Five Tips for Being a Writer in College

 

In the midst of overpopulating STEM majors, being a humanities major in college can be rough. Having to release and reform creative energy repeatedly by deadlines can be draining. And to top it off, there will likely be little reward besides fueling your passion for putting pen to paper. So, if you are determined to be a writer in college, here are some tips to help you survive and thrive.

 

1. Get Used to People Judging You

 

First and foremost, as a writer, you will be judged. You will be heard, but also looked at and critiqued. You will be accepted rejected, or maybe both, simultaneously and in different ways. Despite this, writing will force you to share the most vulnerable parts of yourself because that’s what makes good writing. So, you will have to get comfortable being critiqued by both enemies and peers. Other students may laugh at you for being a writing major, but don’t take it to heart. Professors, TA’s, and fellow writers will tear your pieces apart, but that just means they care. You will quickly need to learn when to roll with your wins and accept your defeats.

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2. Submit and Share Your Work Everywhere

 

You’re in college now, which means you need to take charge. Look around you. You’ll find literary magazines, poetry clubs, newspapers, etc. everywhere. Take advantage of all these opportunities being offered to you at once. Apply for positions to get experience and submit your works to be published everywhere. Worst case scenario is: you get rejected, but best case scenario: you get published. Even if being published isn’t your life’s biggest goal, it gives you an edge. Being able to say you’ve been featured in journals or magazines will make people take a second glance at you. Plus, it never hurts to have proof to back up the power of your words to anyone who doubts you. After you get used to this, take it a step further and read your work aloud. Go to readings and read snippets of your short story or your spoken word poetry. It may be scary but it will also be rewarding, and help you grow as a true writer. No matter what, share your work as much as you can.

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3. Go Out Every Now and Then

 

As writers, we often tend to isolate ourselves in order to work, think, and write. We’re stuck in our heads most (practically all) of the time, which makes it hard for people to reach us. Don’t get me wrong, beating writer’s block and getting in the zone is one of the best feelings. But, when you do feel like you’re in a rut or you’ve spent too much time at the desk scratching your head over plots, or rhyme schemes, or character developments, give yourself time to get away. Spend time with the people around you and get out of your own thoughts for a while, trust me it always helps. College is all about the experience, and the more you get out of it, the more you can write about! So, keep experiencing new things to keep your perspective fresh.

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4. Read

 

This may sound too obvious or mundane, but it always rings true. Good writers always read. Most of us already love to read, but that may change in college. Between papers, assignments, and actual class readings, finishing the pile of new books you’ve been thinking about for months can seem impossible, even daunting. However, reading never fails. It takes you out of your head and into a new world. It can destress you and inspire you at the same time. If you’re not writing, then at least try to be reading. Carry a paperback with you in your backpack or keep a poetry book by your bedside and rekindle your need to read to help keep you going.

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5. Sit Down & Write Your Story

 

Taking classes in college about what your passionate about is great for peaking your interest and finding your style, but it can also fuel your insecurities. You’ll be hearing and reading about famous award-winning authors and poets, but don’t let that distract you from your own value. Your words, your thoughts, your story has value. You can always take from the works that resonate with you to experiment with your work, but never feel like you have to conform to a certain style or standard. Professors and classmates don’t want to hear you reciting familiar techniques and tones, they want to hear your voice tell your story. With this in mind, make a habit out of writing. Work towards crafting your story/poem/art a little bit every single day if you can.

 

Writing is one of the hardest passions to have. There is no rulebook, you have to make the rules. You have to work to untangle the thoughts into your head and organize them out on paper to convince other people that it is worth reading. If writing is easy, you’re probably not putting enough into it. So, above all, the best advice is to just keep writing and keep believing in your words. It may be hard, but it will always be worth it to you.