How Should I Balance Writing With Everything Else?

How Should I Balance Writing With Everything Else?

Life is packed, but there are ways to make writing a priority.
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A friend in my community asked me how I balance Odyssey with other things in my life. Considering how important writing is to me, and also considering how busy we all are, I figured it would be a better endeavor to dedicate an article to it.

So here goes.

First, some background: I've gone through high school, college and now adult/working life and have never stopped writing. I know exactly how busy you are and how frustrating and difficult it can be to juggle it all.

But fear not. There are ways.

1. Make time.

This ain't no joke. This ain't even negotiable. If you want to write, you're going to have to carve time out of your daily schedule. When you're a college student, you have to do this around the five trillion things you're already scheduled to do. You have to eat meals, go to class, do your homework, hang out with friends, talk to mom on the phone, sleep and most importantly, spend time with God. How in the world are you going to find time write?

Well, it's in there somewhere. When I was in high school, and for the first two years of college, I got up every day at 6 AM to write. Junior year onward, I got up at 6 AM to exercise (UUUUUGH) and then luckily only had classes after 10 AM, so I wrote after breakfast. This is the power of habit.

THE POWER OF HABIT.

I put that twice (and in really big font) so you understand how vital it is. If you start forming your writing habit now, it will never die. This extends beyond college, beyond internships and beyond those initial job interviews. You're going to take these habits with you for the rest of your life. The only way to write is to simply make the time to do it.

2. Get your homework done.

Hopefully that sentence didn't make you wail in agony.

But the gist of the message is this: homework is super important. You're in college for a reason, and that's so you can do what you want with the rest of your life. You don't want to compromise that with anything else while you're still in college, not even if it's your undying passion (as writing is mine). Please make sure you're getting your homework done before you write. Even if that means compressing your writing time to 30 minutes before bed, or the 10 minutes before each class, then at least you know you're not putting your education in jeopardy.

Also, it will make writing a heck of a lot less stressful. You try sitting down to write a short story while that World History paper is sitting untouched. Yikes. Your creative mind will thank you if you've already cleared your responsibilities beforehand.

3. Write what you need to.

This one is the easiest. All through high school and college, I fluctuated between full-blown novels and smaller projects. Sometimes, I could only focus on one at a time, and at other points, I could switch between three or four. These ups and downs depended on my schedule. If my days were strict and had almost no spare moments, I would allow myself to write tiny things that didn't take long, but still produced creative output (flash fiction and poetry are amazing for this). If my schedule was a bit freer, I could devote more time to major novels.

If you find yourself growing creatively frustrated, just sit down and write something. Even if it sucks, it's important to keep those habits going. In the long run, you're still doing yourself good. Writing is therapeutic in a lot of the same ways dreams are. They help you organize your thoughts. They help you escape into other worlds for a little while. They give you power. Write what you need to.

4. Cut yourself some slack.

DON'T.

FORGET.

THIS.

You'll have weeks where you don't write a single word. You might even go for a month or two. I've been there, and it's easy to guilt-trip yourself and sink into a pit of existential crisis. However, any writer will tell you that there is no magic formula for being able to write all the time. In fact, no one can write all the time. At least twice a year, I have long stretches of uncreativity, and it's torture. But I know I'll get through it. I know that at the end of the awful tunnel is another stretch of bursting productivity and ideas. I live for those stretches.

So cut yourself some slack. Your passion shouldn't wear you down. It should build you up.

5. (Odyssey-specific) Plan ahead!

I've been writing for Odyssey over a year and a half now, and I've learned some important things along the way. First, keep the above four points in mind. Second, plan!

-Keep a running list of ideas you get throughout the week. Jot them down wherever you are and keep them handy for reference later (especially when you get to the day before your deadline and you're like "AAA! What do I write about?!")

-Try writing a little each day for Odyssey. Pop open the Content Creator and add a couple sentences. Then go away. It feels great to be able to go away.

-Ask for help. We're a community, after all. Bounce ideas off fellow writers and see which feedback sparks your interest. As I've said in previous articles, writing friends are priceless. Use them to your advantage! (And we are always more than happy to talk about writing. It's what we do).

-Mix it up. Don't like writing about the same topic over and over? Write about EVERYTHING. Life gives us a lot of things to write about, after all.

-Or stick to a theme. Do you have a lot to say about something? (Sort of like the way I have a bajillion things to say about writing?) Then write about that! You can even do what I did and set up a blog for your specific audience. Mine is called The Feather Pen, and it's gained a lil pack of followers in the past year. It's another great way to build that social media repertoire.


These are the most important pillars as far as balancing writing life and other life goes. There are probably dozens more I could cover, but these embrace a large amount of them. If you have any more, don't hesitate to share! Writers should always support other writers.

Now go write!

Cover Image Credit: Monoar Rahman

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What Your Hogwarts House Says About You

Get yourself sorted and find out where you belong in the world of witchcraft and wizardry.
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Sorting at Hogwarts is a big deal. Being sorted into a house is essentially being placed into a family while you are away from home learning about witchcraft and wizardry. Your house is made up of the people you will live with, go to classes with, play Quidditch with and everything in between. You basically spend 24/7 with them. Your Hogwarts house is your home away from home.

When you get sorted into a house, it is based on your personality traits. The people in your house are typically like-minded people who display the same characteristics as you.

When you’re a first year at Hogwarts, the minute you set foot in the castle you are swept into the Great Hall to have the ancient Sorting Hat placed on your head. This Sorting Hat decides which “family” you’ll be spending your seven years with.

