School is starting up tomorrow and so returns the juggling act of balancing being a doctoral student and an aspiring novelist.
Being in a graduate program tends to be one of those all-consuming commitments. Therefore time management becomes a necessary survival skill.
What it comes down to for me is sleep. How much sleep am I willing to lose to write? The answer for me is as much as it takes. When inspiration hits, I make sure I carve out the necessary time to get it down.
Around finals this does get nearly impossible. The best I can usually do is to quickly outline the idea, but then I have to let it sit until my finals are over. The ironic part of all of this is that the busier I am, the more I find myself thinking of things that I want to write. This is why for me it all boils down to sleep.
And so begins the circle of procrastination/sacrifice. To accomplish grad school work, I must sacrifice working on my novel. To work on my novel I must sacrifice working on grad school research.
I break it down like this:
Working on my novel is awesome because:
1. It is fairly productive as far as procrastination goes
2. It is a great stress reliever
3. I could get published someday!
4. The more I write, the better I’ll get
5. At least I’m not stuffing my face with more cupcakes
6. Lastly, and most importantly, I love it
Working on my novel is challenging because:
1. It is productive, but not towards the actual research deadlines I have looming
2. 8 hours of writing later I feel great, then repeatedly hit the oh s**t button as I realize I’ve lost another day of research
3. I’ll never get published in creative or academic writing if I don’t get it done! (A.K.A. there aren’t enough hours in the day, so I stay up late… I’m a total night owl)
4. The more I write creatively, the more difficult it is to master the succinct academic voice I need to write in for school
5. Though I’m not eating cupcakes I’m probably ordering/making sushi, which is delicious, but makes my wallet hate me
6. I also love grad school like the nerd that I am.
Gahh the evil circle continues!!! But like I said, I love both, so I make time for both. (And then occasionally walk around like a zombie as a result… except instead of brains I eat cupcakes AND sushi… not at the same time though, that would be gross… unless the sushi was made out of icing…)
How do you balance your busy life?