Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Only Thing Holding Me Back...Is Me

I feel like I've been run over by a truck. I'm achy, moody, and as you can see, just a tad whiny.  And the freezing cold weather isn't helping.  Yesterday it was in the high 30s.  By the end of next week it's supposed to be in the 70s.  I wish the weather would make up it's darn mind!   It also doesn't help that I am starting to feel the pressure of the end of the semester along with some other things going on. I had what perhaps could be some good news on the hunt for a full time teaching position this week, but it would mean a major move, and a lot of change, if it works out.  But, like the title says, the only thing holding me back is me and frankly, I am sick of getting in my own way.  The end of the week finished on a less than fantastic note (completely unrelated to the job possibility) but as I look forward into this week, I just need to focus on the positive, glass half full, and all that. Progress is progress, even when it involves making tough choices.  Right?

One of the positives I am focusing on is the the Blog Me Maybe challenge that will be starting on Tuesday.  I mentioned this in my  Wednesday Check In and worked yesterday on my draft posts to get myself organized.  I managed to finish my draft posts, get a few more new ideas down, and will be working on another one this morning before I dive back into the world of academia for the day.  I have found a way to incorporate the Sunshine Award that Em gave me and the 7 Facts tag that Em and Lauren passed on to me into the blogfest too.  This is a total bonus since I really want to get those out and pass them on to some other writers and bloggers!

As for ROW80 and my goals, this week has been a mixed bag of results.

Writing:  Only got in about 2.0 hours but the time I got in was productive. I knew I had to work on scene arrangement (moving two, and adding two others) in the beginning of the WiP.  I was able to get that done which resulted in a decent word count as well.  I'm happy with where the story is, and where it's going, though the direction has changed slightly.  I had to make a few really tough choices about where these characters are headed which was tough.  I will talk more about this soon, but suffice it to say, this main character has me on an interesting ride.

Research:  My goal this round has been 6 hours a week on my research papers and I killed this one, finishing two of the 4 essays, getting 90% of the third one done, and finishing the research on the 4th one.  This week I will be trying to average about 3 hours a day to finish things up and study.  May 9th is going to be here before I know it.

Exercise: Epic Fail.  I worked out one measly day. So much for making up for last week's disaster!  I have got to get back on track here, I just don't know if I will be able to before next week  Between work, school and a busy weekend upcoming, time will be in short supply!

So to pull me out of my funk I'm going to listen to some upbeat rock music.  Sick Puppies oughta do the trick!  I love this song and considering the cross roads I find myself at, it's fitting.

Hope everyone's week went well and see you around the ROW!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

ROW80: Wednesday Check In

Boring title, I know, but my brain hurts and I couldn't think of a more interesting title than that. :(

Despite the sore brain, I have to say that this round of ROW80 has really been keeping me in line and on top of my to-do list.  I don't know if it's the fact that this round I simplified my goals or what, but I have been seriously productive these last few weeks, and I have the challenge and all my fellow ROW-ers to thank for it!  I couldn't do it without you guys cheering me on!

Writing: Not a word down unfortunately.  My work/homework schedule hasn't allowed me to participate in any of the afternoon word sprints so I have been unable to really set aside any time to get any work on the WiP done.  I am hoping this changes by the end of next week as I slowly get more and more items ticked off the to-do list for school.  *keeps fingers crossed*

Research/Writing Papers:  As I re-read my last post I realized I had said I only had two papers to do. In looking over my syllabus (or is it syllabi for plural?), I found out I miscounted. I have two long papers (one 10+ pages and another 16+) and two shorter essays.  So four total, though arguably the shorter essays are cake.  With that said, as of today, I have one down and three to go.  Well really, since each of those three are at various stages of development, less than that. I am finishing the revisions on the 10-pager as we speak and hope to have this done by tomorrow night.  This will be 4 whole days ahead of schedule-I could almost pass out from shock since I am never done that far in advance! For the second paper, I am done, but can't submit it until May 5th.  And the last paper (16+ pages) due May 9th is slowly coming together. Starting this weekend I will begin the outlining and drafting phase.  Basically, what all that means is that I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, finally!!!

Working Out:  I've found time to work in one workout.  Just two more workouts to squeeze in and I will have accomplished this task.  I've been sleeping a lot better too.  I think the working out and forcing myself to go to bed at a reasonable time has helped with that.

With everything going on I didn't get around to checking out many ROW-er's Sunday updates, but I am hoping to check around the ROW tonight and tomorrow to see how everyone has been doing.

