As my college experience nears its end, I’ve come down with a bad case of senioritis. This ailment has caused my creative faculties to dry up at a time when I need them more than ever. I feel like it’s the fourth quarter and I don’t have the energy to finish strong. I’ve found a few ways to combat this condition so as to relight my imagination before it burns out completely.
The best defense against senioritis, I think, is to take time to read for pleasure. I always carry a book with me–one that isn’t on a syllabus–just in case I have a free moment when I need to recharge rather than zone out. This goes double for writers. Being a good reader is essential for being a good writer. I find that when I’ve spent the whole day buried in unabsorbing texts with big words that have little relevance to my daily routine, it’s hard to make the transition to writing well.
I know that whenever I’ve been reading a lot of a particular author, I tend to write much like his or her style. Sometimes I do this deliberately. For example, when I need to write a short essay, I warm up by reading George Orwell. When I feel my writing style has become dull or flat, I’ll flip through a random passage of Nabokov to refresh my love of the English language. I’ve heard several of my favorite authors, including Hunter S. Thompson, say that they learned to write by copying whole texts from the writers they most admired (in his case, it was Fitzgerald and Mailer). If this seems excessive, then just read them carefully.
When reading, if you’re not buzzing with caffeine shakes, you should be sitting straight in a not-too-comfortable chair, in a well-lit, quiet room. I don’t think the same needs to be said for writing because sometimes it’s easier for me to write if there is a white noise overlaid with music in the background.
Whatever the case for reading and writing, the best antidote to senioritis is to recharge your imagination. Boredom is a very serious disease. It stifles creativity and it must be overcome if one wants to create anything interesting. So, now that finals week has come and gone, don’t spend your very short periods of free time zoning out on YouTube or Netflix. Pick up a good book, and keep your creativity candle lit and your imaginative skills burning.