What College Taught Me About Writing and Publishing

OCEANBUFFET I’m typing this post after I’ve finished my last final during finals week – and what a relief it is for summer to finally be here! Sophomore year has definitely had its ups and downs. It’s crazy that I’m already halfway done with college, but the end of this year made me realize how much the past two years have taught me about both the writing process and how to approach publishing.

1) Failure is inevitable.

Just like good reviews and bad reviews, you’ll have amazing wonderful friends and then you’ll also have disappointed relationships. Not all stories will do as well as others and not all readers will love your writing. Sometimes you’ll put a story out there to the world or try a marketing technique and it won’t work. That’s fine.

College was the time when I started to realize that there may be tests you study an insane amount of time for and still don’t perform as well as you’d hoped. There will also be times when you have three midterms in one day and somehow you do well on all of them. There will be failures from your writing and promotion, just like there will be failures from your tests and friendships. There’s no such thing as a 100% success rate – and that’s normal!

2) Just like any other school subject, writing is a skill that takes time to learn.

The more time you spend practicing the skill, the better you become. Take Statistics. I started the semester with little to no knowledge of the subject. But the more time I spent reading the textbook and solving the problems, the more sense it started to make.

Writing’s the same way. I’ve noticed a definite improvement in my writing structure and flow since I’ve started reading more about editing techniques and writing mistakes to avoid. There’s so many great (and free) writing and publishing resources out there. I recommend Writerology, Writers Helping Writers, and The Creative Penn to learn more about the craft. Not to mention an endless amount of writing podcasts – Writing Excuses and the Sell More Books Show to name a few.

3) Prioritize your time.

It’s impossible to do everything. I went into the publishing process with this idea that I had time to write, to promote, to update all my social media accounts, etc. The truth is that writing new material takes the majority of my time, leaving less time to promote. But that’s a time allocation choice I chose to make.

College works the same way. Assignments, research meetings, and exams come before other extracurricular activities or events. There isn’t time to do everything and you might end up stretching yourself too thin if you try. College has helped me figure out how to prioritize my time – writing time included!

What about you? What lessons has school taught you about writing or publishing?

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4 thoughts on “What College Taught Me About Writing and Publishing

  1. I love this post! I’ll be starting college in the fall, and I’m incredibly worried about time management and not being able to do everything that I want (which, as you said, is pretty much impossible). Thanks for sharing this post!

    1. It’s exciting during the first few weeks after you first move in, but also definitely an adjustment period to try to settle into a routine. After that it’s much easier to manage your time (and make time for writing and reading, too!).

  2. I think your last point is especially important. Being a writer and finishing a writing project (particularly something long and time-intensive like a book) requires well-honed time management skills. Making to-do lists and outlining your progress using programs like Google Calendar can help you stay on track.

    1. Agreed. Prioritizing time is key to finishing any project, especially a book. I try to follow a general word count per day, but typing out specific writing goals helps too.

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