope for the best?

Let me know and hopefully we can help each other out!

Twitter | Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Academic Writing .vs. Creative Writing

academic vs creative writing

Academic

Blog

Formality is required in every aspect Can be as formal or informal as you want, it all depends on what your purpose is
Structured layout and clear Should also be clear, but layout is your choice
Typically five paragraphs As long or short as you want it to be
Topic is usually chosen for you Topic choice is yours and usually based on something that interests you
Must use words like ‘it is’, ‘cannot’, or ‘would not’ Can use ‘it’s’, ‘wouldn’t’, ‘can’t’, and whatever other contractions you want
Feedback is formal and (hopefully) constructive Feedback (if any) hopefully gets a conversation going
Deadlines are set for you and typically set in stone You set your own deadlines and then feel guilty when you miss them

Now I want to hear from you!

What were the biggest differences you experienced between writing for school as opposed to writing for fun?

Let me know down below!

Facebook | Twitter

*Once again, picture at start is not mine. Found on Google through searching “writing”*

Writing Playlist

Writing Playlist - Music Notes.jpg

Journey. Beethoven. Sinatra. The Avenue Q Soundtrack.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to music options in 2018. Which is good because everyone has different taste and different things they enjoy.

And for writers, we all have different things we like listening to when we work.

Now, I work in a music store so I’m literally surrounded by music pretty much all day, every day to the point that I can’t work in silence. I’m listening to Louden Swain’s, Sky Alive, album as I write this.

I’m also a big movie watcher and the way music affects a scene and the mood of the story is something that has always interested me.

For this reason, it’s always super important for me to have music on while I’m writing.

Now, I have different playlists for each of my projects. I used to listen to the same things for everything I was working on (usually film scores), but found this really didn’t help as all it did was make me want to watch the film.

By having different playlists, I can pick the music I listen to for each project and the songs on each of these playlists really helps me get in the right mindset for what I’m working on.

When I’m working on Brave Young Boys I listen to a lot of songs about war and loss. Carrie Underwood’s, “Just a Dream”; Dean Brody’s, “Brothers”; and Rise Against’s, “Hero of War” are just a few.

It’s not the most cheery thing to listen to, but it definitely gets me in the perfect mindset for working.

Kind of on the opposite end of the spectrum, I have a different writing project that involves two people going on a road trip. This playlist consists of (mostly) happy, fun songs.

“Beat This Summer” by Brad Paisley; “500 Miles” by The Proclaimers”’ and “mmmbop” by Hanson are three songs I listen to a lot when working on this particular story.

However, not every song directly relates to a theme of the novel.

In some cases a song will remind me of a character. Or I’ll hear a song and go “oh my god that’s perfect.”

Two instances where this has happened are with “Bad Reputation” by Joan Jett and “Lost Boy” by Ruth B (for two very different writing endeavors).

Everyone likes music. I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who didn’t like music. It’s a universal thing, something that, even if you don’t speak the language in the song, you can still bob your head to the beat.

As a writer, different types of music inspire both my work and myself. I find it helps keep the story moving, gives me ideas for different things, and gives me a connection to my characters. It’s a language that transcends the usual barriers of most other languages.

Now I’d like to hear from you! Do you listen to music when writing? Is there a particular style of music you prefer to listen to, whether in life or when working?

Let me know down below and also let me know if you want to talk more about writing playlists!

Facebook | Twitter

 

 

*Image at start of post does not belong to me, it was found on Google*

Banned Books Week 2015

banned

It’s that time of year again. A time for all writers and readers to celebrate the most controversial books. Yes, September 21-28 is Banned Books Week.

I love Banned Books Week. Everyone knows that feeling that when you’re told not to do something you only want to do it more. You tell someone who loves books that they can’t read it because it’s “too controversial”? Pfft, now I definitely want to read it.

I’m not going to go over all the details about Banned Books Week and what it is, I did that last year and you can find that post here.

What I didn’t talk about last year though is the freedom aspect of Banned Books Week. It’s not all about bringing awareness to books that have been banned/censored or bringing awareness to censorship in general. BBW is a celebration of the freedom to read.

