Posted in Education, Food, studying, University, Writing

Another Day in the Library

First things first, my last post was officially my 100th post! Woo hoo! I think I’m happy with it, or maybe I believed I’d posted more. Anyway, here’s to another hundred.

Monday was the recommencement of the Monday study sessions in town. My Italian class starts back next week, so I used this time to haul my laptop and notebooks with me to work on my Creative Writing assessment. It was a fairly early start (for me) and I was in the library for 12pm and a giant coffee to get things started. Unfortunately, for the first few hours we had to make do with a drafty round table, but later we got using a booth (not the usual one, but good enough). I’m a bit like Rory needing her study tree, I’m a creature of habit!

The second-best booth

I’m terrible for procrastinating, even when something is right in front of me to be done. I also put it down to being more of an evening, nighttime worker but needs must and since being ill my sleeping pattern has improved somewhat. But I had my checklists and tried not to overdo the pressure with the tasks I wanted to complete yesterday. In the end wrote 1700 words for my assessment which is sufficient as the bones of a first draft, it’s not due until the end of January but I can’t leave it because who knows what is around the corner.

Checklists, planners and laptop

The great thing about this library is that it is much warmer than the one in Aberdeen. Granted I felt chilly at points throughout the day, but most of that was to do with the draft from the door way and my brain wanting to curl up and go back to bed.

My plan now is to rework the draft into something I can share to the forums for feedback (I missed the workshop deadline – didn’t have anything to submit), then I have to start worrying about the commentary. It’s a horrible exercise of only 500 words which I apparently still don’t have the hang of. I ought to message my tutor for help, but what can she tell me that hasn’t already been shared in our groups online?

I need to remember more study snacks for the next library session, I had some food, but there’s nothing dairy-free or vegan as options at the coffee shop or canteen as a snack and the vending machines were empty too. You might recognise me on the next trip though, I’ll be the bag-lady laden down with laptop and books and a tote-bag full of food.

e x

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Posted in Goals, Musings, Writing

Summer Blues

This is the first year in a long time that I’ve started the summer without much of a change in routine – because I’m no longer in full-time education. At school and uni there is the stress of the impending exams and the hibernation period building up to it, but studying part-time and working part-time means submitting the final assessment and back to work. Perhaps it feels anti-climactic because I wasn’t under so much stress that I didn’t get the wave of relief when it was lifted.

Regardless, with me being me, I’d already set up a plan of Summer Study in order to catch up/get ahead of the second year of work after they released the assessment requirements for next year. It’s what I do, and it’s exciting that I am able to plan ahead and buy myself more time to work on the assignments, but I had to admit that I was burnt out. In academia, it’s too easy to keep pushing through tiredness, bad-moods, and pain, and often we commend ourselves for the all-nighters and the lack of decent meals in place of study snacks – but it’s neither healthy or sustainable! So we need to have a break. For me, that happily meant taking on extra shifts at work and throwing myself into my new responsibilities in my role – admitting and being aware that I am capable of doing the job, and wouldn’t have been given the chance if I hadn’t had the potential to do well.

I’ve been tired, but a good tired. An earned tiredness. To fall into a dreamless sleep and get up the next morning to do it all over again – and it’s this practice that builds experience. Thanks to that, and living at home, I’ve been eating less but better food – actual meals – and being on my feet and often walking home from work means that I’ve been losing weight and building muscle. I may not have time to always go to the gym, but even when I had all the time in the world I often didn’t have the motivation to go – now it’s part of what I do.

In my downtime the last few weeks, I’ve been trying to finish Assassin’s Creed Origins. I got it upon its release last October as an early birthday present, but then fell away from it for a few months as I juggled working and studying. However, at E3 it was announced that the next AC game would be released this October (AC Odyssey) and set in Ancient Greece, as a chance to see the era from the Greek point-of-view to contrast Origins Egyptian POV. Well what can I say? It’s pulling all my nerdy interests together in one package, my inner classics and archaeology nerds are glomping my video gaming nerd in thanks as I hover over the pre-order button on PSN! I’m excited, in case you can’t tell. Plus, finally you are able to play as a female assassin from start to finish without affecting the gameplay. I’ve loved all the characters since the beginning of the franchise but I’m glad they’ve finally given up on the ‘female characters are too difficult to render’ thing.

I usually get a bit blue around the holidays, probably had too much chill time and I’m in desperate need of structure and projects! Speaking of which, I’ve been blocking and plotting out a revamp of an old book I started when I was 15. It’s YA, topical, set in Glasgow but set in a high school which I haven’t attended for 12 years and most of my original draft featured things about livejournal, msn messenger, and people buying CDs from shops.

I’m late to the Camp Nano game this month but I’m hoping to draft some of the first book for this new series over July but I’ll probably need to update my high school knowledge, anyone willing to help me with this? (Must have attended high school within the last 3 years).

This should be fun.

e x

Posted in University, work, Writing

Tumbleweed

I know things have been quite here for a few weeks, but everything all hit at once; the final assessment for uni, getting ill, birthdays, and working.

Everything has been going well though, I spent little pockets of free time in May to work on my assessment so I didn’t have to rush much at the last minute ( just the commentary, which is horrendous) and I managed to get some last minute feedback on my chapters which was stellar and just a few typos. I’m feeling good about it! Just have to wait until the 17th of July to get my overall results for this first year, so I’m waiting until then to apply for second year. Also still waiting on SAAS because this year they decided to confuse themselves and not properly read my application before halting it… and an eleven minute conversation (six minutes on hold) only got me as far as sending a query to SAAS which they promised to get back to me about within 28 days -_-

I caught another stomach bug (4th in a year!) and was laid up for a few days while still trying to pull off mum’s birthday – I managed it and I’ve survived but honestly the whole weekend is something of a blur. But mum loved all the presents I gave her and how I decorated the living room with balloons and banners and made such a fuss over her. Great treat for a 60th… even if no one else believes her age!

