How to write during finals

21 Dec

by Rachel Simon


So this past week, I had final exams. The joy of being a college student; I get to study my butt off and then take a test, which stresses me out for the entire few weeks prior to said exam! It also causes me to do less writing 😦 and empty my wallet because our college campus food is horrid during exams. By now, I think that the restaurant two houses down from my dorm knows my name personally.

Now I may have just said that I write less, which is usually true. However, during this fall final time, I actually was about to write 2k and not study. I do not recommend this plan. It gives you less reassurance you will pass the class.  It gives you less time to make flashcards, reread your notes and study.

I recommend taking a breather from writing your WIP or novel or short story – whatever you like to call your piece. I do not recommend ignoring your studies and pumping out 2k. When you are stressed, you are usually worrying about the thing that is making you stressed (in my case, final exams) and also if your writing is any good. This does not make it easy to write when you are stressed. You’re constantly worrying about what you are writing and how it sounds in your head as well as how it could be read.

But if you do feel the need to write or jot down that amazing idea, here are some steps I recommend:

  1. Take a deep breath. Whether its because you are freaking out or because you’re excited about this sparkly idea, take a deep breath. It will help you relax.
  2. Use your writing notebook or a scrap piece of paper or Microsoft Word to write down that idea or sentence or paragaph.
  3. Come back to the idea later. Taking your time will help you breathe, study, do what you need to and then come back to the idea/sentence/paragraph and be ready to add it or change it if need be.

What steps do you take during a stressful period regarding your writing?

Rachel Simon is a college student in her sophomore year. When she’s not freaking out about finals or her grades or tests, she is avoiding writing her first novel by constantly checking Facebook, Twitter, her e-mail account and her blog, which can be found here.

10 Responses to “How to write during finals”

  1. junebugger December 21, 2009 at 6:23 AM #

    If only I had read this post a week ago! During the exam week I can’t help but do a little writing. It’s not like I study 24/7… So what I do is: I set up a schedule where I study like crazy from the earlier morning until around 6. After that I give myself freetime/a reward…which is…writing!!

    • Rachel S December 21, 2009 at 8:51 PM #

      I wish I did that. My reward for writing is usually studying. LOL!!!

  2. Rowenna December 21, 2009 at 11:48 AM #

    This is so true for those of us in the out-of-school phase, too. I have 5 times the amount of stuff to do, with holiday parties (my own and others’), shopping, cooking, travels, time with family…whew! And without a semester break, too! At the same time, I actually feel more drained if I don’t write. I like June’s suggestion of setting aside “reward/me” time for writing and giving myself a break if I don’t get a ton done otherwise. Thanks, and have a great break!

    • Rachel S December 21, 2009 at 8:52 PM #

      Yeah, I think whether you’re in school or out of school, stress can be an issue on your writing. Have a wonderful holiday, Rowenna! 🙂

  3. svonnah December 21, 2009 at 8:45 PM #

    Yeah, I basically ignore my writing, lol!

    • Rachel S December 21, 2009 at 8:53 PM #

      I should do that… Wait, don’t tell my mom. 😉 I was TOTALLY studying last week!! 😛

  4. sara December 21, 2009 at 9:30 PM #

    You know, I think those stressful life moments really are great for the very reason that they often force you to step back from writing. (Unless, of course, you’re on a deadline!) For two reasons: 1) Coming back to your WIP is SO exciting when you’ve been apart for more than a day or two. And 2) New ideas and concepts always simmer more for me during the breaks! I come back with a fresh perspective and renewed enthusiasm 🙂

    • Rowenna December 22, 2009 at 8:45 AM #

      That’s so true! I get antsy when I can’t write and can’t wait to get back to it–it doesn’t feel at all like work after time away!

    • Rachel S December 22, 2009 at 8:53 AM #

      I agree, coming back to your WIP is so fun and exciting. I love it! 🙂

      • sara December 22, 2009 at 8:07 PM #

        By the way – in case you don’t find it, I left an award for Let the Words Flow on my blog. Because this blog is wonderful and I wanted to spread the word about it!

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