Filtering by Tag: school

Crazy Little Thing Called Life

Life is crazy, you guys. Everything can change from day to day to day. The last year and a half of my life should have taught me that. Even still, I find myself being surprised by how much can change.

If this sounds ominous, it's not meant to. These most recent changes are all good ones, I swear.

First up, I withdrew from school. I'm only nine classes away from my Bachelor's degree, but throughout my first class, I found myself overwhelmed and unenthusiastic. I didn't want to take the class, and there were a billion things I could have been doing instead. And then the wheels started turning:

"Why am I doing this?"

"Do I really need this degree?"

"Do I want to put myself even further into debt for a degree I might not even need?"

"Why am I putting so much time and energy into this when I could be writing?"

It was the last question that struck me the hardest. I know I've mentioned a lot just how much writing I've been getting done lately, how much better that writing has gotten. How I feel like something has finally clicked into place. Did I really want to shove all that aside for something that didn't make me nearly as happy as the writing?

The answer: not even a little bit.

So, I withdrew from school.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't questioning myself. Years of hard work, student loans galore, only 9 classes to go. Why not just finish? Why put something as LOGICAL as school aside to focus on something as ILLOGICAL as writing? Shouldn't I be a grown up and make the responsible decision?

I can always re-enroll later. There is no guarantee that the writing will come as smoothly at a later time. The muse is a fickle bitch. I...I don't know. I have to take some more time with the words. Finish the last book in my first series, clean them all up. I just have to.

There are a couple more big decisions that I've made recently, but I'm not quite ready to talk about them yet. Hint: they're both big and scary and exhilarating and (hopefully) awesome.

To be continued...

The Balancing Act

Last month, I picked up where I left off about a year and a half ago--I went back to school. Now, if you're sensing some bitterness there, you'd be right.

My dilemma is this: I've been writing a lot over the last year. I have discovered my voice as a writer, and I have decided on a career path for these book babies. School throws a wrench in these plans. When I'm writing, I'm thinking about homework. When I'm doing homework, I want to be working on my book. And when I'm doing neither, when I'm hanging out with friends or just relaxing, I keep thinking I should be doing something else. Cue deep breaths.

Part of me wants to say eff it and focus on the writing, but the years and student loans I've put into school would be for nothing. I've only got ten classes left for my Bachelor's. Ten classes. It'd be silly to not finish, right?

So now I'm left trying to balance my newfound fire for writing with classes that I don't particularly want to take. Throw in a full-time job, my awesome friends and a new relationship with a pretty rad dude, and I've got a lot on my plate.

So, how do I balance it?

I have no idea.

As if I don't already have enough on my plate, I have decided to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. I'm going to write the third book in my first series. I'm super excited about this book. It's going to be a blast to write. That is, if I don't let everything else eat my soul.

So, how about you? How do you balance writing with a life full of other things? Any tips or tricks for me? I suck at balance.


Out of the Slump

It's been two months since my last post. I'm a bad, bad blogger.

Life has been hectic, as usual, and I was in a writing slump for a long time. Now, I'm back to my story and my life has settled down.

I met with an academic advisor last week and found out that I have everything I need for my General Associate's Degree. Not only that, but the following day I was informed that I only need eleven classes for my Bachelor's in Professional Communications.

Eleven classes. That's, like, three semesters. About a year or so and I'll be finished with school. How awesome is that?

An added bonus was that the classes I was signed up for this semester were extras -- I didn't need them for my degrees. So, I was able to withdraw from them and now I have a semester off. The timing couldn't be better, as I have wanted to do nothing but write for the last month or so.

The slump I mentioned earlier had gone on for months. I was halfway through Chapter 6 and I'd stalled. I went on my dream vacation (I'm writing a couple posts about how magical THAT was. Look for them soon) and couldn't write a word when I came back. From the end of September to mid-January, I was a writer who didn't write. And I was miserable.

Then, suddenly, I had a breakthrough. I don't know exactly what caused it, but one day I finished Chapter 6 and I didn't stop. I haven't stopped. I'm now about halfway done with Chapter 16, and I'm feeling good about things. So, yeah. This unexpected semester off from school is a blessing. Maybe I'll actually finish this draft by Spring.

That about wraps up the last couple months of my life. How have yours been? Productive? Are you staying warm in this horrible winter?

