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Archive for October, 2012

Attempts to Blog More

October 31, 2012 2 comments

I don’t write enough in my journal and I don’t post enough on my blog, so I have decided to try combining the two…. I wrote this last night in my journal:
Juggling Life with a Job:

When I graduated, I looked forward to finally being able to have time to read, to write, to live. But, really, I have found myself in the same mess as I was in while at college: work consumes most of my time and when I am not working, I am too tired to do much except sit/lie around.

It’s not a good excuse. There is time to do the things I like. I’m just too tired to do them…too unmotivated. I would rather sit and think (an important activity for any introvert) than do much else.

On weekends, I try to be social, but then I lose valuable time I could use for reading and writing. I feel guilty toward The Brothers Karamazov because it has been a long time reading it. It is a great book: engaging, well-written/translated, entertaining….and yet, I haven’t completed it. I feel guilty that it is taking so long to get through the book.

My biggest issue, perhaps, is that I am not on a good, concrete schedule. I like schedules; they keep me organized. The fact that I do not have specific times to read, write, research, etc. likely contributes to the trouble I am having. On the other hand, a schedule takes the spontaneity out of life, and, as a young woman, I would like to allow myself to be more free than I have been otherwise.

Although I disliked my previous job, it did allow me to read more often, because, well, I had nothing else to do there. Now, I actually have work to do. All day. Which is not bad, but it drains me.

If I do what I am doing tonight at least three times a week, I can have a more active blog and a more active mind. On top of that, if I allow myself some time to read – dedicated reading time – I won’t feel guilty and my books won’t glare at me from my bookshelf.

This is more than a post-graduation issue. It’s something I believe all full-time workers grapple with. It’s all about time management now (it always has been, even before) and I just need to adjust and figure out what that means now.

Better to try something than allow my job to consume me.

Happy blogging! Happy living. 🙂

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Taking My Grip Off My Story

October 20, 2012 1 comment

I’m taking a break from my confusing quarter life crisis to actually focus on a few things that will never change: my love of writing, my love of thinking, and my love of reading.

I worked on and finished a story this summer, a story which I had my brother read, I submitted to Asimov’s, had rejected from Asimov’s, and re-submitted elsewhere.

After the Asimov’s rejection, I was sad, but not deterred. What I actually began to consider was perhaps I didn’t polish it enough.

Let me explain. I feel good about this story… better than I’ve felt about any other story. BUT, I also rushed the end (a bad tendency of mine). I revised the end on the advise of my brother.

So, I got to thinking, maybe I need to let other people see this dingus. Therefore, I went ahead and asked my boyfriend and my friend to read it.

If you are a secretive writer like I am, then you understand how BIG of a deal this is. It is huge. I am allowing two other people to look at this story. People who are close to me (I’m better at letting strangers into my world than I am at letting the closest people in my life in on my writing world).

So, my friend has more time on his hands than my boyfriend and he read it.

“The idea was good. The writing was good. But, the ending was rushed and some of the dialogue could use some work.”

This was helpful in that I have always suspected/somewhat known that dialogue and endings are my weakness. I’ve tried to work on these things, but now I know I need to work on them even more.

“There’s a lot you can do with it,” he said. “I think you can really do something amazing with it if you expand on everything.”

Writers love hearing this. It’s much more exciting than hearing, “Well, you really could use a little trimming.”

So, I started thinking back to my numerous creative writing classes and I recalled, on a number of occasions, being told that one or another of my short stories could use more expanding on: as in, it should be longer.

A new thought has taken hold of my brain: what if I shouldn’t be writing short stories, but I should be working toward novelettes, novellas, novels? I have certainly read many more of these types than I have read short stories. And, I certainly understand the pacing of a longer tale than I do of a shorter one.

I took the grip off my story and released it to other people and now I think it’s helping me more than ever to form my writing identity. I just need to give it more time.

 

A Career vs. a Job

October 11, 2012 2 comments

A friend of mine is still in college and recently she told me that she thought she was having a quarter life crisis.

Before I asked her to explain, I thought about myself and wondered if I too was having somewhat of a quarter life crisis. I asked her what she meant. She explained that she had changed her major yet again (she’s done this a few times) and she remarked “I don’t even know why [I changed my major].” Then she said, “I don’t even have a life plan anymore.”

I relate to that. I feel like I’m spinning and can’t quite see where to go or what direction to move in. I asked her if she had seen her college adviser. After all, plenty of college students go through similar confusions. She told me she had, but that those advisers had not been reassuring: “They pretty much say a degree is a degree, but I really want a career, not just a job.”

This statement hit me quite hard because it’s something I’ve grappled with since graduating. Before I graduated, I heard the exact same tune from advisers and other mature figures: “It isn’t about what degree  you get, it’s about getting a degree. Employers aren’t looking for specific degrees, just that you can communicate well, think critically, etc….”

Again, I wonder why our society is so degree-focused. It’s good for those who just want a job, but as my friend suggested, for those of us who want something more, getting a degree is serious business….Figuring out what we want to do with our lives isn’t simple and when we ask for help, we don’t want such meaningless answers like “well, a degree is a degree after all.”

I feel like I’m going crazy. I made the decision to move into this new job, which has worked out well. Things are going well. But, I am not satisfied with my life. More and more often lately, I’ve been really grappling with what I want to do. I want a career, but what career do I want. I want to do something, but I can’t think of what that something is. I guess I have been hit with a serious post-graduation crisis (the crisis all my professors warned me of).

They told me most students have it before graduation (maybe like my friend) and then they end up staying in college longer, going to grad school to prolong their entrance into the real world.

I made my choice not to do that. And here I am. I don’t regret not going to grad school right out of the gate – my pocket wouldn’t have been happy with that, anyway. I’m happy that I left a terrible job for a lower paying job.

Something is missing, however.

I am young. I am free. Really, I think I need to explore life more and do things that I wouldn’t have been able to do if I were in grad school right now. I just need to figure out what those things are.

Onward, as always.

P.S. Asimov’s rejected my short story submission, but I am emboldened by the fact that is lasted so long in “under review” status, so I promptly submitted elsewhere.

In the “Under Review” Queue

October 2, 2012 3 comments

I’ve mentioned in a couple of previous posts that I had been working on a story, a story that I submitted 7-8 weeks ago to a science fiction magazine (am I allowed to say the name without completely jinxing myself? I will probably jinx things with this post, so why not? I submitted to Asimov’s).

I aimed high for my first submission with this story. I have only ever thrown around two other stories, both of which were rejected by multiple magazines. Needless to say, they are sitting on the sidelines at the moment (kind of). Anyway, I mentioned in another post that I kept going back and forth between feeling anxious and not feeling anxious.

This particular story felt different to me when I completed it. I actually felt confident about it: a miracle, because I am hardly ever confident about anything I write (including blog posts, essays, to do lists).

Okay, I will stop explaining things. Here’s why I wanted to write this post: my story went into “under review” a week ago. This is a first for me in that, the other two times with Asimov’s, my story moved from “under review” to “closed” in a day…also known as rejected. I don’t like reading into things, even though I am an over-thinker, but I won’t lie…the first couple days that my story was under review, I was wondering, “What could this mean?”

I’m less concerned now. At least, that’s what I tell myself. I am trying to ride this wave and not think too much about “what it means”, but think more about when I might hear something about the story (rejection or otherwise).

Do I think it will be rejected? I don’t know. Do I think it will be accepted? I don’t know.

I honestly have no idea what to think about it. All I know is that I feel confident about the story, I feel confident about the prose and the plot, and I feel confident that it can find a home somewhere.

Here’s to continued inspiration and continued writing no matter the outcome!