On an unrelated note, I have decided that, for the month of May, to push me back into blogging regularly (since my draft folder is overflowing!), I will attempt the Blog Me Maybe...well, challenge I guess.  Though I don't know if that is the right word, since it's not really a challenge as much as a way to build up the habit of blogging.  Okay, now I'm just getting repetitive.  Click the link above and read the information there--Sara explains it much better than I do!!  But here is the blurb that caught my eye and had me raising my hand to join:

"The purpose: To get back in the habit of blogging by following a weekly schedule for the month of May. (Or if you already post regularly, to have an easy schedule to follow without having to struggle with deciding what to blog about.) (And if posting every day sounds like too much, or if you miss a few days, or only do a couple posts a week, who cares, yanno?)" (Sara McClung via Blog Me Maybe)

There is a posting schedule on the site as well which should give me some fun topics to write about, but what I love most is it's flexibility.  Anything that has built into it the 'it's okay to miss a day or two without feeling like a total loser and failure' clause makes me automatically want to join in. It's the reason I love ROW80 and have stuck with it since last summer. ROW80 gets that we have lives and sometimes we don't meet all our goals, but that we are all here to cheer each other on and help us get through the rough patches.  So I need a similar push with my non-update blog posts and this should do the trick, I hope!

Hope everyone's accomplishments this round are piling up and good luck the rest of the week!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

ROW80 Check In: Moving At A Million Miles An Hour

At least, that's how fast it feels like I've been moving.  Or maybe it's time moving fast and I'm standing still? All I know for sure is that this past week has been a whirlwind of work and homework and I am so glad it's over.  I don't think I actually had 5 minutes to just stop and think until Friday night and when I got those 5 minutes, I pretty much vegged out and stared at the television.  The upside of the craziness is that I slept great, though honestly I think I was so beyond tired that a train could have parked itself outside my window and I wouldn't have noticed. Here's how I did this week:

Writing:  I really didn't think I'd get in any writing at all this week, but somehow managed to get in 3 hours.  Talk about a total unexpected surprise.  Once things settle down I need to go through my WiP and see where I need to add some scenes.  I have the basic ideas/events/relationships down, but I know I have to fill in some gaps for things to be more organized.

Research/Writing Papers:  I am just about done with the first of three papers that I have to write for my classes.  This first one is a critical summary on The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles  I plan on doing another revision (or two) today, and a final one on Monday before I submit it on Tuesday.  The second paper, also due Tuesday, is a shorter essay and is already handwritten so I just need to type that tonight or tomorrow afternoon.  This will leave me with one more paper to finish (due May 9th) before I can leave this semester behind. I will be so happy when I am done with these classes. It has been a long, difficult couple of semesters and my brain needs a break.

Working Out:  Nothing.  My goal was to get in three work outs per week. Didn't happen.  There just aren't enough hours in the day and this week something had to give.  I will definitely be trying to make up for my lack of exercise this week though.

I still have posts to get up for the Sunshine Award and the 7 Facts Tag(s) (they are half done!) but I just have been so focused on this paper that everything else has been put on hold.  After Tuesday my life will be getting back to some semblance of normal, kind of, and at that point I should be able to get back on track with blogging, exercising and maybe even a bit more writing! And even better, I will be two steps closer to having the summer to focus on my writing and reading all these books I have stacked up around me and on the million post it notes at my desk. Hope everyone is doing well and good luck this week!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

ROW80 Check In: Is It Wednesday Already?!? Nooooooooo!!!!

I swear someone must have hit the fast forward button this week. I cannot believe Wednesday check in is already here!!  I just have a quick update as I am buried in the paper I am writing for one of my classes on John Fowles' The French Lieutenant's Woman.  Great book and the research is interesting, but I seriously should have picked something easier for my critical summary.   Anyways, here's my progress so far:

Writing:  I am two thirds of the way to my goal for the week. I've participated in two afternoon word sprints, well parts of them--45 mins on Monday and 30 minutes Tuesday, and then did some additional writing Tuesday to get to the two hour mark. The rest of the week is going to be full trying to get this paper done so I don't know if I will be able to sneak in another hour, but I will definitely try.