If not, here's a teaser picture from my vacation. Nothing like a little Italian sunshine to warm you right up!


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Time Flies When You're...Doing Nothing

It has occurred to me that I have terrible time-management skills. I should be able to get much more done than I do, and yet here I am, a mountain of homework to finish, a To-Be-Read list that is taking over my office, a novel I haven't touched in months, and a blog that is coated in cobwebs and feeling neglected. Not to mention the laundry that needs folding, the floors that need sweeping and mopping, the dishes that need washing, the hair that needs dying and the waistline that needs trimming.

So, what am I doing with all my time? Aside from the full-time job, I have no idea. A lot of Facebook and Candy Crush, for starters. Throw in some staring into space, watching random TV shows, and multiple trips to the kitchen for snacks, and that about sums up every single time I sit down at my computer to get something done. Every free moment I have is filled with good intentions. "I've got an hour before I have to leave for work. I should write the rest of this chapter," or "An entire afternoon to myself? Time to catch up on that homework!"

And yet, all those hours slip away with nothing to show for them.

Part of the problem is, I can't seem to focus on one thing for longer than ten minutes before I move onto Facebook or the kitchen. I blame the Internet for that. It seems I am always, always distracted by All The Things!

What is a girl to do?

Buckle down and get shit done, that's what.

It has become clear to me that I need to sit down and budget out my time each week. I need to figure out the best way to be productive with that time. I need to suddenly become an uber-organized person.

That's like asking for a miracle, eh?

How about you? How to you stay motivated and focused? Do you have any time management tips? If so, I'm all ears!


Balancing Act

Summer semester starts in just over two weeks and I'm just now starting to get back into the swing of things, regarding my writing. I've finally jumped back into my story from the beginning. I'm keeping notes as I read, jotting down things I think I could change, ways to fix overall issues, etc. I'm getting excited again.

I'm a little bummed that it's taken me so long. After all, once Summer semester starts, I may not have enough free time to continue work on my novel. Then again, I'm only taking two classes this time -- I learned my lesson last year. I will never take four classes over the summer again. But I start training for a promotion at work in a week or two, so there's extra work and studying time.

I often wonder if I'm crazy to pursue this dream of writing. It's become clear over the last year or so that it's damn near impossible for me to balance life and writing. My writing has suffered because of school. As much as I love my story and characters, I had a really hard time jumping back into it when I had free time. It scares me, the idea of giving up writing because of everything else going on. Writing is my first love. It's my dream. My passion. I can't live without it. When I'm not writing, I'm thinking about writing. When I'm not writing, I'm feeling guilty. When I'm not writing, I'm feeling sad. Words have gotten me through a lot in my life and I feel like I owe it to myself to hold onto them.

But I've got to finish school. I've got to work. I've got to be a grown up.

I want a full life with a good job, a house, kids. The whole shebang. But I'm worried about how I will have all that AND my dream.

Dreams are tricky little buggers, aren't they?

So, for all of you out there who are managing to balance life and writing, whether you're going to school like me, or already have your home and family and job, how do you do it? Any advice? Words of encouragement? I'm dying to know!

Tipping the Scale


Three days into October and I still haven't decided. I can't seem to make up my mind. I've got one foot planted firmly on each side of the fence. It starts in less than a month. I should be planning already.

If you're lost, I'm talking about NaNoWriMo. I'm torn right down the middle about whether or not I will participate this year. The last two years were easy decisions. Of course I'd do it. Why wouldn't I? It's the best thing since sliced bread! Or the Internet. Or whatever super awesome thing you couldn't live without.

This year, though...oh, boy. I've got a full plate. And so I've resorted to making a Pros and Cons list. Here goes nothing:

Pros:
1. I'd have a ton of words on a new project to work with when Projects One and Two are finished.

2. 50k in 30 days is fantastic practice at just letting go and writing. And isn't that practice we all need?

3. The sense of community from fellow NaNo-ers is unbelievable. Writers, in general, are an amazing group of people. But NaNo-ers? SO great!

4. I'd get a free proof copy for completing the 50k. And, let's face it, holding a hard copy of your book in your hands is one heck of a motivator.

5. Well, NaNo is just FUN.

Cons:

1. I've got a full course load, including a math class I HAVE to pass. And math and I don't get along, so it'll take extra work.

