I would like to welcome James Harlan to NAG today. He is going to share some thoughts about something that I personally know a lot about firsthand: being the student who wrote a book. However, unlike our guest today, I was in high school rather than college, but some of these thoughts can still apply. If you’re a bullied kid like I was, you probably won’t share your book with “friends”. At any rate, enjoy the read!
There is no exact age requirement to conduct oneself the honour of being called an ‘author.’ So, why not start now?
Well, first excuse: you’re still a student. The hectic schedule of students could, indeed, hamper them from writing their first novel. And, of course, there’s the risk of diverting too much of your time and energy on the book. It’s not hard to imagine your parents scoffing.
But if you really want to write, to simply create something worth reading, or share a piece of your soul – why ever not? Writing the first drafts of your soon-to-be-book while simultaneously, studying is possible. The preceding sections will help you explore this possibility.
Before going to the planning stage, expose first your goal. Why are you writing that book? Do you have an idea – and think it’s worth laying out in print?
Reasons and goals are varied in nature. Yours will change – no doubt about that. Yet, it is still important to have them. When the going gets tough, you can always turn around, take a look at your goal and let it pull you up.
Arranging your timetable
Managing time is essential for every individual who happens to be juggling two or more roles at a time. You may be an aspiring author, but you are also a student. To successfully pull these two roles, work out a flexible sched.
Allocate sufficient and realistic hours for review, studying, chores, and writing that book. Don’t worry about overlapping activities (unless such overlap compromises these).
In most cases, these activities are guaranteed to mesh well. For instance, reading and reviewing your notes may serve as a pre-writing exercise. Sometimes, it will work the other way; the creative writing makes the next activity (say, reading some of your notes) less boring.
You may have discipline that allows you to stick to your quota. But if you aren’t inspired enough, you will hardly find something worth putting in that book. You need inspiration to fuel your writing. You need it to inspire your readers, too.
But the crux is that there is no definable source for this. Inspiration can be taken out of a rigid rule book. Or, it can be found right through the texture of the rose’s petal. It can be simulated through experiences and events. And the very same thing could be said with the interesting people you meet.
Hence, don’t close any doors and be vigilant. Be on the lookout for things that affect you and observe the thousand sensations it presents. Chances are, inspiration is out there, hunting for you, too!
Perhaps, some events at uni could spur your meeting with your future editor or publisher. You will never know – which is why it’s important to be ever-ready.
When someone asks you what you’ve been doing, don’t forget to mention the book. When someone gets real curious and asks questions, be receptive and answer them as best as you can. Lastly, make sure that you aren’t acting pompous; arrogance wards people off.
Finally, try to enjoy the best of both worlds. Being a student has its rewards, as do writing books. Time zooms fast; before you know it, your book is in your hands and hopefully, at the hands of your readers, too.
James Harlan had been a student-slash-novelist, too. He is an education junkie, jumping from providing free essays and writing tips to trying different online courses. He can found on Twitter.