Research/Writing Papers: *hangs head in shame* Just...I don't even have an excuse for being as behind as I am. I need to get this done by Sunday. It's not due until Tuesday, but I need it done by Sunday so the rest of my homework can get done in time. I did get about 2 pages (okay, really a page and a half, but it's almost 2!) written last night, so that's a start I guess. I need to just buckle down.  Like seriously, someone needs to tie me to my chair and not let me move until I finish this.  Who wants to tie the knots so I can't get out?

In all seriousness though, I am thinking of using Lauren's formula which she tweeted to me yesterday: 1 hour of work on my paper, half hour for play.  If I do this today, Thursday, and Saturday, I can get my workouts in (or laundry, or maybe even a little writing in) during that 1/2 hour of play, while also getting some pages knocked out for this paper.  This might be a better idea than having me tied to the chair.  I will give it a test drive today, and keep the rope handy just in case.

Working out:  Zero out of three so far, but I am hoping to get to this later in the week.  Things should be settling down with work starting tomorrow afternoon, so that will leave me more time to workout (and get my paper written, ugh!)

I have not lifted a hand to read a book at all this week, which is driving me crazy because I have so much I want to read.  I also haven't decided on my blog post for the week as so far nothing in my draft folder is really inspiring me.  Although these aren't official ROW80 goals, I would like to get something posted by Saturday, but this will depend on how diligent I am with this paper.

How is everyone's week going?  Meeting your goals still or needing to adjust?  Good luck this week and oh yeah, I almost forgot!  It's the Stanley Cup Playoffs, so gotta give some love to the best team (in my opinion) in all of the world.  Let's go New York Rangers--we need to bring the Cup home!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Simplicity Seems to be Working-Sunday ROW80 Update

It's 3am and I can't sleep. I hate not being able to fall asleep.  The only good thing is that it's a weekend. Let's hope this doesn't happen later this week when I have a crazy work schedule!  So since there isn't much else to do at this hour, I will post my update now, instead of during breakfast.

Overall I think the week has gone pretty well, though I am hoping next week is a little less hectic. Having three goals, and keeping things simple at the beginning of this round, seems to be working quite well.  I have taken my schedule and mapped out my days as best I can to keep myself on track for the upcoming week and I am hoping I can stick to it, as best I can.  Also, though I have been largely absent from twitter this week (except for the day I was able to join the word sprint-yay for word sprints!), I did get a blog post out about Mumford & Sons.   Words can't explain how amazing they are, but I tried to do the best I could without totally drooling over the keyboard.  Check it out if you're interested, and as always, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the music!

As for my ROW80 goals, here is my progress thus far:

(1) Writing: I only was able to get in an hour this week, well a little over an hour really. But I knew this week would be difficult schedule wise so I am not going to beat myself up about it. I wrote 3 extra hours last week in anticipation of the craziness so am still ahead of the game.

(2) Research:  In progress. I did a bunch of this on Saturday and hopefully today can finish and start my outline. I also got the draft of a shorter essay I have to do completed which I will be finishing (and turning in) by Thursday--a full 5 days before it's due.  Truly a first for me!

(3) Working Out: The goal was three times and I got in four.  I am super excited I hit this goal, though my muscles are still getting used to the yoga and stretching exercises, and they are paying me back for it.  Should get easier as long as I keep it up!

Slowly but surely I am getting things done and at this point that is all I can do.  So as I keep on truckin' along, I will be heading around to see how fellow ROW-ers are doing.  Good luck this week and see you around the ROW!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

If You've Never Heard Mumford & Sons...Read On. Seriously, You Know You Want To...

So I haven't mentioned any inspiring music of late, but honestly, at the part I am at in my WiP, well frankly it is rather dark so the music is...a bit of a downer. Don't get me wrong, I love it because it it is inspiring the main character to do all sorts of crazy stuff as she spirals, but I guess I am not ready to go through that playlist just yet and pick out just one or two songs to share.  Soon I will, but until then...

For this week, I decided to go back to a song that I've listened to regularly for about a year now. Some of you may have heard of Mumford & Sons, if not, I highly recommend giving them a listen. In my opinion (for whatever that is worth) they are making some of the best music I've heard in a long, long time.  Much of their music references literary ideas/themes/etc, including but not limited to Shakespeare, The Odyssey and Plato's Allegory of the Cave.  I mean, seriously, whoever can make those kind of references in today's musical culture, well I give major props to the band for doing so and making it all sound so damn lovey! (It also blew my students away that such a "cool band" would sing about "old stuff like that".)  The title of their album, and one of the songs, Sigh No More, also has a supposed literary reference to it, but I will let you guys figure that one out! :)   Anyways, here is the song that inspired this post:

 "The Cave" by Mumford and Sons

If you like "The Cave", try out Winter Winds and Little Lion Man (accoustic version)--two other amazing songs by these guys.  And for all you nerds like me, below is a portion of the song that they wrote for the 2011 film adaptation for Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. It gives me the shivers.

