Right now I am a 16 year-old Canadian high school student in Grade 11. I have school 8:35-3:07 (yeah, I know, weird times...) five days a week. Depending on the day, I usually have an average of about 2-3 hours of homework to do (more if it's math because I suck). Some weeks I try to factor in 30 to 45 minutes of piano-practicing per day (it's part of a volunteering job). I also need to exercise 150 mins per week for Graduation Transitions. Last but not least, I need to volunteer for as much as I can (we need 30 hours, but most people do up to like 100). In addition, we all have stuff like church, family, friends, clubs, exasperating phone calls where the person can't stop blabbing, books that make you stay awake until 2 in the morning and, of course, we need time to WRITE.
So here are my tips for a student-writer-person like me. I hope they work, and I'll have the entire 2010-2011 school year to figure out if they do! So wish me luck.
1.) Don't overbook yourself. This goes for anyone doing anything. Seriously, it's a headache. I was in 5 clubs last year. Stressful, I know. This year I'll just be focussing on newspaper, and perhaps environmental, but that's about it.
2.) Make a time to write. For me, this is usually later in the night, when I've done all my homework, when my friends have gone to bed so as to not call me, and when the house is quiet and my parents are safely snoring in their beds... I'm a night owl who doesn't need to sleep too much, so it's not a big problem for me if I stay up (which I usually do). I've always had an assumption that writers are typically night owls, but if you're not, factor in a time - even just a little time - to write regularly.
*DO NOT compromise sleep. I learn this the hard way. It'll make you a zombie in the morning. Sometimes I have too much confidence in myself and wake up in the morning feeling like a vampire in daylight.
3.) Join a writing class. If you're still in HS, chances are there's a writing class. I'm in one right now. It gives you a time to write without wasting anytime. Actually, school seems even USEFUL if you join one, haha...plus, you can form a convenient critique group and have a free professional help you (your teacher!).
4.) Don't procrastinate. I was meaning to finally start revising Dancers last weekend, but I didn't. Procrastination leads to guilt. Even if you're just going to write a few sentences, do it. It'll feel much better and it won't take long!
5.) Try not to be a hermit. We all have that writer's high where you just want to shut off the world and do your own thing. But take the time to talk to a friend, walk outside, or just close your eyes and give yourself a breather. Life is busy, and writing is just one facet of the business. Try to balance everything. (I suck at this.)
6.) Don't forget to read. I read somewhere that a good way to read at night yet not lose sleep is to tell yourself beforehand where you're going to stop, preferably at a place where there's not much of a cliffhanger :)
7.) Write in between. Perhaps you can write in short little breaks. My only problem with this is I'll get pulled into it and those "breaks" turn into 5-hour sessions.
8.) Tools. One of the best books I've read is "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens" by Sean Covey. There's also a version for Highly Effective People. I also use iCal and if you don't have a Mac Google Calendar is a good alternative.
9.) Never ever neglect homework/other work/other important stuff. I think that's self-explanatory...although I think I'm ready to see my grades drop this term as Dancers is going to be a biiiig part of my daily life!