Sunday, May 4, 2008

WORD: So Much School, So Much Time

by Gabrielle Linnell

Everyone who talks about good time management (like Kelly L. Stone, in the fabulous and practical Time to Write) talks about immovable time. What blocks of your day are always the same? How can you use those blocks more efficiently? For WriTeens, I suggest the phrase 'time for writing' and 'school' be connected.

Whether you're a public schooler that does the 7:30 to 2 deal, or a homeschooler who wakes up at noon and is done by 3pm, school is the driving force behind your schedule. So work writing around school.

1. Study halls are amazing. If you're lucky enough to have a study hall, USE IT! Either use that time to get all your homework done so that you can come home and write, or make a habit of bringing your writing notebook or laptop to school so that you can make study hall "writing time." There's also the non-study hall: the class where you don't do anything (I have those.) Now it can be Freelance 101.

2. The early bird gets published. I wake up, as per my still unwritten WAP, every morning at 6:30 to write for an hour before school. This gives me sleep time, writing time, and time to academically prepare for my schoolday (read: do hair, make-up and change outfits three times.) I have a concrete deadline and a steady alarm clock. Think about it.

3. The homeschool joy. If you are home-schooled and are at home for two or three days a week, beg your mother to allow an hour of school time for writing. I mean beg. From eleven to twelve-thirty every afternoon, or just for twenty minutes every day: it adds up.

4. Late night sleeping beauty. My sophomore year, I was working on a novel (when am I not working on a novel?) and wrote almost every night, before I went to bed. Try this if you are a complete non-morning person and/or you don't mind losing sleep (those 1 AM bursts of inspiration...) It helps if you have a computer in your room, so that you don't bother the rest of the house.

5. If you are over-achieving, forget eating. If you are swamped non-stop, then I humbly suggest you become anorexic. Or at least a loser. Skip lunch with your buds two or three times a week and spend half an hour by yourself, with pen/paper/computer, and work on your writing. If they ask why you're abandoning them, mutter something about English extra credit.

Gabrielle Linnell is a high school junior who has been published in Cobblestone, FACES, Library Sparks, New Moon, ByLine, Once Upon a Time and other magazines. She has been a vegetarian for about four days.

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