Seriously, I cannot explain just how much I adore these guys.  I could listen to them all day, and often do!  Hope you guys enjoy the tunes!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Day Late for Wednesday's Check-In!

I had intended to post this update last night but by the time I got home from teaching more Hamlet to my unwilling students, I was beat.  In addition to trying to impart the wisdom of the Bard on my class, yesterday was also the first day at my new job as a writing tutor, which, by the way, I loved.  My tutoring hours have changed -again- but I am not too upset about that since it ends up being in my favor--now I will work Friday mornings instead Saturdays.  Yay for free weekends!  Needless to say, by the time I got home, my feet were killing me and I was as grumpy as a hungry zombie (and I was hungry I was basically a grumpy, hungry zombie).  I just couldn't find the energy to post. But, since late is better than never, here is my ROW80 update:

Writing:  Not one scratch of writing on my WIP has been done. Not one.  This saddens me since I haven't been able to participate in the afternoon word sprints with #teamsprinty but my schedule has just been too hectic of late.  I have carved out some time Saturday morning to get a few hours in, so long as there is no apocalypse between now and then.  And hopefully I can get back to doing two or three sprints a week beginning next week, though they may be research sprints instead of writing (see below for more explanation about that!).

Research:  Still not making much headway here with the two papers that are due, the first of which is April 24th.  I'm starting to get a bit panicky about this, but I have a plan that will involve finishing the research tonight and outlining/drafting between tomorrow and Tuesday. This should get me on track for having it done by the 22nd.  I would really love to hand this one in early so I can focus on the second one which will be due May 9th. (that one has a little over half of the research done at least and I have a general outline for it!).  I just need to stick to the plan and keep moving forward!

Working out:  I started back with yoga on Monday and Tuesday.  When I woke up yesterday morning my muscles were seriously pissed off and demanding a day of rest.  I gave them that yesterday (from yoga) but ended up walking about a half mile to the college I am working at since there was NO parking anywhere to be found.  So I got some unplanned walking in, albeit I was lugging all my bags and papers I needed to grade.  Today my back is screaming at me for lugging all the crap around yesterday.  I think I might do some stretching today (i.e. a light work out) and tomorrow, and then take the weekend off.  For some reason I am more motivated to work out during the week than on the weekend anyways. But at least, after today, I will have met my goal of 3 workouts a week!

I haven't had a chance to check out other ROW-ers' progress this week, but I hope to do that sometime today/tonight. I am adding a short term goal to my list, and that is cleaning up my draft blog posts.  I am getting a bit behind with blogging (non-update posts), yet I have a ton of drafts almost finished.  So I need to go through, sort, and finish the ones I have so I can get back on track and not get too far behind.  Hope everyone's week is going well and see you Sunday!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

ROW80--First Sunday Check-In for Round 2

The weeks seem to go by so fast...where does the time go?!  It's certainly has been a busy one and next week looks to be even busier, starting tomorrow with a 2 hr trip to (and from) the airport at 7am tomorrow to pick up my mother.  I also start a new job (part time) this week as a writing tutor at the college I am teaching classes at. It will last from now until the end of the semester in mid-May and my hours are going to be on Wednesdays and Saturdays.  I don't know what I was thinking, because my schedule is crammed full as it is, but I guess I just see this as one more way to get my foot in the door a little more than it already is, as well as more experience for the resume.  Anyways, enough about what will be my lack of a life for the next 6 weeks.  Here's my ROW80 progress:

(1) Write 3 hrs minimum a week: Done! Between a sprint and a half with #teamsprinty on twitter and a good chunk of time Saturday morning, I've written and edited for a total of 6 hrs.  I beat my goal by three hours, which is good since this week I'm unsure how much writing on the WiP I will be able to get in.

(2)  Research for 3 hours twice a week (for a total of 6): This hasn't happened. Well not the full 6 hours. I've hammered out some notes and such, but didn't get in as much researching as I wanted to. I did get my reading for my classes all caught up and after I post this I am off to finish the last assignment for the week.  It will be such a good feeling to be done with homework by noon.  Usually I am up until midnight on Sundays trying to get things done on time.

