The Life Of A Student Writer

Being a student and a writer isn’t easy. When I’m not studying, I’m writing. Of course, I have to write a lot for university as well.

I continue to wonder how I’ll manage to balance both identities. Some days, I have no idea how I do everything I want to.

I can’t give up writing. I don’t think I ever will. If worse comes to worse, I may not write as much as I’d like. But a little is better than nothing at all.

I already know the next couple of months won’t be a breeze, but I’ve been in school for most of my life. I have also been creating for a long time. So I like to believe I’ll be fine.

Besides, some of my happiest memories come from telling stories.

Problem being there aren’t enough hours in the day. Why can’t we have twenty-five instead of twenty-four?

As of late, I’ve been thinking m about my writing career. My non-existent writing career. I stand corrected. My mind loves to worry about my life after graduation. Isn’t the unknown great?

Rest assured I’m not going anywhere. I won’t be making drastic changes anytime soon. But I will continue to progress day by day.

Right now it’s enough that I enjoy my writing sessions. I want to experiment more. I need to venture outside of my comfort zone.

As for school, I’ll do the best I can in my classes. I just have to time manage well.

I have plans I hope to execute in 2018. Of course, I’ll keep you posted if and when I publish or republish anything exciting.

A long time ago, I made the conscious choice to start writing. I’m not going back or giving up now.

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I Was Hit By A Car

I had the right of way while walking across the street. A car hit me on my right side, and I fell down on my left.

After spending about half an hour on the ground and about 30 minutes in an ambulance, I spent another 4 hours at the hospital.

Waiting so long gave me a lot of time to think. I even wondered whether I’d tell anyone about what happened.

I know I’ll remember this day for the rest of my life.

Everyone told me I’m okay. But I don’t feel okay. I don’t feel fine on the inside. My body hurts so much.

Still, I realize I’m lucky to be alive. I’m lucky to walk out of this with my life.

Wrong place, wrong time. Accidents happen.

I don’t want to be angry or bitter. I don’t want to cry any more than I already have. I do want to move on.

That being said, I feel scared. I’m terrified I won’t be the same. I have no idea how much this incident will affect me from now until the day I die.

I wish I could brush it all under the rug. Too bad I can’t.

February 6th, 2018 was the worst day of my life.

You Know You Are A Blogger When

You think about your blog all the time. Even more so if you’re a daily blogger. You love blogging too much to do it once in a blue moon. Besides, life would be boring if you did.

You read articles and books and posts about blogging. Learning by osmosis is a strategy you’ve all but perfected by now.

You can work anywhere, anytime. Even at the dentist’s office right before getting your wisdom teeth removed.

You spend so much time on small details. Like choosing the right font or picking the perfect word.

You have some of your best ideas at the worst times. While you’re driving. When you’re in the shower. So you make a mental note to remember. Inevitably, one too many escape from your memory.

You procrastinate hitting the publish button. Until you realize you’ve been procrastinating for far too long.

You feel a sense of accomplishment whenever you publish a post. Afterwards, you reward yourself by repeating the procrastination cycle.

You don’t know how to talk about your blog to people in real life. What’s your blog called? You stumble and stutter. What’s your blog about? You try to change the subject.

You love your blog. And everything about it. You also love your readers. They won’t judge you, which is all you could ever ask for.

If you enjoyed this post, you might like You Know You Are A Writer When and You Know You Are A Reader When.

How To Write Under Time Pressure

Writing is hard enough as it is without the added pressure of having a limited amount of time.

Budgeting time takes on a greater significance when you only have a few hours to write too many essays.

I’ve extracted tips from my tired brain about writing under pressure:

  • Write fast but not too fast. This goes for both handwriting and typing.
  • Production not perfection. Don’t strive to be perfect. Do strive to be done.
  • Be concise, clear. Try to know what you’re writing about to avoid beating around the bush.
  • Prepare accordingly. There’s nothing like a simulation of the real thing. Studying and reviewing is good. Replicating the test conditions as closely as possible is great.
  • Don’t forget to breathe. Like the protagonist in many YA novels, let out that breath you didn’t know you were holding.
  • Try not to overthink. Most teachers aren’t trying to trick you.
  • Just write something. Part marks are better than no marks at all. Get an idea down. It may lead to other ideas.
  • Make connections. Concepts often interconnect. Draw out similarities and differences. Compare or contrast. Brainstorm with a mind map. Outline in a way that work for you.
  • Write until you have nothing else to say. Stick with what you know when possible. Talking about what you don’t know makes your life harder.
  • Use the time given. There’s no reason to stop writing thirty minutes into a three hour exam.
  • Take care of any business beforehand. That way, you’re in a good place physically, mentally, emotionally, etc.
  • Eat and drink beforehand. A hydrated body beats a hungry one.
  • Move on. Especially when you’re stumped. Tackle the next question. You can always come back to a problem later.
  • Play to your strengths. Downplay your weaknesses.
  • Answer what’s asked. Ideally, you do this right off the bat.

