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Your schedule is congested: walll-to-wall study, activities, community service. You're lucky to have time for food and sleep.   And you have to be ready for class the next day. But how?   There are many things you can replace if lost or stolen: smartphones, laptops, tablets, to name a few. You cannot, however, replace lost time. Whether an hour, a day, or a year--lost time never returns to you.   So you have to know what's crucial for the coming day.   Have you got a class assignment? Make sure it's done and accessible.   A field trip? Be sure to have good walking clothes, a snack, and money for lunch.   Are you tired? Get at least six hours's sleep, if possible.   In short, determine your priorities, and drop those extracurricular activities which merely promote busy-ness. You're a student, not a robot. Keep that in mind.

If you want to write--make it an everyday date. If you want to write well--prepare to spend time every day doing it. Now, maybe you're saying: "But I have classes to attend/a job/lots of demands on my time! How am I supposed to find the time to write at all? Can't I do it on my day off? Or during Spring Break? How about once I've gotten people off my back? Well, yes, you can write on days off. Or on vacation. Or after the latest deadline's been met. If I may be so indelicate, however, let me ask: how much writing can you really do if you're putting it off for more "opportune" moments? And what do you do when something comes up on that day off? Authors write for hours at a time--some three hours a day, others eight or more. Relax. I'm not telling you to rent an office, dedicate 40+ hours a week to writing, or even carve out three to four hours a day for it. Not that these aren't good goals. Your goal is simple: keep a small notebook... read more

When I began writing--outside of a classroom setting--I subscribed to the notion that, in order to write, whether fiction or poetry, I had to be inspired. And if I didn't have an ounce of inspiration, well, then I just wouldn't (and didn't) write a single word in my notebooks. Romantic notion, yes. And one with flaws: as it turned out, I went through long, long periods of "writer's block" and, when I did get a really good idea, the writing came with difficulty. When, however, I began to consider the craft of writing, and to spend time, every day, with pen in hand, things got better. No, not better in some Hollywood movie montage way--I still had to deal with dryness, bad writing, and pages full of typos, crossed-out phrases, and no resolution. ("So, what did happen, then?") I read more poetry, more nonfiction, and more books on style, forms, and practice. I started paying attention to what authors and poets themselves had to say about how,... read more

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