In other news, now that uni has finished until October I’m using the summer to catch up for second year. We’ve been given the reading list that will be used so I have time to work my way through it (some books I’ve already read) and the tutor also gave us an assessment break-down for the year. There will be six assessments and the End of Module assessment of 15,000 words. I used and developed a novel throughout this year which will be book 1 of my novel series. However, as I jumped around a lot with chapters and sections for the assessments, my plan is to use the summer to finish book 1 and to start book 2 for my assessments for year 2. PLAN! So far, I’ve not had a lot of time to work on book 1 so my collated word count at the moment is just shy of 10k words, need to times that by 8 to get my expected word count. Then, I’ll be self-publishing though KDP and onward and upward!

Better get back to writing now, tight schedule!

e x

Posted in Musings, Writing

Swamped

Hello dear readers,

It’s been a crazy busy month. I feel like I’ve barely just gotten my last assessment out of the way and already the next one is due in a couple of weeks. There’s so much to prepare for it, not just the text itself, but the idea and knowing that I will have to do several edits (I hate editing) while trying to bring in concepts that we’ve studied over this block and maintaining an organic development to the chapter. There’s also the commentary where I explain how the idea germinated and developed, what I’ve learned and included from this block into the work and additional readings I’ve been inspired by to help this work.  There is also marks allocated to feedback I’ve given on other people’s work, so that’s what’s been taking up my time just now. The Workshop is a great idea in principle, but I’m concerned that for my one piece of writing I submit for feedback I have to give feedback on three other pieces of work. I’ve still plenty of time to get it in, but I’ve already been on it for a few days. I’m pretty sure I know what I’m doing for it now, but it’s intense giving such serious critique of someone else’s work.

Aside from that I’ve been working pretty much non-stop (yay!) and I’m now a permanent staff member so loads of pressure has been taken off, don’t need to go back to job hunting again. I’m in a good routine with work, I know what I’m doing, the staff seem to like me well enough and I’ve taken on extra hours and shifts where I could.

It’s all working out well for me now, I’m finding a balance but trying to improve everyday to carve out more time for reading, extra reading, and writing for more than just my course. I have a busy day ahead tomorrow with studying, hoping to catch up on everything tomorrow and get a draft of the TMA done as well. I’m trying to get back to blogging more regularly as well, the last few weeks have honestly just flown by in a flash I can’t believe it’s the middle of March already!

Anyway, back to work!

e x

Posted in Education, elearning, Musings, University, work, Writing

Balance

If there’s one thing I’ve never been great at it’s balance. Not just in the literal sense of standing on one foot but in terms of what I’m doing in my life, e.g. work or uni, and what I’m juggling with secondary interests and socialising/relaxing.

Especially within the last few weeks this has become my aim to work on achieving a better balance despite working full-time and travelling around ten hours a week to-and-fro. One of my most important challenges has been to prepare enough new and original content for this blog, and as an exercise in discipline to flex my writing muscles even when I’ve little time or inspiration.

Very soon I’ll be starting my new Masters degree, which I’m really excited about but also slightly anxious about being prepared and inspired even if I’m drained from work. I know what I’m getting back into having just finished full-time uni; deadlines, stressing over grades, never feeling I’ve done enough, etc, but I’m planning to plan better and work on my biggest hurdle: TIME MANAGEMENT! This has never been my friend, ever, but I know now more than ever that I need to work on it so I have time to review, revise, and edit drafts efficiently, prior to submitting, so that I can be certain I’ve handed in my best work.

I’m pretty certain I’ll naturally be more inspired to submit creative writing pieces rather than essays. No matter how much I love to write, I’ve never quite gotten the essay writing process down! All lecturers wanted a different style, format, or I really struggled to grasp what they actually wanted me to submit. I did always try to find a hook or an angle to trick myself into being interested in essay topics (apart from classics courses, no tricks were ever needed), but my resounding feeling during honours years was that nothing I wrote was ever good enough.

This course will be different. I’ve been writing since I was 2. Yes, two! Since I could hold a pen I would scribble on paper or forms, (the wall occasionally) and feel exactly the same as Scout Finch, that writing is as natural as breathing. It’s no more spectacular than the respiratory system but is as absolutely critical to life as air.

In the evenings I don’t really have much chill time but I’m starting to get used to my routine and have been able to better utilise what time I do have. I’ve signed up to a few MOOC’s on Coursera, Edx, and OpenLearn which are all free to study and follow but with the option to pay a small fee for an official certificate/qualification. I’ll post soon about the courses I’m doing with some early thoughts and feedback.

There’s also my massive TBR pile, which I’ll get to at some point and review my recent reads.

As a final thought for tonight, I know it is important to take one day at a time, but it is also just as important to make plans and time for the things you really want to do during your free time, so you don’t end up sitting dejected on a Sunday night remembering all the things you wanted to do! (Too many times!)

My schedule changes by an hour next week for a few weeks but I’m going to create a full rotating schedule of activities to slot in around work…

… just keep swimming!

e x

P.S. I’ve added a new Photography page, which I’m planning on adding much more to soon, have a looksie!