If nothing else, remember writing under time pressure is a skill you can cultivate.

Making Money Doing What You Love

I don’t have a problem with people making money doing what they love. Says the girl who isn’t.

I hope I get to that point someday though.

It’s easier said than done, of course. Every time I think about making money, I get all sad. Maybe because I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to support myself while pursuing my passions.

I remind myself of the days I first started writing and blogging when I didn’t turn a profit whatsoever. When I was beyond excited to create every day because I enjoyed the creative process.

I’ve been worrying a lot over my future. If I don’t do more schooling after graduation, I’ll need to get a job.

I joke to my friends that I’m unemployable. I want to work for myself as well.

I feel conflicted. Unsurprisingly, I don’t enjoy feeling this way.

I’m not sure how I’ll earn enough to pay my way through life, however long mine lasts. The cost of everything seems to go up all the time.

Now that I’ve obsessed over this, I feel my problem isn’t how much I make, but whether I’ll have the freedom to do what I love. I don’t need to be rich to be happy. Yet I still need enough time and money to go after my dreams. Being well off can help create a bit of freedom or flexibility for the sake of my sanity.

Obviously, I don’t want my lifestyle to change for the worse.

The world is a big, bad place. I’ve yet to find my place in it. I hope I can navigate through and not seem utterly lost at every turn.

What a fun post to publish on Christmas Eve. Happy holidays!

Why I Took Time Off

Last month, I took some time off to recover from one of the worst headaches I had in twenty years.

So I didn’t write as much as I would’ve liked. I didn’t get a blog post up that day. I didn’t journal either. I fell in and out of sleep all night.

I’m feeling much better now. I plan to make up what I missed as much as I can.

Instead of pushing myself too far, I put my health first. I realize the importance of taking care of my body and brain. It’s difficult to do well when I’m not feeling well.

Even though I didn’t want to miss a day of blogging and journaling, the world didn’t end when I woke up the best day.

I wasn’t sleeping as much as I needed to, and I think the lack of rest got to my head…literally.

So I’ll try to take things easier until this storm passes. I like to think it’ll be over soon.

I’m far from being at one hundred percent. I know I need time to rest and recharge. Maybe I’ll take more days off in the future.

Despite having only 24 hours in a day like everyone else. I don’t want to give anything up.

As always, I feel like a lot of my problems would go away if I had 25 hours.

Regardless, tomorrow is a new day. I’ll make the most of all the 24 hours I have.

Writing, Editing, And Watching Baseball

I love writing. But editing is not nearly as fun as baseballing. It’s happening. I’m making up words. If only I could be the next Shakespeare.

I spent the day writing and editing.

I spent the night watching baseball instead of working because procrastination is so much easier than being productive.

When I first started writing this post, I was trying to think of parallels between editing and baseball. I’m sure there are some, but my tired brain can’t think of one.

After writing most of an essay earlier in the day, my brain was ready to shut down. In a perfect world, I would have a lot more time to write and edit all my essays.

I don’t enjoy trying to write an entire paper in one session, which is why I prefer not to procrastinate until the last minute. More often than not, I give myself enough time. After all, I know myself as a writer better than anyone.

It helps that I write every day. I know what I’m capable of, I know how long I need. So I can plan out my mess of a life accordingly.

Editing is tricky though. Again, in a perfect world, I’d have all the hours I want for revisions. Some papers take longer, especially if I wrote an extremely terrible first draft. Besides, the more words I’ve written, the more time it’ll take to make them better.

I know this isn’t the best idea, but occasionally I write and edit while watching baseball. When possible I mostly reserve such moments for shallow work such as typing up text messages or informal emails.

But I’m neither flawless, nor am I a saint.

I still haven’t thought of a parallel between editing and baseball. So much for that idea.

Whenever I need to edit, I want to write. Vice versa holds true too. Sadly, I want to do what I’m not doing.

