The right time to write: How Quarto members make time for writing by Tamarah Wallace

Illustration by Gisela Levy

Illustration by Gisela Levy

Upon arriving at college, I was immediately overwhelmed by the new sense of freedom and the accompanying onslaught of engagements. Writing for me had always turned into a lengthy affair, similar to binge watching a show, where it became difficult to find any suitable stopping place. Since I felt that I had to carve out hours and hours at a minimum for this activity, I would neglect to put it on my schedule, and sometimes wouldn’t even be in the mindset to write during the time I scheduled.

However, I have realized that writing is a vital part of my life and making time for it doesn’t have to feel intrusive. I find that when the urge strikes it’s best to just commence writing right then. If there is a deadline that you must meet for schoolwork or otherwise, definitely don’t dismiss it and complete your work. But if not, write and then plan the rest of your engagements around the time that you have lost. Set a maximum writing time for the week and each time that you write, no matter for how long, subtract the time from that quota.

Thus, you will have a spontaneous writing schedule that keeps you from also getting carried away!

Here are other ways Quarto kids make time for writing:

“Since I primarily write nonfiction, I find it very easy to integrate into my schedule as a self-care exercise, akin to journaling. That being said, time definitely gets away from me. So, I like to allocate time in my schedule (usually on weekends) to get away from campus on my own and I always bring my notebook with me! I usually end up writing during this time.”

“On some days, I actually schedule it into my day and plan for it. Other days, the creative energy is just bursting out of me and I put everything on hold to write the piece. I think making time means priorities, and we just need to start looking at creative projects as important and essential to our human experience.”

“I go somewhere with no internet like Hungarian with the intention of writing. The tone of a place really influences my productivity!”

“I either decide to commit when I have an idea and flesh it out in that moment, or other times, I dedicate an afternoon in a coffee shop or something.”

“I try to write things down as they come to me, even if it's just a word or an idea. I often find myself thinking ‘I don't need to write that down, I'll remember it’ and then realizing that I've lost that idea when I finally sit down to write it out. Similarly, I try to make time for writing when the mood strikes, because I produce better work when I'm in the mindset of ‘I'm going to create something.’”

“Even though I’m a creative writing major, I find it incredibly difficult to make time for writing in my free time. I tend to write more when under pressure, so I am glad to have been in a workshop both semesters this year, and to have to take two more before I graduate. It is still sometimes difficult to get myself to sit down and write for my workshops, however, but I try to eliminate all distractions and go someplace private and quiet. I’ve noticed that I write worse when there are people around or I feel watched, so I do what I can to create the best environment for me. I’ve also learned to be less stringent about how I approach a story, so I skip around a lot, get rid of things I’ve already written, and prioritize getting words down on page the first time around rather than spending too much time trying to make everything perfect.”

Tamarah Wallace is a staff editor on Quarto. This is her first blog post.