Thursday, 19 February 2015

Making Time to Write

Thursday, 19 February 2015
I started my second year of university on Monday. Since my majors are physics and astrophysics, the workload is hectic and I am terrified that I won't have any more time to spend writing. I'm sure I'm not the only writer who has this fear. Writing - like most skills - gets better the more you do it and gets worse after long periods without practice. What scares me - stresses me out - most is that I can't remember exactly when I last wrote. I know that it was within this month, perhaps last week, but it feels ages ago. Since writing is one of the few things that properly acts as a de-stressor, this is not good for my mental health.

I don't think I'll get back to the point when I spend at least half an hour writing everyday any time soon, but I do hope to achieve that again. I'm going to start small. Write some fiction for 15 minutes a day. Journal once a week, during my free period or before Juma'ah prayers on a Friday. It's not a huge commitment. I've always been of the opinion that if something is truly important to you, you won't ever use the excuse "I don't have time to do it". Since writing is such a big part of me, I will make time for it. I am making time for it. I was lucky to finish my physics weekly problem set earlier than I expected, so I have almost the entire evening to spend with my words.

It does come with a sacrifice. I'm sacrificing some of the time that I could spend reading through my textbook or get an early start on my maths problems for tomorrow. These are things that I should be doing, to be a diligent student, but I stood on a rooftop at campus last night with some friends overlooking the city and searching for stars. My knee-jerk writer instinct is now to find the right words to knit that image, those thoughts and the first chill of autumn on my skin creeping in on summer. Maybe I won't write about that, specifically, but the warm reassurance of inspiration and the familiar rhythm of my fingers tapping on my keyboard are enough to remind me that I am still a writer.

Some of my Wattpad friends proposed some Word Wars a minute ago. I'll search my Pinterest boards because I think a sprokie (I don't know why, but I've always liked the Afrikaans word for a fairy tale more than the English equivalent) in a cityscape might somehow be in order. After spending so much time trying to decode the hieroglyphics called the Levi-Cevita tensor and Kronecker's Delta in physics, my mind has felt of an evil queen and requires the glitter of city lights, the approaching midnight and poisoned Apple (macbooks).

Perhaps some time later, I'll do a post on how I reconcile the abstract coldness of science and reason with the pure empathy of fiction and art. You'll be surprised how similar they care to be.

(When you're writing, do you ever type a word you weren't thinking of, then realise your fingers thought better than your mind because the word they put down accidentally is better than the one you had in your head?)

xx Munira

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