Marginalia, Graduate Blog

Managing Time, Creative Writing & Cosmic Events

Joshua C. Robinson

Hello world, my name is Joshua C. Robinson, and I am the new Graduate Ambassador for the Arts, Entertainment, and Media Management MAM program. I am supremely excited to be an Ambassador, and I am phenomenally thrilled to be starting the MAM program on September 3rd. I am originally from Denver, CO and came to Chicago to pursue graduate school and participate in improvisational theater. Now that I have introduced myself, I’d like to tell you about two interrelated topics that have been on my mind recently while I prepare for grad school: priorities and creative writing. Daily activities can pull you in a multitude of directions, but before I give you unsolicited advice on priority management, let’s talk about physics…

…It has recently been discovered that photons might be able to move faster than the speed of light  and Neil deGrasse Tyson  once postulated that if two black holes were to collide, they would provide the only opportunity for traveling back in time.

Artist’s conception of the 4C60.07 system of colliding galaxies. Credit: David A. Hardy/UK ATC

Artist’s conception of the 4C60.07 system of colliding galaxies. Credit: David A. Hardy/UK ATC

Barring drastic advances in science or a local cosmic event (or a Hogwarts-esque time-turner), there won’t be more time to engage in all the activities that I might want to explore. In order to be an effective professional, manager, and graduate student, I will have to out some projects from my schedule.  I followed the process that I learned while studying creative writing as an undergraduate.

1. Kill Your Darlings

In writing seminars we were always told to take the advice of William Faulkner and “Kill all your darlings.” Darlings are those characters that we thought were so precious and interesting, but didn’t actually advance the development of the other characters. Those characters that we had spent hours on, but become obsolete. We ought to find a way to remove them from the play, or remove that line from the poem, or remove that paragraph from our essay.

I did an audit of my activities and had to decide whether or not they would benefit me in the long run. Sometimes I have to cut out a few things that I love dearly but simply do not have the time to do anymore. This process is hard, and I did it first… because it’s hard. My future projects will thank me.

2. Brevity is the Soul of Wit

The Chandos portrait, artist and authenticity unconfirmed. National Portrait Gallery, London. (Wikimedia Commons) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Shakespeare.jpg

The Chandos portrait, artist and authenticity unconfirmed. National Portrait Gallery, London. (Wikimedia Commons) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Shakespeare.jpg

Shakespeare’s advice is indelible in creative writing. How fast and efficiently can I complete my tasks? Do I really need to be as thorough and as meticulous as I want to be? Working on the task quickly and to completion may already be 100% effective. With limited time, I have to be brief and clear with my projects. Succinct creation is good creation.

3. More Passion!

One of my creative writing mentors would always cry out, “More Passion! More Passion!” which basically meant, get to the juicy stuff, and forget the rest. To determine what I had time to do, I had to follow the passion. I prioritized according to the things which I love the most and am most passionate about. The more passionate I am about something the more likely I am to work with efficacy and produce something of quality.


So that’s my take on priority-management. Maybe it’s not clinical, maybe it’s not the most effective description of how to manage time (for a cut and dried approach click HERE), and maybe I’m not taking into account the existence of a workable time travel device. Still, this three step process is one of the methods I use to manage my choice of projects. It’s an essential step to undertaking a new role that demands a great deal of time and attention, such as graduate school, which is why this is my first post. Hopefully, approaching priorities like this makes it a little less rote and a bit more personal.

This method of choosing projects works for me, and I hope it offered some usable ideas, otherwise you have mismanaged your time in reading this, and you are going to have to wait for the next cosmic event to get it back. I’m sorry to say the next local galactic collision of black holes isn’t for billions of years.

Managing Time, Creative Writing & Cosmic Events

Hello world, my name is Joshua C. Robinson, and I am the new Graduate Ambassador for the Arts, Entertainment, and Media Management MAM program. I am supremely excited to be …

Business & Entrepreneurship MAM Joshua C. Robinson, JoshuaCDRobinson@gmail.com
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605

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