2. I'm also working between 20 and 30 hours a week.

3. I've got a lack of fresh ideas. There are a couple old ones I can dig up and brush off, though.

4. Preparation for the winter holidays. Baking for Thanksgiving, Christmas shopping -- Black Friday, in particular -- random holiday parties that may crop up.

5. Two projects are in various stages of revisions. Shouldn't I work on one of those instead?

Oh, and I'm not putting this one in the Cons list because I'm so darn excited about it that it could never be a Con, but I've also got the LeAnn Rimes concert in mid-November, which will involve driving two hours to Detroit then staying overnight.

So, there you have it. My Pros and Cons list. Neck and neck. Of course. And, here, I thought it would help!

What do you think? Do either of these lists outweigh the other in terms of importance? Am I just over thinking it? Would YOU participate if you were me?


Hey There, Sunshine!

So it's Monday morning. The sun is shining (finally!) and birds are chirping. Spring just may have sprung. But this is Michigan, so I'm not holding my breath!

Today marks the last week of Spring semester for me. I've got one last final on Thursday and then I'm done. For three weeks, anyway. I've decided that, since I'm not getting many hours at work due to construction (damn you, construction!), I'd go to school full-time. So I'm taking 4 classes over the summer. I'm sort of nervous about it. I don't want to overload myself. But I'm sure I'm just being paranoid. It happens.

Anyhoo. This is my plan. After Thursday, I'm free for three weeks, aside from 20-30 hours of work. So, this is what's going to happen. Yes, GOING to HAPPEN.

I.

Am.

Going.

To.

Finish.

My.

Damn.

Book.

After months of not even glancing at it, I'm going to write the final few chapters of the book I started last November for NaNoWriMo. And maybe I'll be able to squeeze an edit or two in there somewhere. We'll see. For now, I just want to type The End.

Also, I've gone on a shopping spree lately. In the last month and a half, I have purchased almost 30 books, between online (thank you, half.com) and the used book sale in the basement of my local library (holy crap, there were tons of books!). And I haven't found the time to read any of them. In fact, I've had my friend's copy of Jennifer Weiner's new book sitting on my night stand for at least two months. Now, I love me some Jennifer Weiner, so the fact that I haven't devoured that book yet says a lot.

But I'm hoping to make my way through at least five books over the next few weeks. We'll see how that goes...

Anyway, it IS Monday, and I haven't shared a song with you in quite a while, so here we go. This is one of my favorite songs right now. Hope you enjoy!



Spring Break for the Boring

So I'm officially on Spring Break! Woo!

Not that I have any big plans or anything. I won't be jetting off to Cancun anytime soon (sadly). No, I'll be staying here, in frigid ole Michigan, and working five days next week.

And I still have to finish reading The Odyssey and do some homework.

And, fingers crossed, I'll get to finish up my WiP. Three chapters to go!

So, it's not really a break, I guess.

Whatever, I'm still stoked.

Anyway, remember my Mac vs PC post? I appreciated all of your input, and a decision has been made. Instead of splurging on a beautiful piece of machinery (that I wanted REALLY bad), I decided to spend significantly less money and get a cute little netbook. My reasoning behind this -- I'm a hopeless romantic. I need to hold onto that reward of a Mac when I get published. It's a pretty great incentive, don't you think? Plus, my new netbook is pink!

In other news, The Literary Lab has released their anthology. It's got some pieces from really great writers, including the magical Genie of the Nutshell. Check it out. I'm ordering my copy right now!

Monday Mixtape - Getting Pumped

Ahhh!

So, I go back to school tomorrow. I haven't been in school for so long (somewhere around 5 years) and I'm super nervous! I'm only taking two classes to kind of ease myself back in. And I'm still trying to figure out what the heck I want to major in. But it's a start. A very exciting, nerve-wracking start.

I've been trying to figure out how to balance school and work and writing. I've been having a hard enough time balancing work and writing and now I'm adding something else in there. I think the key is going to be scheduling. I need to be organized. It'll be tricky since I've never been a very organized person. Fingers crossed, though!

This week's Mixtape is upbeat and fun. These are a few songs I listen to when I need to get pumped:

Grace Potter & the Nocturnals - Paris (Ooh La La)


Pink - Raise Your Glass


Katy Perry - Firework


And my current obsession: Bruno Mars - Grenade


Hope these songs pump you guys up this lovely Monday morning. I'm off to write a few hundred words before work!