Can you imagine a world without books? I sure can’t. But that’s basically what the world would be if we banned every book that had something in we didn’t like. Not everyone is going to like the same thing in books, that’s why there’s so many of them! There’s something for everyone. But just because you don’t like something in a book or something is considered offensive that isn’t a reason to ban it!

This should be considered in most things in life.

Imagine if Harry Potter had been permanently banned! These novels have had so much influence I can’t picture a world without them. Or how about a world without On the Road? This novel defined an entire generation and it continues to be an inspiration for many.

Alice in Wonderland, Animal Farm, Frankenstein, The Grapes of Wrath, Green Eggs and Ham! All these books have at one point or another been banned in various places! Looking at all these books it’s impossible to picture not seeing them on bookshelves and in stores.

These books (and more that have been banned) play huge parts in people’s lives. I don’t know any kid who hasn’t read Green Eggs and Ham at some point in their life. I know several people who would tell you one of those other books is their favourite to read and several people (myself included) who have had to read at least one of those books for school.

Banned Books Week isn’t just about bringing attention to these poor, censored books, it’s about celebrating being able to read them and all books! Being able to walk into a shop or a library and have any number of books at my finger tips is amazing and Banned Books Week always reminds me of that.

So this week go out and find a book that’s been banned! Read it, buy it, give it hug (it needs it). Enjoy your freedom to read!

What are you reading this Banned Books Week? Do you have a favourite banned book?

Follow me on Twitter | Like me on Facebook

#TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter

Last week writers all over the internet took to Twitter to share their hardships as writers by using the hashtag #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter. These are 24 of those tweets that perfectly sum up things you shouldn’t say to a writer.

Anne Theriault“Have you been published in real life or like just on the internet?” – @anne_theriault

Bill Corbett“We can’t pay you but the exposure might be good.” – @BillCorbett

Butterfly

“Do you actually make money doing that, or do you also have a real job?” – @jesskristie

Cassandra Carr

“I downloaded your books from one of those torrent sites. Those sites are great, you never have to pay for a book.” – @Cassandra_Carr

Colleen Hoover

“‘You’re a writer? Oh, I have a GREAT book idea!’ (And then proceed to tell us your entire life story.) – @colleenhoover

Cristela Alonzo

“You’re a writer? But I’ve never heard of you…” – @cristela9

Daniel Parsons

“‘Can you help me with this? It’s not like you’re doing anything important.’ Yea, I’m not WORKING or anything…” – @dkparsonswriter

Dean Gloster

“‘That’s nice. But some of us have to work for a living.'” – @deangloster

Donalyn Miller

“You’re still working on _______? Shouldn’t you be done by now? – @donalynbooks

Dream Traveler

“‘I want to be a writer. Can you suggest a plot for my story?'” – @IamAlytoony

Esther RobardsForbes

“Oh, you’re not published? So, you’re not a real writer.” – @hungryjourno

Hugh Fraser

“Would you mind if I borrowed your laptop?” – @realhughfraser

Jacqui B

“You write for children? Is that because you aren’t smart enough to write for adults?” – @Jacquibwriter

Jarrid Wilson

“I just read a book really similar to yours…” – @JarridWilson

Jen Savran Kelly

“Person: So, where can I read your work?
Me: It hasn’t been published yet.
Person: Oh you’re THAT kind of writer.”
@savranly

Joanne Harris

“It must be lovely working from home. You can combine your writing with housework and childcare.” – @Joannechocolat

John Scalzi

“I’m worried you’ll die before your series gets finished.” – @scalzi

Lauren DeStefano

“You’re lucky you don’t have to work.” – @LaurenDeStefano

Lauren O'Neil

“A journalist? Wow. You don’t look like a journalist.” – @laurenonizzle

Laurie Boris

“You aren’t one of those ‘self-published’ authors, are you?” – @LaurieBoris

Madeline Ashby

“They pay you money for that?” – @MadelineAshby

Rachel Kennedy

“Poetry books don’t exactly become national best sellers.” – @RachelKennedy88

S.E. Hinton

“I thought you were dead.” – @se4realhinton

Sarah Dessen

“Told a teen I write YA. She hadn’t heard of me. Said, ‘It would have been so cool if you were Suzanne Collins!'” – @sarahdessen

These are only 24 of the amazing tweets in this tag. I highly recommend going and checking it out, especially if you’re a writer. It’s definitely one of the most relatable things I’ve read online.

