So I graduated a year ago this month! (All the people in the house say whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat)
Here, have a picture of me looking suitably chuffed.
(And yes, I drank all the free prosecco. No regrets).
And I’ve been thinking a lot about being a writer after graduating and more specifically, how difficult that can be when you don’t have a nine grand license to spend your free time writing. (Ya feel?) So for any nostalgic creative writers out there, this post is for you…it’s especially for my RoHo pals cause you know I love youuuuu ❤
- Keep in Touch
Okay, so this depends on your university experience. If you had bad memories at university, maybe the last thing you want to do is keep in touch with old friends, professors, or the university in general. Maybe you’ve moved to Yemen. That’s cool.
But on the other hand, maybe you miss university but instead of making the most of the connections you still have there, you’re squandering precious time being nostalgic about it. Look, the reason you wrote during university was partly because you had to, and probably partly because you were surrounded by inspiration. You had to read books/plays each week, you were secretly in awe of that person in your class who had the flawless writing, or you wanted to impress that one lecturer everybody was in love with…It’s only natural that you started to slack once this inspirational environment was taken away.
So maybe it’s time to reconnect with old friends, share your writing with one another, or to attend alumni events and be inspired by the writers there.
- Read what you want
Speaking of reading…take the time to read what you want. Anybody else feel slightly relieved after graduating? Anyone else think: ‘Heck yes, I can read whatever I want to now!’ only to completely forget all your reading goals?
Sometimes I feel guilty. I think: ‘I’m an adult! I should be reading Les Mis or Pride and Prejudice in my free time’. But I’m so into YA at the moment and guess what? That’s totally fine. Read what you want because it will resonate with you, and when writing resonates with you, it just might inspire you too. Go be free!
- Start a Blog
The obvious one. I started a blog because of my wonderful friend Liling, and honestly, I’m so glad that I did. Blogging teaches you about focus and commitment, whilst also helping you to connect with readers, whilst also ensuring that you actually write in a non-pressured way. It’s non pressured because this blog is entirely mine and I have complete control over it. I write this blog for pure fun. So start a blog about whatever topic interests you – it’s worth it. It keeps you accountable.
Speaking of which…
- Stay Accountable
To people. To yourself. Just do it. Find a way to keep yourself accountable, whether that’s uploading to your blog regularly or attending a writer’s group monthly. Once you have that (slight) pressure of public expectation, you’re more likely to write. Again, remember why university was so effective? It was due to the public shaming *ahem, sorry* the group feedback sessions where people would brutally *lovingly* offer constructive feedback. You probably cared at least a tiny bit, right? You didn’t want to be that person who never submitted their work for feedback…well, this is the same thing. Stay accountable. Show up and write all the words!
- Set Goals
Decide what your writing goals are and try very hard to stick to them. It’ll be tough at first, TRUST ME. Or maybe it’ll be easy for you, in which case, TEACH ME YOUR WAYS. Anyway, for examples of some writing goals, see my first blog post of the year – My 2017 Writing Goals
- Join in!
There’s such a big community out there. Twitter runs ‘writing challenges’ per month. All you have to do is type in the month and add ‘writing challenge’ afterwards. i.e. ‘#JulyWritingChallenge’ or ‘#Augustwritingchallenge.’
There is also Nanowrimo and multiple ‘camps’ that run throughout the year, which are basically virtual campsites dedicated to inspire and motivate writers through healthy competition with both yourself and others.
There are writing groups on facebook, too. I also enjoy writing vlogs on youtube. In fact, in my latest video I spoke all about the joy and hardships of writing post-uni. (See below)
Oooooh, that segue though! 😉
- Utilise those commutes, yo
Carry a notebook. The train and the bus are great places to write. I suggest a notebook rather than relying on your phone. A phone is handy and I’ll often use it to jot down one liners that come to my mind but a notebook allows you to write in great depth and detail. Besides let’s face it, there’s just something more writerly and serious about opening your notebook and getting lost in a new world.
- Continue old work
Try re-reading some of your university work. You might be surprised (in a good way) and this might inspire you to continue the story you began.
- Start something new
Alternatively, re-reading your university work may inspire you to write something different completely, or at least tangential to your old project. That’s cool. Buy yourself a return ticket from Yemen and get writing!