(3) Walk 3 times a week: I'm changing this to "exercise' three times a week, cause I want my yoga (which I am starting again next week) to count here too. I took one walk earlier in the week and being that dinner is going to be right down the street from me, I've decided I will be walking there and back.  So by the end of the day, I will have hit 2 out of 3 for this. Not too bad I guess!

Although I don't have a reading goal this round, I have made some progress on the book I've been trying to finish for what feels like forever. I've been having a hard time getting into which is why it's been such a challenge. But hopefully I will get through it soon so I can move on to something more my style.

Well, that's it for my progress thus far.  Hope everyone's week went well and good luck this upcoming! Happy Easter to those who celebrate!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Back in the ROW80 Groove-Wednesday Check-In

First check in is already here! Woot!!!  This week has been insane with work and homework but...I've got to say that so far, I am pretty happy with where I am goal wise.  I got more writing in that I expected and that always makes me a bit happier.  I've also got my schedule all neatly organized and am working my way through the pile of work on my desk which makes me squeal cause...well don't we all like a clean, neat desk free of files and work?  I know I do!  That evil pile tends to stare at me and give me the evil eye, so to banish the contents back inside the filing cabinet feels oh so good! Anyways, here is my progress so far:

Writing--my goal is to write three times a week for a minimum of 1 hour.  Tuesday I wrote for 2 hours total and made a nice dent in my WIP.

Research--I haven't tackled this goal quite yet--saving it for Friday and Saturday and maybe a little bit on Sunday. I did read two of the three chapters I have to for my Theories in Teaching Writing class which I am super excited about. Usually I am scrambling to get the reading done a few hours before the essay is due on Sunday.  Yay for not procrastinating!!

Walking--One down, two to go.  With the weather expected to be somewhat decent this weekend I think I will be able to meet this goal no problem.  *fingers crossed*

Now I am off to hopefully enjoy some of the last few hours of the #ROW80 party on twitter.  I've already been rockin out to some of my favorite 90's music with a few 80s classics thrown in!  Hope everyone's week is going well and see you Sunday!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Jumping In To ROW80, Round 2

The eleven days or so between the end of Round 1 for ROW80 and today, the start of Round 2, have been oddly quiet on my end. I had plans to work on some scenes in the WIP and get that out of the way, but...well I didn't.  Instead I used that time to re-evaluate and think about my goals and priorities both in the long term and short term.  This was necessary given what life has on tap for me the next 6 weeks or so.  Between my day job, papers due, finals on the way, book club and life in general, my plate will be fuller than I want it to be.  So with that in mind, I have decided that for this round simplicity is key.  Because of this, my goals will be substantially different than previous rounds. As I tick items off my to-do list and May 9th gets closer (which is the day my last paper and final for the semester are due!), I will hopefully have more time to devote to my WIPs but, until then, here are my goals:

(1)  Write a minimum of three times per week, for 1 hour. This is a small writing goal, and hopefully I can add more time to this as the round progresses.  But I know that I can't realistically promise myself more time than this without becoming frustrated and stomping around all snarly and grumpy.  My hope is that I can participate in the word sprints via twitter for some of this time since that really keeps me motivated and on-track when I do.

(2)  Research/work on drafts for the papers I have to write (for my classes) 2 days a week for a minimum of 3 hours on each of those days.  After May 9th this won't be an issue anymore, but I need to have this as a goal so that I can stay accountable with it. I have a bad habit of waiting til the last minute and then running around like a maniac trying to get things done. I am determined to NOT have that happen this time. With this schedule, I should be able to have both papers done in 3 weeks.  Hopefully....

(3)  Walk a minimum of three days a week.  I really love my walking time--I can just let my mind wander and not think of the work sitting on my desk or the laundry I have to do and whatnot.  If I can get in more than 3 days, I will, but at least a minimum will get my butt moving.  

I am not adding any social media or blogging goals at this time because I know that I will likely not meet whatever I might set for myself.  I will just keep up with what I've been doing best I can and adjust as my schedule allows.  I am also not adding a reading goal since, other than books I have to read for class, I doubt I will be getting much done. Though I really really really want to read book 1 of the Hunger Games and hope to find time to do that sooner rather than later!  

And with that, I am off to decide on a research question for paper number 1 which is on To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf.  Here is hoping some inspiration hits me! Good luck to everyone this Round and see you at check-ins!