Category Archives: Graduate School

How the personal affects the professional

We’ve all seen it. That point in your life where suddenly everything is happening at once. And that’s kind of where I am right now.Graduate school is still in full swing, work is going well at 20 hours a week.  I’m married, but we’re having a ceremony so all the family can come down. As if that wasn’t enough, I’ve got the personal/professional goal of finishing several short stories, and starting to edit my completed novel. Somewhere, something has to give. Either that, or I need to invent a time machine, so I can go back and relive several days so that I can complete everything that needs to be done. Oh, and taxes need to be finished too. Sigh.

While I am more confident in my schooling, I still have five more classes to go before I graduate. Since my GA position pays for 2 classes a semester, that makes three more semesters after this one is over. Oh, and my GA expires at the end of the year. Time to start looking for a job in the real world.

I’m told that planning a wedding should be fun. I don’t even have a budget yet. But I do have a date, and  a theme. Medieval. Full regalia. On the plus side, that could actually lower the cost of the wedding dress. But we definitely are looking at this thing from two sides. I’m practical, and cheap. He wants something grand and memorable. I wouldn’t mind grand and memorable, if I won the lottery and could afford it. The average cost of a wedding these days: $27,000! That’s more than twice what I make in a year (minus the tuition waiver). I’m constantly thinking of ways to cut costs, and he’s constantly thinking about ways to make an impression.

Since May of last year, I’ve lost 30 pounds. Not too shabby for someone who never seems to find time for exercise. I do try to walk (and by the way: I did make it to Rivendell last year, just one day before my deadline). After talking with one of my best friends, who looks amazing after losing 50 pounds in far less time, I realized the secret is movement. I’ve sort have always know that. But she rides her bike 3 miles 3 times a week. And has lost 50 pounds since October. Looks like I know something else I’m adding to my to do list.

With that on my plate, I’m not sure how I’m going to find time to write, although I have been writing. Google docs is my best friend. I can write from anywhere there’s a computer and internet access…which means…just about anywhere. I did finish one short story, but haven’t had the time to edit it yet. Or the much bigger project of editing my novel. And that great idea I swear I had, still have it. But I haven’t started it. Sigh. I know that if I want to make it as a writer, I need to make time to write. And I do. Just not nearly as much as I’d like.

Sometimes, when my personal life gets too full, I feel my writing slipping. And when push comes to shove, the writing falls completely by the wayside. I don’t want that. Something has to  give. But does it really? The more I think about everything that’s going on right now, the more I feel like I’m drowning. Maybe things will get better if I don’t think about it. Maybe, if I take a few calming breaths, I’ll realize that things are not nearly as crazy as they seem. And maybe I’ll actually get everything done, while keeping my “me” time, staying sane, keeping up my grades, losing weight, planning a wedding and keeping up with my writing. It’s possible I’m sure. I know some awesome women who have full-time jobs, are going to grad school and have children at home as well. With that in mind, it must be possible to do everything I am trying to do.

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Filed under Graduate School, The Writing Life

Reviving the barely living blog.

West Hall, Valdosta State University

West Hall, Valdosta State University (Photo credit: jadjadjad)

In a couple more months it will have been almost a year since I have written a blog. In the interim, however, not all of my writing has gone half so wrong. And much has happened, although not all of it is of note.  But before I get into everything else, allow me to apologize for my absence. I had to sink myself wholly into my graduate studies, and if I didn’t I may not have continued. I seem to be slightly obsessive compulsive when it comes to doing one thing. I can do that one thing fully and completely, but then everything else falls by the wayside. While it may not be o/c, this is not the first time I’ve noticed this tendency in myself. I hope that when I have a full-time librarianship, and hopefully more time, it means I’ll throw myself into my writing with abandon.

And here’s the important news, I’m just about half-way through my graduate studies. When I first started in the MLIS program, I had no idea what APA, let alone how to use it. I’d never taken a fully online class. And to be honest, I felt like I was drowning. I’m quite afraid if I hadn’t given up everything, for a little while at least, I was going to fail. I very nearly did barely scraping the two “B”s that I needed to continue my studies. Since then, my grades have gotten better. I can at least understand APA, even if I am still wrestling with how to arrange my time in fully online classes.

As things with my online classes have gotten better, my writing has improved. I have a new best friend: Google Drive. Yep. I save almost everything in Google now. From ideas, to bits of inspiration, to excerpts from stories, and full short stories. The only thing not on there, my novels. Google Drive is the most accessible, travel-ready storage in the universe beyond the human brain. And for some reason, my brain can’t always keep what I “write” in my head especially when I’m awake. Gradually, as I’ve become more accustomed to my studies, new home (almost one year here), and job, I’ve been able to “find” more time for writing. Something for which I’ve been grateful as life without writing is a drag.

