by Jillian Hermoso, Age 17, Philippines
Artwork by Lucy Zhang
I started college in October 2014, and I promised myself that I wouldn’t ever compromise my personal creative writing time.
I know all too well that if I don’t write, life feels too overwhelming and I become lost. I’m sure that anyone who is a writer knows this feeling. The only way to relieve ourselves of this anxiety is to spend a good chunk of time writing something of our own.
Unfortunately, I did not expect the amount of work and pressure that I was given as soon as I entered college. Research papers, speeches, presentations, and written homework are a weekly thing. And since my program is Culinary Arts, we also have homework that requires us to spend time in the kitchen doing tasks like shaping 150 potatoes into a football and baking French bread. I’m sure your choice of study has its own form of demanding homework. But as you can see, college left me almost to no time to write, and it was driving me crazy.
Then, after two months of putting up with my new demanding schedule, I told myself that I couldn’t go any longer without writing, and that I had to make some time for myself. In order to do this, I started adopting these habits:
I made a schedule and stuck to it. I sat myself down and wrote down a schedule that left me enough time to do all of my homework, study and write at least a few times each week. It required me to spend one day of my weekend doing ALL my homework. As much as it sounds like a bummer, it was very effective since I could immediately write with no worries the next day. All I had to do was discipline myself to follow my schedule, and it has been worth it.
I take advantage of waiting. Do you remember those times when you’re on the bus and there’s nothing to do but look out the window? Or maybe, you’re early for class and your teacher isn’t there yet. Even times when you’re waiting for someone or something and you’re just sitting there. Those times are great opportunities to pull out my phone, or a pen and notebook, and write as much as I can. It may not get me writing short stories or novels, but at least it fulfills my writing urge and calms my brain.
I make sure that when I have some free time I write, not procrastinate. Normally when I get some free time, I open YouTube or turn on the TV. But then I realized that if I spent half of the time I use to procrastinate actually writing, I would probably make progress on my novel. Try not to procrastinate and you’ll be amazed at the things you’ll be able to accomplish.
Life may force you to cut down on your writing time, but it sure won’t be able to cut down your love for writing. Use that truth as a reason to make time for yourself and your stories. They need to be written, and they refuse to be written without you.