For some, it is very obvious which house they will be in, due to certain personality traits they possess. For others, they may exemplify traits that fit a multitude of houses and are uncertain where they may end up.

To find out where you belong, you can take the official "Harry Potter" Sorting Hat quiz at Pottermore.com. For all you muggles out there, these are the characteristics that the houses possess and what your house says about you:

Gryffindor: The house of the brave, loyal, courageous, adventurous, daring and chivalrous. Those who stand up for others are typically Gryffindors. Brave-hearted is the most well-known Gryffindor characteristic, and Gryffindors are also known for having a lot of nerve.

Gryffindors are people who hold a multitude of qualities alongside the ones listed, making them a very well-rounded house. People who are Gryffindors are often people who could fit nicely into another house but choose to tell the sorting hat they want Gryffindor (there's that bravery). "Do what is right" is the motto Gryffindors go by.

Being a Gryffindor means that you're probably the adventurous and courageous friend, and you are usually known for doing what is right.

Ravenclaw: The house is known for their wisdom, intelligence, creativity, cleverness and knowledge. Those who value brains over brawn can be found here. Ravenclaws often tend to be quite quirky as well. "Do what is wise" is the motto they strive to follow.

Though Ravenclaws can be know-it-alls sometimes, they most likely do know what the wisest decision is.

If you are known for being the quirky friend, the smartest in the group or just great at making wise decisions, you're definitely a Ravenclaw.

Hufflepuff: This house values hard work, dedication, fair play, patience, and loyalty. Hufflepuff’s are known for being just and true. "Do what is nice" is their motto.

Hufflepuff is known as the “nice house” and believes strongly in sparing peoples feelings and being kind. This is not to say that Hufflepuffs aren't smart or courageous. Hufflepuffs just enjoy making others happy and tend to be more patient towards people.

If you ever find that you are too nice for your own good and cannot bear to hurt someone’s feelings, congratulations, you are a Hufflepuff.

Slytherin: This is the house of the cunning, prideful, resourceful, ambitious, intelligent, and determined. Slytherin's love to be in charge and crave leadership. "Do what is necessary" is the motto of this house.

Slytherin is a fairly well-rounded house, similar to the other houses. They are loyal to those that are loyal to them just as Gryffindors are and are intelligent as Ravenclaws.

Slytherin house as a whole is not evil, despite how many dark wizards come out of this house. That is merely based on the choices of those wizards (so if your friend is a Slytherin, don’t judge, it doesn’t mean they are mean people). Slytherins do, however, have a tendency to be arrogant or prideful. This is most likely due to the fact that everyone in Slytherin is exceedingly proud to be there.

What Hogwarts house you’re in says a lot about the person you are, the traits you possess and how you may act in some situations. But in the end, your house is really just your home that is always there for you. Always.


Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

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6 Things I Never Miss To Have In My Handbag

My handbag is a 'mini me' and I feel totally clueless without it

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I take my handbag everywhere and carried everything at times even junk, worn out receipts, tickets, coupons for a long time. Thought it would be the right time to come to terms with it. I have started organizing or should I say customize my shoulder companion with things that are needed every day for me so that I could share it with you peeps. I really like my handbag that I became a sucker for naming it and you can see it why.

My Nutcracker Case

It might seem different but that is how I like to call my cute little box with nuts. I fill them up with almonds, pistachios, cashews, walnut and dried fruits and sorts if I go out. My nutcracker case helps me with my hunger pangs and snacking habit. I can munch them on when I have to skip my eating during my studies or if I have some work or travel. It is just a simple healthy alternative I do instead of grabbing fries or burgers. I've been taking healthy choices lately and this idea is helping me a lot. Try it!

My Perfume

I literally cannot survive without my perfume. It keeps me going and it really helps me on the go. My perfume is like a part of me so I am very choosy about it. So that said, I always keep my perfume in my handbag. How do I choose my perfume? My nose has a sharp sensitivity over the fragrances. So it says, what is the best perfume for women.

My Tech Space

I use to put up a fight every time with my handbag in the name of searching for my charger and headphones. So I gave it a thought. My favorite clear pouch came to the rescue and I gave it a name, my Tech Space. I carry my two headphones, my power bank, pen drives, travel phone charger, memory cards, and USB connector within the Tech space!

Money Banks

Well you would have figured it out by now. Yes, it's my wallet . Something I would never miss to have. I do have a separate small coin pouch. I am not a big wallet person so I always prefer a small comfortable wallet with many racks where I put my cards and ready-cash. I don't just put my wallet in my bag; I specifically have them in a zipped compartment. Once I had a bad experience when I left my wallet in the room due to 'bag cleaning'. So from then on, I started to put my wallet in a separate zipped compartment, so that it remains safe even when I occasionally take out the bag.

My Journal

I am still an old school. I will better remember the details when I manually write it down. My journal is also my 'To-Do list' so I pretty much use it for everything. I carry a fountain pen with me which I use, so pretty much I am a very old school indeed.

Vanity

I stash all my skin essentials in this pouch. I will have a small bottle of my daily-facewash, a pack of facial tissues, my moisturizer, a concealer, small mirror and a light lip shade, overall a quick makeup fix. I have a side compartment in my vanity pouch where I keep my sanitary needs. I need my lip balm very often, so I usually put it the bag so every time I don't have to open the pouch.

When you ask me, my bag is more like a non-talking companion who literally has a small version of my room in it. What about yours?

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