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!

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#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.

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Six Years of Fanfiction!

fanfictionSo I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I am an avid fanfiction writer. I love fanfiction. Well, today marks exactly six years since I joined fanfiction.net. Six years since I took up the screen name: OwenHarpersGirl. In that time (as of 11:59 last night) I have:

 

84 Stories
275,007 Words
982 Reviews
448,819 Views
1,512 Story Favourites
1,013 Story Alerts
149 Author Favourites
157 Author Alerts
Included in 12 Communities
Have left 119 Signed Reviews
Read in 158 Countries

To celebrate six years, I updated every ongoing multi-chapter story I have posted so far, as well as uploading three new things.

But why is fanfiction so important to me? Well, before discovering fanfiction, writing was something I had always done for fun. It was a hobby. And when I say always, I mean always. I found some old notebooks from when I was four to six that I had written in and they contained stories I had made up about Pokemon and Digimon characters.

OwenHarpersGirl is like a second name to me now. It’s the name I use on all three writing websites I’m a part of (ff.net, AO3, and Wattpad) as well as my deviantart, NaNoWriMo, and tumblr. It was even the name on my Twitter and Pinterest up until I created this site. While at first it was a name I created because of my favourite character in a tv program, now it’s literally become like a part of who I am.

Writing fanfiction has changed my life. I never thought six years ago, when I first signed up, that I would have almost 100 stories with readers in 158 different countries! I have made so many amazing friends and learned so many new things through fanfiction and it’s crazy to think that my life could be totally different right now if I hadn’t signed up that day.

A big thank you to anyone who has ever read any of my fanfiction and I look forward to many more years of fanfiction writing.

If you haven’t you can check them out by scrolling up and clicking on my Fanfiction Page.

Do any of you write fanfiction? Why or why not?

 

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The Power of Words

imageHave you ever read something that changed your life? You connected with it and it made you feel something so powerful that you can’t remember how things were before.

Words can do that. They can change the way you think; they can change the way you feel; they can change you. Words are probably one of the most powerful tools we have. Sure, money is great, power is great, technology is great. But not everyone has money, power, and technology. But even without these things, if you have words then you have so much more.

As a writer it still amazes me that everything I do is just different combinations of 26 letters. That on their own these words don’t mean much, but put together they have the ability to influence something. Words can literally change how a person sees something.

Imagine you’re reading a book and you see: ‘The girl was mad.’ Alright, but how mad is she? Change it to: ‘The girl was furious’ or ‘The girl was livid’ and you suddenly get a much clearer image of the girl. Even without describing what she actually looks like, it is much easier to picture someone ‘furious’ or ‘livid’ rather than ‘mad’. By changing one word you have changed the entire meaning and given the reader more to think about: Why is she furious? What made her so livid?

Words can change everything. They have the power to influence you and those around you. Without words the world would be an incredibly dull place.

Have you ever read anything that changed you?

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I would just like to say thank you to Robin Williams. Growing up, his films were a huge part of my childhood and the Dead Poet’s Society changed me. His performance in this film forever changed the way I think about literature and the way I write. May he rest in peace.