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The Balance of Being Both Student and Writer.


by @ritaswriting


I began writing my debut novel in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic on July 6th, 2020. My burst of creativity came on a car ride to our first family vacation that summer. We had just crossed a mountain and as I looked out my window and down to the valley, my cell service stopped. I watched as trees accumulated and the mountain faded away. The lightbulb literally turned on as my brother turned the dome lights looking for a snack to alleviate the growling noises of his stomach. I should totally write a book and I’m gonna call it Between Nations.


And so a year later, I am in the editing process of my debut novel: Between Nations. I began on July 6th with merely an idea that would soon become my safe haven: where I went when I was stressed. I started writing as much as I could every day before my first year of college started in mid-August. I wrote at least 500 words every day: writing all of the ideas I had in fear of losing my creativity. In that time, I created an Instagram that now has over 1,300 friends but at the time was merely an idea with the hope that someone, somewhere would support my idea of writing a book. I didn’t begin posting until mid-September.


With my 20 credits at college and my own social life, I put writing on the back burner: a flame that has slowly extinguished down to an unreachable dream. Some days when I had no homework, I wrote for 2 hours. School took over as I tried to get accustomed to online learning. My social media was growing slowly as I couldn’t keep up with a regular posting schedule. I began taking 10 posts in one photo session and posting those sparingly.


Fast forward to December 2020: the end of my first college semester. I had around 3 weeks off and began a challenge: 2,000 words a day. Some days I wrote 2,000 and others I wrote 5,000 a day depending on the scenes and part of the story I was at. And within those three weeks, I finished the first draft with 50,000 words. I became extremely active on social media during those three weeks and kept posting regularly. The issue was no longer time but rather creativity for the posts.


I started my website (ritaswritings.com) with a blog that features drabbles, flash fiction, and book reviews. I posted sparingly whenever I could during the school year. I attempted to keep up with the posting during the spring semester of college.


During summer, I created a year-long posting schedule on Excel with the exact post idea, the prepared caption, and the hashtags. I posted every single day on the blog: writing at least 3 hours per week to prepare for this while pursuing a certification to continue gaining healthcare experience. The year-long calendar enabled me to have all the ideas planned for the entire school year of 2021-2022. I am currently preparing all of my publishing materials as I seek to publish my book. Currently, I take a month of posts in two hours and prepare them all for posting.


As for writing, I set aside an hour or two a week to prepare a blog post whether that be a drabble, a flash fiction story, or a book review. Join me on my journey as I publish my debut novel on Instagram @ ritaswritings and head over to my website @ ritaswritings.com. After I finished the first draft, I didn’t even look at my novel during the months of January 2021 - May 2021. In June, I began editing. The editing process was 7 pages a day of full on editing: sentence structure, ideas, plot holes, etc. After a month and a half, my entire novel has been edited and rewritten.