But it also seems that my interest has shifted from fantasy towards speculative and science fiction. My husband says I’ve been watching too many movies, he made that comment an hour ago when I told him of my dream that I had to write down before I forgot. But the most recent movie I’ve seen in the theater is Les Miserables, and the most recent at home is Brave. In fact, I haven’t watched a science fiction movie since…I’m not really sure as I don’t watch many movies anymore. Even my TV watching is more geared toward fantasy and/or contemporary fiction rather than science fiction (Once Upon A Time, Monk, and a few oldies that I grew up with thanks to Netflix).

I now have a new project. Thanks to my acid dreams that I’ve come to welcome as inspiration. My most recent short stories have all been inspired by dreams. I have one complete short story, roughly 5K words, that was started at the end of January. I finished it a few days ago is about humans becoming the abducting aliens causing terror among other beings. That was quite fun to write. But now that I have wasted enough time babbling to everyone who will listen, perhaps I will spend my next hour or so before sunrise to start hashing out last night’s dream into a real story.

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Filed under Graduate School, The Writing Life, Writing

First of March Update: Walking to Rivendell

I honestly didn’t intend this to turn into a fitness blog with updates of my Walking to Rivendell challenge. But on the first of March, I’d like to say how happy I am that (drum-roll please) I met my quota! Woohoo! For the first time I met my quota for averaging 1.4 miles a day. Which means instead of having to average 1.5 miles this month, I can still shoot for 1.4 miles.

My work and school are also both going very well. I’m getting A’s in both my classes, and am thoroughly enjoying my work. I’m currently in charge of a preserving a collection of slides from the 40s and 50s. The database I inherited was in terrible condition, but I’m ironing it out and working on it with enthusiasm.

And for more good news, my fiance and I have decided to buy a house. While this is just one more thing to do, we have both started looking with enthusiasm. We have found a couple of houses that are “possibilities” but almost all the houses down here need at some work, and that is making us a little hesitant.

On the down side, I haven’t been nearly as happy as I could be, and it’s my own fault. I haven’t taken the time, as I should, to be writing for pleasure. In fact, I haven’t written anything since the beginning of February.  And I haven’t found the time to edit my novel either. It seems to me that something has got to give, sooner or later, and I’m looking forward to summer, when work will be slower, which might give me a little more time to do everything I need to and still have time to do the things I want to.

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Filed under Exercise, Graduate School, Writing

Graduate School,the Writing Life and my Biggest Fear

Last Friday and Saturday, I underwent orientation for the MLIS program at the local university. During this time I realized that my life as a writer would have to be put on hold a bit, as well as my blogging. But I’m not giving up completely. The majority of the classes are online, giving me ample time to also blog. However, due to the workload, and my work in the Archives, and looking for a second part-time job, and volunteering at the local public library, my time will be greatly reduced, therefore, I’m cutting my hours back to one post a week. I believe I can manage that and my workload. I promise not to let anyone down. There will be some exceptions, updates to the Rivendell challenge will be posted on the first of each month.

My Letter Writing Series will pick up next week on Monday.

But back to graduate school. Sometimes, a person has to determine what is more important in their life, doing the one thing they love and perhaps forgoing the money that would come with something else, and being with the one they love, whose desire for material safety has held back their life together thus far. I have chosen the latter. During a rare moment into his private workings, my fiance let me know what his greatest fear was. And it wasn’t heights. His greatest fear is being poor, and being unable to pay bills, and struggling financially. I should have been able to guess, but I suppose I let my feeling cloud my judgement. I do not fear being poor, living on well fare if I have to. I now realize why he was so encouraging in my dalliance with MLIS. It can come with a steady paycheck.

Do you want to my biggest fear? Well, I’m going to tell you anyway. It’s being unhappy. It’s having to go in for a 9-5 job that I hate. It’s flipping burgers. I’d rather be poor and enjoy my work, i.e. writing, than rich and be miserable in all that I do. That’s why I bounced from one major to another to another in my college career. If I couldn’t be happy studying it, how could I find a job that I would like in that field? I am not giving up on writing, but I am giving up a career in writing before it’s even begun, because even if I had a job that I loved if I didn’t have my fiance I would still be miserable. I once believed that he was supportive of my writing, but I have seen now that I was wrong. His only encouragement is what will make us more money. MLIS, then, is a compromise. I like libraries almost as much I like writing, and it has the paycheck that he looks for.

So all that’s left is to win the lottery and never have to work again, right? That way, I can do whatever I please. But I should probably have a back-up plan in case that doesn’t work.

I promise that my next post will be far more upbeat, as I have reread this post I found it kind of…depressing. But perhaps it’s only my mindset since I’m sort of feeling disappointed right now. Still, graduate school is going well so far, and my job in the archives is far from the strenuous work of a restaurant, and I even get to work with rare books, and hang death shrouds, and order little freshmen around. So it’s not all bad, in fact, the ordering freshmen around is quite the picker upper.

Until next time then.

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Filed under Graduate School, The Writing Life, Writing