Sneaky Pens

Following up on the last post, I have another quick tip on how to make time to write, but it does involve potentially risking your grade in a class if you don’t do it right. I have used this method myself, and I don’t think I’d have gotten the draft of my manuscript as quickly as I would have liked, if at all, without using it. AND I managed to graduate college with a decent 3.385 GPA (if you’re aiming for something higher, by all means, still use this method, just understand what you’re getting into).

It’s simple, really. You’re sitting in your lecture, and you’re jotting down notes, but at the same time, you could also be jotting down your story, in the margins, or somewhere on the page where you’re supposed to be taking notes on what the prof is talking about. The trick is to be able to switch your attention between your story and the lecture as easily as turning on and off a light switch, at least if you still want to maintain decent notes and standing, not to mention the morality issues of A) your prof is taking the time to lecture you so the least you can do is listen and occasionally speak up during open discussions (speaking up is advisable, esp. in classes that grade you on class participation), and B) your parents or family (unless you’re paying your own way) are ponying up the dough for you to be in this lecture so the least you can do is listen and occasionally speak up during open discussions.

Because if you’re off in your own little world for the entire block of class, you are, in a way, burning about $20, give or take. It’s almost the same as cutting class, only it’s just your brain that’s doing it.

At the same time though, you making record time with your writing quota, which is just as valuable as anything, right?

Now I’ll admit that occasionally, I’ve gotten so suckered into my story that I lose track of what’s going on in the class. So even though it’s not ideal in the sense that you can’t completely give yourself over to the world of your imagination, I have used the approach of writing and sentence or two, basically finish a complete and utter thought, and then switch back to the lesson. Once you find a good spot to go back to your story, write down the next thought, or action, or whatever, and repeat.

Good places to switch out are when you have writer’s block. You might as well go back to the lesson at hand, otherwise you’ll get stuck with that glazed, dreamy look on your face, and profs all know what that means (at least to them).

Be sneaky with your pen, be focused and aware about it, and you’ll come out of that class not only with perhaps a few brownie points with your prof under your belt, but a paragraph or two of writing to boot.

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