Student Writer: Balancing writing with school, work, and a bunch of other stuff

Hello, hello! It’s been a while since I’ve posted a rant, since I’ve been incredibly busy with school, work, and editing my first book for publication! That being said, today’s rant fittingly is about how I manage to fit in time for writing/editing while balancing work and school.

For those who don’t know me, I’m currently a senior in college, and am working toward a psychology and sociology double major, with a minor in law/societies/justice. After class, I either head to work or to my internship, often followed by my volunteer position at a homeless shelter. On top of that, I’m often making cosplays for upcoming conventions, editing my first book for publication, and writing the first draft of the second book. So how to I manage to balance all this??

This quarter, a typical school/work day for me starts at 10AM and ends around 6PM – and if it’s a at the shelter, 10PM. As a student paying thousands of dollars for my education, I put my homework first. Luckily, my editor is super understanding and patient. In an ideal world, I would write or edit at least one chapter per night. With school, this isn’t really easy for me. There have been weeks where I don’t get to even open one of my manuscripts until Friday night. It sucks, but midterms and essay deadlines are far less forgiving than my editor. Luckily for me, essays are a piece of cake  – if I know what I’m writing about, I can whip out a standard 5-paragraph, 2-3 page paper in about an hour. I realize this isn’t so simple for everyone, so I’m really thankful for my speedy writing skills (I’d like to thank all my SAT essay prep for that). I do all my reading and studying on my bus rides to/from work. My classes are less intensive this quarter since I’m focusing a lot on my job and internship, so I’m usually free by around 7pm to work on homework, writing, or any other projects.

However, my spring conventions are coming up, and naturally I planned more cosplays than I can handle. Much of my free time goes toward sewing, painting, crafting, etc. I do try to get a head start on most of my costumes, so I usually try to do writing every other night, and cosplay making on the nights I’m not writing. Or sometimes I’ll do a few hours of cosplay, then a few hours of writing, depending on what needs to be done. When my editor has new edits for me to look at or needs a new chapter, that takes priority over anything else. If I know I’ll be busy in the future, like if a con is coming up that weekend, I generally try to get ahead on edits and homework.

Surprisingly, I have something of a social life. Granted it’s all in the evening, but I try to set aside at least one night to go out with friends, and I hang out with my boyfriend as often as we can make time for each other between our busy schedules. Sometimes when I have a lot of studying to do, I meet up with friends to keep each other company while we work on our own stuff.

Sounds like I have everything laid out pretty neatly, huh? Well. . . there’s a few sacrifices.

I get about 4-5 hours of sleep on a good night. My classes aren’t too difficult this quarter, so I don’t need to spend hours each day on studying. Meals are often rushed during bus rides, at odd hours, or I’m stuffing my face while I work on other stuff. Unless I am eating with friends or family, I never really spend time just enjoying my food. Even with free time, I’m often not in my “writing zone” until around midnight, and I’ll often stay up until 2 or 3AM writing. Because writing – and cosplay, since it’s con season – takes up so much of my free time, I rarely have time to watch TV shows, play video games, or really do any of my other hobbies during the week days. Every where I go, I’m almost always brainstorming ideas for chapters and story lines, so I know what I want to write whenever I get the chance. I don’t think it’s necessary to dedicate so much mental energy and free time to get writing time in, but it’s what works for me with my schedule.

Whatever your schedule is, I think the main takeaway point here is managing your time wisely. Know how many hours you need to spend on work, homework, studying – the mandatory stuff. Dedicate how ever much of your free time you fee comfortable with to writing. Cut out mindless browsing on Facebook. Make a schedule. Do whatever you gotta do to find time to write.


How does my daily schedule compare to yours? Do you have any suggestions for balancing writing with a busy routine? Comment your thoughts below!

Thanks for reading! 🙂