Yesterday in Italian class, my professor handed around a sign-in sheet for a weekly Italian conversation hour. While this would, in truth, probably help my floundering Italian skills a lot, I passed it along immediately without adding my name. She gave me a look, of course, and jokingly asked why I hadn't signed up.
I answered with "Non ho il tempo! Necessito fare tutte le cose. TUTTE LE COSE, MARELLA."
So basically I made a meme joke in a foreign language because I am just that cool. (One other kid in class laughed...)
But seriously. I have to do ALL THE THINGS this semester. Allow me to illustrate:
1. Writing Children's Literature class
2. Writing the Short Novel class
3. Italian class
4. French Revolution history seminar
5. voice lessons (and the practicing that goes along with those)
6. Ballroom class (this is more stress relief than anything else, and fortunately doesn't come with homework)
7. Direct a Broadway Revue showcase that goes up six weeks from Saturday
8. Internship with a literary agency (aka read all the queries and manuscripts)
9. Work on inviting a YA author to campus to give a reading
10. Write MY novel
11. Clean my apartment
12. Cook sometimes. Because, you know, food is good.
13. Go to work.
So yeah. All the things. And do you know how I manage to do all the things?
Doing this many things is a crazy kind of balancing act. I'm a full time student, and so homework is currently my first priority. I may only be taking four academic classes, but all four of them really pack a punch. They involve a lot of reading and writing, which might not necessarily be hard, but they take TIME. So much time that I spent all weekend holed up in my room working, rather than, you know, seeing my friends like people SHOULD do on the weekends.
And I do need to sleep at some point, even if I'm notoriously bad at it.
But at the same time as I'm a full time student, I am also a writer. And I WANT to have the time to work on my novels. I need to. I am serious about this. I want to be a published novelist so badly it hurts sometimes. I lie awake at night wondering what more I could possibly do to get my foot in the door, to have someone give me a chance, to prove that I love this and I am willing to work so hard to achieve it.
But when all my time is spent staring at textbooks, the free time I have I usually NEED to devote to relaxing, to hanging out with friends and letting my brain unwind for a change, because otherwise I might just explode.
And I do write every day. My project for short novel? That's a novel I want to write for myself as much as I now need to write it for the deadlines imposed for class. I'm at the level of my major that I can write what I want to write, rather than bending everything to the prompts given in lower level writing classes (and that's not to say I didn't learn anything in those lower level classes, just that I now have the freedom to do what I want).
So I cheat a little. I snatch moments when I can. Because I do all the things - and all of those things are things I want to be doing. I love my internship. Rehearsals for Broadway Revue start tomorrow, and I'm super excited. I like my classes, no matter how much I complain about all the homework I have to do.
No piece of writing advice works for every writer, except, I think, this one: don't let it stress you out. As long as you are writing, it doesn't matter. Steal moments when you can, and don't beat yourself up about it when you can't. It's not worth it to turn something you love into a chore.
So have a cup of tea and take a break, my lovely writer friends. I'm going to go finish my Italian homework.
In other news, my friend Stefan Bachmann's book THE PECULIAR releases today! YAY STEFAN!!! It's a really good book, you should read it.