Here’s what’s up in the Spooniverse, according to our members.

How to Make Time for Spoon-ing, Even as a Busy College Student

Here are seven pieces of advice for how to balance your Spoon contributions, academic pursuits, and life as a college student!

Whether you're new to the Spoon University platform or a seasoned veteran, finding new ideas for articles and recipes can get harder when the academic year starts rolling around. As assignments start flowing in and other clubs start meeting, it might become increasingly challenging to take a step back and produce content for your chapter. Here are some tips on balancing your academic, work, and social life with being a vibrant Spoon contributor!

1. Read as much as you can, regardless if it's about food or not.

desk, library, student, College, stickers, studying, Book, Bowl, computer, snacks, crackers, glasses
Megan Japczyk

One of the most painful things I get asked is if I'm reading something "for school or for pleasure." Why can't it be both? I find that reading gives me a sort of emotional grounding- that's why it's something I do every day! Before you go to bed at night, put your phone on the charger and pick up a physical book instead. You might find that your sleep quality improves, you feel a little less restless, and just more enlightened.

2. Check the news regularly; ideas for new pitches might spring up all around you!

breakfast, cereal, Bowl, spoon, milk, Newspaper, window, apartment, College, Cheerios, eating, Meal
Megan Japczyk

Coming up with new ideas for articles and recipes is no small feat! I get a lot of ideas for articles and posts off of the news, local happenings, and posts that come across my social media.

3. Cohesive thought isn't necessarily important in the drafting stage. Focus on getting your words on paper and let the story fall into place.

spam, date
Mackenzie Patel

Journaling is a good step for getting words out on paper. In the class I help teach in the fall, we call this activity "taking a line for a walk." Sit down with a pen and paper, set your timer for for five minutes, and try to write (or draw) whatever comes to mind. You can tailor your scribbles to a question (e.g., "What was the best thing I ever ate?" or "Why does race matter when it comes to food?") or just free-form it.

It's equally important to remember that things will change during the editing process. One of my journalism professors once told me I should "fall in love with the story, not the way you wrote it." What ideas do you want to convey to readers? What do you want people to get out of your article?

4. Add "creative time" into your schedule.

chocolate, tart, tea
Julia Murphy

This might possibly just be "self-care-Sara" emerging, but I think allowing yourself time for creative activities is critical to becoming a more well-rounded individual. It might be writing, drawing, pottery making, sculpting, or making music. Not only do these activities release pleasurable sensations to your brain, but it also requires you to utilize different parts of your brain that vigorously taking notes from a textbook doesn't.

5. Get support from your friends and fellow Spoonies!

beer, wine
Spoon University

Let's say you want to write a review of a local restaurant. How better to experience that restaurant than inviting your friends on a brunch date? If you all order different things, you can get a sampling of more menu items- and you can experience the restaurant through different perspectives!

Another group of unsung heroes in the Spoon-iverse are family members! They might have recipes and food traditions they'd be willing to share with you. Sometimes just even talking potential pitch ideas out with them is helpful. For example, I often ask for feedback on ideas about recipes and article topics from my mom; she's always willing to give me ideas and ask questions that I wouldn't have considered otherwise. She also often brings to mind questions that readers might have about content that make sense in my head, but not really anyone else's.

6. Set flexible deadlines for yourself.

orange, citrus, studying, notes, taking notes, notebook, textbook, study snack, snack
Jocelyn Hsu

You might have noticed that its easier for ideas to flow when you're not stressing about the ten papers you have to write! Flexible deadlines help keep you organized and on-track for submitting both assignments and articles. For example, if you pitch an idea, when do you think (realistically) you can get half of it done? What about the rest? What date can you have a ready-to-submit draft by? These milestones help ensure that you're not front-loading all of work on one day- provided that you also set goals based on your other commitments.

7. When all else fails, get help from your chapter leaders.

Mackenzie Patel

As an editorial director and president of my Spoon chapter, my goal is to help our contributors learn new things and excel in their role with the organization. If you're feeling stuck, sending a quick email to your chapter leaders will give you guidance and support. We're here for you!

If you're a chapter leader looking to help inspire your members, consider holding writing workshops at your meetings. These workshops can feature pitch generations specific to your campus and/or geographic area, meetings with media professionals, and alike. You can outline what makes a good article, review writing strategies, and designate time for members to work in pairs to write and discuss. You might find that you learn something from these collaborative sessions as well!