Friday, March 13, 2009

Taking a break

In May of 2007 I graduated from a county high school in a class of less than 50 students and moved across the state for college.
In September of 2007, I took my first fiction workshop course. A week later, I was a marketing major/creative writing minor.
In January of 2008 I started working as a financial aid counselor in a high school guidance office. I quit on a Friday in April and on Tuesday morning at 6am, I landed in Zurich, Switzerland. It was my first time to leave the country and my first time to travel without my family. I spent a little more than three weeks in four countries on a creative writing trip and wrote my first two poems, both of which were unrescuably awful.
I returned in May of 2008 and dealt with a lot of emotional drama.
In June of 2008, I started working at my neighborhood Drive-In.
In July of 2008, my previous employer offered me a better job. I quit fast-food and started telemarketing again as well as regular office work, 40+ hours a week.
In August of 2008 I moved back to school and started working as a literary publicist. The funding fell through and I did it all on my own dime, both myself and the author I represent mostly figuring everything out on our own, stumbling blindly.
In August of 2008 I also started writing a novel.
In August of 2008 I also formed a writer's organization and got it chartered through my school.
In December of 2008 I finished my horrible novel.
In December of 2008, I started telemarketing again on my winter break, 40+ hours a week, as well as continuing my publicity and marketing job.
In January of 2009, I was paid for the first time for doing my job. I also had more emotional drama and quit blogging.

From March 6th to March 13th I have done everything in my power to become a ghost. I have kept up with my RSS feed, I have maintained contact with my author's and taken care of pressing tasks, I have answered emails, I have organized spreadsheets and cleared out links, I have written creatively and professionally, I have read assigned material, I have even reviewed a friend's work. But all at the most minimum of requirements, or actually, at the maximum of my tolerance level.
Mostly, I have rested. I have slept during the day for the first time since...August? Maybe? I have tried to do only what has strengthened my body and my soul. I have put aside the to-do list and done what was wanted and what was needed.
I might have been better off in the future if I had knocked out more of that list. There's a very good possibility that I will collapse next week since an excess of scheduled events are aligning on top of my regular work.
However, I feel so comfortable and so rested and so content with myself, that I do not care that I never got around to reading my stack of books on religious psychology or started outlining my next novel. I have taken a true break for the first time in 15 months and it was worth it.

Tomorrow, the to-do list begins again. Tonight, I will again read until my eyes collapse and I drift to blissful sleep.

Monday, March 2, 2009


This is amazing! I would love to be there right now!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Looks like I'm not the only one who has problems with change...

Jennifer Weiner's post today is a pretty ridiculous and self-centered take on the economy. Maybe I'm just hypersensitive because Wednesdays are "World News with Charlie Gibson" days and we all know how warm and fuzzy you feel after watching the evening news.

The "C" word

CHANGE, not that other word you adults were thinking of...

Changes are needed, changes are unavoidable, changes are often beneficial in the long run and should be appreciated. But I am a stubborn, headstrong person who has a system for everything and generally resents change. I've had a lot of changes in my life recently and everything's a lot more uncertain now, and I'm having to adjust. Part of the changes I'm making is becoming more aware of myself and my surroundings. This is facilitating my creative nonfiction writing, but it's something that will be helpful when I return to fiction also.

But it still took my roommate's inability to sleep to the sound of my typing (I have 18 writing assignments due in the space of 8 days) as a catalyst.

Every day I have spent in this particular dorm complex (almost 2 academic years now) I have spent some amount of time typing on my laptop on my desk by the ethernet connection. When I was taking my novel workshop class, it was close to 3 hours a day. Every day. Same spot. I have spent time writing in other locations, but usually out of necessity, not by choice. The desk is in the most advantageous spot for research and minimal distractions. Because I share my bedroom, it is also one of three spaces I can truly claim as mine.

So yesterday I disconnected from the internet (gasp!) and went into the living room to write a press release. The simple change of venue from the lightless, silent bedroom, to the soft grey morning sun and wide couch made me feel much more open and eager to finish the project.

I did the same thing again this morning, so hopefully I don't turn one rut into another, but it was a simple test of mindfulness and an affirmation that not all change has to be fought.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Ironic that I would return to blogging by discussing a time-management program--rather than by finishing my post about time management.

Suffice it to say that I still haven't worked out how to schedule or even prioritize my time. However, Simpleology has helped me keep better track of it. While it hasn't delivered on the promise of doubling my efficiency, energy, and "power", it is the best task-tracker I've used.

The way it works is that once a day you do a "daily target praxis", resulting in a list of "targets" that you can check off as you complete them. The order of the list can be adjusted, but you cannot delete, edit, or reschedule an item until the next day. While this can be frustrating sometimes when you don't want the reminder of something you failed to do, it has also been a motivational factor for me and I've ended up completing a task I originally didn't think I would have time to do.

Simpleology also has a "dreamcatcher" option that lets you enter tasks as you remember them/they come up. Once entered, you can edit or delete them, or move them to your daily targets. All the leftover items in this "dreamcatcher" show up on the next day's "target praxis" for you to delete them, schedule them for the day, or move them to your "mental lockbox". The "lockbox" is my favorite feature, as you can create categories to arrange the things you need to get to, just not right now. I have mine arranged by deadline, and as the day gets closer I move them out of my "mental lockbox" into the "dreamcatcher" and then to my "daily targets".

My advice is not to use the "scheduling" feature, as it just tells you to enter those tasks into your Outlook calendar and then deletes them off your daily targets. While I keep a hard-copy calendar on me to refer to when I'm away from my computer, having multiple programs keeping track of my to-do list seems inefficient to me.

As always, there's no free lunch. Just as when using facebook you have to deal with the annoying ads on the sidepages that prolong loading time, so you have to deal with the ads for Simpleology 2, 3, 4, and a myraid other products by this guy. There is no obligation or fee to use the features I've described, and you are also privy to lengthy pdfs and daily emails of typical business-inspirationals. How effective these things are will vary between individual cases, but I found it all a load of bullshit. Either way, the basic software is useful and simple to use, and easy to integrate into your lifestyle. The rest is just fluff.

Friday, February 6, 2009

I am lost

I will never be able to leave the internet again...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I hate to join the legions of blog-givers-uppers out there, especially since today is that crucial two-week mark after New Year's. I certainly had higher hopes than for it to stop like this, but there are extenuating circumstances that were completely unexpected. My personal life is in a shambles right now and it's all I can do to keep my academic and professional life on track. Blogging requires a great deal of concentration and a strong support system to operate successfully and both are a little too shaky right now for me to justify my presence as a blogger.

So I bid you adieu for the time being as I straighten up this reshuffled deck but keep watch out of the corner of your eye--we'll see what turns up next.