Anyhow, I can’t wait to have a productive day tomorrow. I need to. Those papers won’t write or edit themselves.


A note from real time Herminia:

Obviously, I wrote this post and many others while there was still baseball on TV. But I realized that some of the sentiments I wrote a while ago are still relevant today. I figured now is as good of a time as any to publish this blast from the not so distant past. Fear not, more will come. I’m horribly behind with blogging and horrible at catching up. Thanks for understanding.

Making The Most Of Unproductive Days

Unproductive days are okay. Sometimes you deserve to relax. Other times you have to be productive out of necessity.

Regardless, you can’t work all day, every day for 365 days of the year.

Life happens. Unforeseen events and circumstances occur. That’s how it always has been. How it always will be.

We can have the best intentions. We can make elaborate plans. But our intentions don’t always result in the things we expected or desired. Besides, plans fall through.

It’s tough to feel like you’ve let a perfectly good day go by. As if you wasted 24 hours. But if you were happy, if you spent some of the time doing what you wanted, would you say that’s wasted time? Or would you think it’s time well spent?

Perhaps you weren’t productive in the morning. But what’s stopping you from having a productive afternoon or evening?

Maybe you spend 8 hours sleeping and lying in bed every day, give or take. But if you work hard for even just 2 or 6 hours, you can still get a lot done.

Never let one bad thing have a domino effect on everything else. Never allow one negative person to ruin all the positives in your life.

In a perfect world, everything would be optimized all the time. But you don’t live in a perfect world. So one day you might prioritize blogging over reading. Another day it could be writing over editing. What’s the problem?

At least you’re making progress on something. And you’re doing what makes you happy.

Productivity isn’t just about getting a lot of work done. Because there’s so much more to life than just work.

Maybe working easy on the right things is better than working hard on the wrong things.

How To Make Writing A Habit And Maintain It

I have many bad habits, but I also have a few good ones.

This is my advice for building a habit like writing and not breaking it three days in.

Be realistic.

Especially when you’re first starting out. You don’t want to set your sights so high that you have trouble reaching them. That can get discouraging real fast. Look at your life and lifestyle right now. How much time can you realistically commit to writing without letting other things slip or worse, suffer? It’s important you’re honest with yourself when making beginning a new habit.

Block out time.

Whether it’s ten minutes or two hours. Your creative time is sacred. Unless your house is burning down, don’t get up from your seat until you’re done.

Set goals.

Short and long term. Daily, weekly, monthly, yearly. Maybe you want to work for half an hour or perhaps write a thousand words. Besides, it isn’t as daunting to write 500 words every day as it is writing a 50,000 word novel. Having a clear idea of what you’re trying to accomplish ultimately gives you smaller benchmarks to hit with each writing session. At the very least, you’ll feel like you’re getting things done slowly but surely. It all adds up over the course of a year.

Track your habit.

There are a number of ways to do this. A notebook. An app on your phone. After a few days, you might feel less inclined to break your streak. Hopefully, you’ll push through and keep going even on days you don’t want to.

Hold yourself accountable.

Better yet find a friend to make sure you follow through with your habits and goals. Have someone check in often by asking you about your progress. You can always return the favour.

Use incentives.

Rewards are a great motivator when it comes to getting work done. Take advantage of the things that make you more willing to put pen to paper.

Have non-incentives.

On the other hand, you can have consequences when you procrastinate or make excuses. Monetary ones work well. Give your mom, sister, whoever five dollars every time you skip out on writing. Suddenly you aren’t as inclined to miss a session, huh?

Although I use writing as an example, the advice above can apply for almost any habit you’re trying to establish.

Good luck maintaining your habits!

20 Lessons I Learned As A Reader

I spent nearly all my life around books, so here are 20 lessons I’ve learned as an avid reader.

  1. Start.
  2. Try to finish.
  3. Timing is everything.
  4. Read what you want.
  5. Read when you want.
  6. Read how you want.
  7. Just read.
  8. Study what works.
  9. Never stop learning.
  10. Books are great teachers.
  11. Seek out other readers.
  12. Some stories won’t resonate with you.
  13. You can still take something away from a novel you didn’t like.
  14. Give books a chance.
  15. Step outside your comfort zone.
  16. Enjoy the act of reading.
  17. The right book at the right time can change your life.
  18. Leaders are readers.
  19. Make time to read.
  20. Happy reading is the best kind of reading.

What is something you’ve realized as a reader of books? I’d love to know down below.