Senior year has arrived! If your upbringing was anything like mine, you’ve been hearing about this year for most of your life. Senior year of highschool is the center of thousands of teen movies and family conversations. It’s such a pivotal point in our lives that senior year manages to eclipse our entire school experience. And why is it such a pivotal event? Not because of prom like many Disney movies will have you believe but because of college applications. This is the year that will decide our future. No pressure at all right?
I’m on week three of school and already I’ve had to begin drafting what will total to over twenty essays. Naturally, most of my writing time and creativity is spent on applications. It’s exhausting. Most days, I can only dedicate a sentence or two to my creative projects before my brain short circuits. Progress is a lot slower than I would like because of it.
Luckily for me, I’m used to working under burn out. I know many can’t say the same, so here’s what I’ve learned so far.
Set Deadlines. By this I don’t mean the deadline for the entire application. I mean setting deadlines a couple of days out and then sticking to them. It will feel painful, especially if you wait until the last minute but at least you’ll have words to work with. The closer together you set these deadlines, the faster you’ll be done with college applications and can return to creative writing.
Avoid guilt. There are times I’ve gone days without working on my novel because college essays sucked up all of my creativity. On those days, it’s easy to feel guilty, especially if the problem is lack of brainpower and not lack of time. I try to avoid this by reminding myself of the progress I’ve made in college applications.
Find the parts of the day where you have the most energy. For me, these times are mornings and evenings. Once you find those times, use them as much as you can and find something relaxing for when your energy is depleted. Trust me when I say you’ll get a lot more done.
Take Breaks. Whenever I don’t force myself to take breaks my exhaustion shows. The words become more forced and stilted which will lead to an inevitable rewrite, giving me more work than if I had just taken the break. If you have an idea for something that just can’t wait, jot it down and then quit thinking about it. I always have a pen and paper with me or my phone just in case this happens.
That’s it! It seems like common sense but following through is easier said than done. Hopefully you’ll be able to put at least one of these ideas into practice and knock out some fantastic essays and stories!