Follow me on Twitter | Like me on Facebook

Fanfiction: How Can it Help You?

Fanfiction-For-Dummies-feature-image2Last month I made a post talking about my six years on fanfiction and I realized just how much fanfiction has helped me in my writing. So today that’s what I’m going to talk about.

How can fanfiction help your writing?

Now, before I go any further, I just want to say that the word “fanfiction” shows up an obnoxious amount in the post and I also cannot guarantee 100% that this post will actually be any help at all, despite the title sounding like a self-help flyer.

Fanfiction is a lot of things. It’s a way to develop your writing skills, learn how to write different characters, it introduces new environments and situations that maybe you wouldn’t deal with in your own writing.

A lot of people have a negative perception of fanfiction. Why is this? I have no idea. I know some people think all fanfiction is like 50 Shades of Grey (it’s not), but whatever the reason, fanfiction seems to have gotten a bad rep with some people.

But it actually is a good thing! I swear!

Writing fanfiction has given me the chance to do so many things. Writing characters from various countries, time periods, and even planets isn’t something I normally would have done. But through fanfiction I’ve done exactly that.

It’s not just taking someone’s work and copying it. People are so creative in heir fanfics!

College AUs, Werewolf AUs, Alpha/Omega Elements, Kid!fics, Sick!fics, and so much more. Don’t know what some of these are? That’s how creative fanfiction is! There’s this whole world people don’t know about. Fanfiction writers have their own language to help them know what a story is (AU, Slash, Drabble, Lemon, OC, OOC, OTP, PWP, R&R, RPF, etc.).

You can do whatever you want with the characters and the universe to make it your own. Now, obviously this is exactly what writing your own stuff is, except then it actually is yours. So why bother with fanfiction?

Do you ever get those days where the creativity just isn’t flowing right and you’re stuck on your story. You could try writing a short story or poem to get that creativity back OR you could let your brain relax a bit. Take some characters that have already been created and have fun with it

Because yes, fanfiction is a lot of work; no, it’s not all like 50 Shades; and yes, it is fun!

I love writing my own stuff, but fanfiction is something I love and something that has helped me so much and I think it could really benefit all writers to try it.

Go check out fanfiction.net! There’s so many stories there, you’re bound to find something you like! And if not, check out the numerous other fanfiction websites!

Do you write fanfiction? Do you find it helps your writing?

 

Follow me on Twitter | Follow me on Facebook

“I’m a Writer!” “What’s Your Real Job?”

I'm a WriterWhen I tell people I’m a writer, their response is usually to ask what my real job is, if I’m a journalist, or “what does that mean exactly?”

The answers to these are: My job is writing, no I’m not a journalist, and it means I spend hours on end staring at blank word documents willing something magical to happen while consuming unhealthy amounts of caffeine.

I’ve talked to other writers who have said they’ve had similar experiences. And while I get that being a writer could mean most things, if someone introduces themselves as a doctor, do they get asked what their real job is? Hint: probably not. So why does it happen to writers?

It actually took me a really long time to say “I’m a writer” and not “I want to be a writer”. I always thought that I couldn’t really say I was a writer until I actually had something published. I used to hear people say stuff like this, like how you can’t say you’re a doctor just cause you’re in medical school. But that’s not quite the same thing.

I write. It’s what I do. It’s what I’ve always done and what I will always do. I’ll probably die with a pen in my hand and an unfinished story in my head.

I call myself a writer because that’s what I am. What is my real job? Writing. My real job is writing. I’m not published yet, but one day I will be. Then, when those people ask me what I do for a living, I can very proudly call myself an author (this is probably a word that will invite less questions than writer).

So when you tell someone you’re a writer and they ask what your real job is, bear with them. Rage internally, but just smile and nod and explain to them what it is you do. Believe me, I know how frustrating it can be to not have your job taken seriously, but just imagine the looks on their faces when one day you’re published, whether it’s a book or a magazine or whatever it is you want to do. Imagine that look and you’re golden.

Now, by the off chance you’re reading this and you’re not a writer, here are some things NOT to say to a creative writer.

I'm a Writer - 10 Things Not to Say

Have you had a similar conversation with someone? What did you say to them?

 

Follow me on Twitter | Find me on Facebook