How to Draw the Line Between School and Writing

Yesterday, I had a lot of things to do. I had homework to tackle, a test to study for, a project to create, poems to write, and chapters to work on. I was very stressed, and it felt that my school and writing lives were swirling together in a very bad way. But I knew I needed to buckle down and get work done. So you know what I did?




cupcakes. (Hehe it looks like a mustache)
No, I didn't have a box mix (for those who know me personally, you know I usually cannot bake anything for the life of me unless it comes in a box) so the fact that I made these puppies from scratch is a big deal. Let it be clear that I DID NOT HAVE THE TIME NEEDED TO MAKE THESE AND YET I MADE THEM ANYWAY.
Ever been in a similar situation? You probably have.
As writers (or students), sometimes we get caught in a tangle of to-do's. Between homework, projects, test, work, and writing, sometimes it's hard to sort everything out. You feel overwhelmed. This is especially true now that we're in the midst of NaNoWriMo. I'm sure a lot of you are feeling swamped!
Which is exactly why I want to use today's post to talk about how to buckle down and set a barrier between your school work, and your writing work.

1. Get a piece of paper and a pencil. I don't care what kind of paper. Lines, blank, news, wrapping. I seriously don't care. Just get a piece of paper and a pencil. Or a pen, if you prefer. Or a marker. Or a crayon. I DON'T CARE JUST GET PAPER AND A PENCIL.
2. Write down everything you have to do this week. Focus on your school work first. What assignments do you have due for each class? Do you have tests this week? Projects? Next, write down your writing goals. Do you want to write 100 words a day? Finish a chapter by Friday? Edit two chapters a week? Then spread each task throughout the week, organizing them by due dates and personal deadlines.
3. Tackle today's items one at a time. Start with school work first, then writing. Or start with writing, and then school work--whatever you want! Just make sure to give yourself enough time to accomplish each task.
4. Change up your schedule if necessary. Sometimes you have to accept that you won't be able to finish everything in one day. If that's the case, spread out the remaining items on your list to tomorrow or the rest of the week. If you have a goal to write 200 words a day but didn't have the chance to get to that today, make tomorrow's word count 400 words. Be careful, though, and don't procrastinate. You don't want to end up with the pressure of writing 1000+ words on Friday night.
5. Cross off items as you go. A lot of people gain a sense of relief when they cross off items on a to-do list. I know I do!
6. Reward yourself. When everything is checked off, reward yourself by doing something relaxing. Read a book, catch up on your favorite show, take a nap, etc. 

I know what you're thinking--a list? Really, Miranda? Isn't that a little childish?
Why yes, yes it is. Thank you for noticing.
But hey--I don't know about you, but when I write everything that I need to accomplish down on paper, I tend to realize I don't have as much to do as I initially thought. Sometimes tasks can seem much more daunting and huge in our heads, when in reality they're perfectly manageable. All you have to do see that is write everything down!
Lists are a great way to separate school and writing. Having a set amount of time for each allows you to focus on one at a time, ultimately getting more done! So give it a try, and write yourself a schedule. Hopefully you won't end up with a plate of cupcakes like me ;)

"Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain." - 1 Corinthians 15:58