Wednesday, February 6, 2013

School is Drowning me in Papers!

I've been trying to split my time between writing new scenes for "Soulbound" and studying for my exams next week. To be honest, I find my attention rapidly diminishing, no matter what I try to do. I think it's the intensive studying (outside of school [so on a normal schedule], I try to read a few hours every day, write, draw, and work the rest of the time); Monday night, I studied for 9 hours, which I think was overkill. I didn't study last night (except doing homework), and tonight, I am really struggling to stay focused. If I didn't have ear drums, I think my brain would drool out of my ears. Lovely image, I know.

I digress...

In time, I will study and finish my physics, as it's still fairly early here (20 until 7). I also have an hour after work to study tomorrow, then tomorrow night, I have only a little bit of homework, as I have tried to stay ahead of all of my classes. Just because I'm only taking three doesn't mean that the work load is any lighter...admittedly, I sure am glad I dropped my fourth class. I haven't done this much homework and studying since freshman year for my first degree, which was four years ago. Overall, I enjoy the challenge that physics and calculus have presented to me (keep in mind that I'm a very literary-minded individual, as are many writers and readers [and others]), and that doesn't make it any easier.

As far as "Soulbound" goes, I'm supposed to be editing and had hoped I would be done by the end of this month [February], but I've fallen very far behind in the editing due to studying and homework, which is a constant in my life. I'd like to find some way to make more hours in a day, as would many people, I'm sure, but there just aren't enough. So, I ask here, does anyone have good advice for how to split time, stay up late, wake up fairly early, and still maintain (or even increase) productivity? What did you do in college? As a writer (or whatever you are)? Right now I am focused on drinking Red Bull (the sugar free one) every morning, but that is an expensive habit, and as some may know, we writers are often short on cash. Yes, I have coffee, but it makes me have to, well, use the bathroom more than Red Bull does, so it's hard to chug coffee, then sit through lecture. I don't like being late and I hate leaving in the middle of class for any reason (it often distracts the professor and other students). So, any help would be greatly appreciated.

I am considering using Dragon Naturally Speaking (of which I have a copy) to transcribe my hand-written scribbles from during the day to my computer at night, then going over it to change names and correct spellings, etc. I feel it might save me some time, and maybe I could multi-task.

The children's series, as well as the other manuscripts of mine, have been put on temporary hold...and I say "temporary" only because I know for a fact that they will get done--just in a matter of time vs. homework! I may be bad and give up Friday night as far as sleeping in order to do a mass-edit and mass-transcribing. Unfortunately (or VERY fortunately), my boyfriend comes back into town that night after being away for two weeks, and he leaves again Monday (or Sunday night), so is unlikely to want to share me with the computer much. Hmmm... Sounds like a physics--I mean, TIME problem! I swear, if humans could figure out how to make time stretch (other than by being bored), we'd be unstoppable!

And I leave you on that note. Happy Wednesday!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Back to College

No, I didn't "not finish" my first degree. I actually graduated two years ago from my local university with a degree in English Literature. For a while, I worked in publishing, starting as an intern with local publishing houses and moving on until I became the Editorial Lead of Novel Publicity. For a while, the jobs were great, and I really enjoyed what I did. Then came the nagging sensation, the tugging of something on the edge of my mind; I knew I wasn't making enough money to live on my own, but I tried it anyway, and that was when the nagging became yelling. Over the few months of living on my own, I learned first-hand that there was no possible way I could continue to be an editor for Novel Publicity AND make rent each month.

For the last few years, I've been considering going back to school for another degree, and a few months ago (let's say six), I met an amazing young man who changed my life. My boyfriend talked with me and listened when I told him about my concerns, my dreams, and my goals. He and I worked on his STI together near the beginning of our relationship, and that sealed things between us. I've never met someone quite like him; a man who does not judge me, but will listen while I talk, and then give me feedback and support his arguments or his agreements without treating me like I'm stupid.

While we worked on the car was when we grew closest quickest. He noticed that I was not happy with my income, and though I enjoyed what I did, he urged me to seek other opportunities. Then, he pointed out how much I had enjoyed working on the STI with him. Next came a few months of us periodically discussing my potential degrees and whether or not returning to school was for me. The degrees we narrowed my potential education to were Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. I'll be the first to admit that I wasn't sure EE was for me--some days, I'm still not (though I'm only 3 weeks in, so that could still be true). But he and I have a common goal, something that makes me fight every day to make sure I do whatever I have to in order to succeed, and that's having kids. Yes, this point is very far off, but it's something I've always wanted, and I want my kids to have a similar lifestyle to mine growing up.

Next, I examined my childhood and noted right away one thing--both of my parents are engineers. My father is a software engineer and my mother is an optical engineer. Both my sister and I grew up VERY comfortably. Coincidence? I think not. Ergo, the brilliant choice of going back for an EE degree. Great choice, right? And it doesn't stop there.

From the moment I decided to go back, friends and family alike told me they didn't think EE was for me. Now, I'm like a lot of other strong-willed people, and when someone tells me I can't do something or won't enjoy it, their words just make me more determined to succeed. When people show doubt in me is when I shine brightest, and so far, I've done okay. To be honest, I cried the first night I came back, because I have not done math or physics in almost seven years, and had no idea what the professors had talked about in lecture. I'd done nothing but English and literary theory since my second semester of college, but knowing I had a dream, that I have my boyfriend's support, and where I want to go and what I want to do keeps me driven to do my best.

To be honest, I still want to be a full-time writer, and I always will, however, one of my favorite Indie authors, Jessica McHugh,has shown me (without actually showing me, it must be said) that I can go back to school for something I may not love whole-heartedly and write on the side. Thus, my new lifestyle. I still write, though I study as much as I can; after all, college is not cheap, and I need to get a job in order to pay off loans, etc.

And so my adventure begins... I plan to update this story every week or so, and between will try to do weekly updates of my novel, as that's what this blog was originally created for. As of now, though, I have exams in two weeks and must go study! And remember, if you have a dream, there's more than one way to accomplish it...and more than one person who will support you, even when others don't believe you can make it ;)