Friday, November 30, 2012

Switching Gears in December

My co-worker, Jane's Girl Designs (go check out her blog, btw; it's a lot of fun whether you love crafting or not, she's quite sassy and always entertaining), introduced me to a photo challenge for December. Not that I need another month-long challenge, but I thought this one sounded fun, and even if I don't have my camera with me every day, I can use my phone to take photos.

I miss taking photos. I got quite good at it for awhile there, but I've gotten out of practice.

So, in December, I'm switching gears from writing to photography. It's a different part of the brain, but my writing side of the brain needs a break.

Besides, this is a great time of year to take photos. I'm excited about this.

I haven't decided if I'll post the pictures here or elsewhere, or if I'll do a post once a week or daily. Check back if you want to see how it's going. I'll at least link here if I do post them elsewhere.

Here's The Challenge List. Let me know if you decide to do it, too, and we can compare photos!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Nanowrimo and the Lottery

National Novel Writing Month is drawing to a close. As long as I manage to write 5,000 more words by midnight on Friday, I will put another win under my belt.

It was rough for awhile there, but I pulled through and I'm no longer worried I won't hit the finish line.

Time will tell if I ever actually finish the novel itself, though, or if it'll even be worth editing. I'll admit to being a little disappointed because my novel this year isn't the level of writing I know I am capable of. I know it's Nano so of course it's going to be a hot mess, but my novel last year was really pretty good. I worked a lot harder on it, I think. Plus I had written a novel right before it, as well, so I had gotten all the Nano slop out of my system.

I usually pride myself in writing better every year, so it does make me a little sad that I didn't meet that goal this time around.

In other news, the Powerball Lottery just hit its highest jackpot in history: over $550 million. Needless to say, like almost everyone else in the nation, I've bought myself some tickets.

I'm totally going to quit my job first thing tomorrow.

Hah. Not really. Even if I did win, I don't think I'd quit right away.

There are a few things I would do, though.

Well, very first I'd find a good lawyer and figure out logistics. Lump sum or annuity? Open a new bank account or use one I already have? Invest? If so, in what? Hire someone to invest for me? Who do you even trust to do that?

Second, I'd trade in my car for something I actually want to drive. Something that fits my needs better.

Third, I'd start looking for a house. A dream house. I'd probably buy out the rest of my current apartment lease and find something nicer to live in for awhile, until the right house comes along - a place closer to the Boyfriend's and preferably no shared walls.

Next, I'd take care of my family. Mostly, I'd try to settle up any debts they have. Give them a clean slate. For my nuclear family, I'd make sure they all had homes they loved and a good nest egg that they could either invest or spend as they saw fit.

After that, I'd arrange an extensive trip across Europe. I've been meaning to get over there for about a decade. I will finally have the time and the money to do it!

From there my ideas become a bit more abstract.

I think I'd get a part time job. Something fun and rewarding. I'd lose my mind if I didn't work at all, and as much as I like the idea of being a full time writer, I'm not ready to dive into that yet.

For awhile, I've been kicking around the idea of starting a small press to publish aspiring writers. With all of my submitting lately, I've learned a lot about them and discovered that they have an awesome - if not very glamorous life. Usually that kind of endeavor requires money and time to focus solely on that project. If I didn't have to worry about money, I could devote my time and cash to something like that. I wouldn't dive right into it - I have a lot more research to do on it and I'm not quite ready to be an editor full time yet - but it's something I'd like to do within the next ten years.

My most ambitious endeavor would be to dive into the world of business ownership. Call me insane, but I'd like to open a coffee shop. I know, there are about a thousand of them where I live already. But this one would be kind of a writer's retreat type deal. This month during Nano, it's been difficult to find places to sit for hours to write and drink coffee that has enough space for all of us and is opened all hours of the night. I'd love to buy/rent a great big building and fill it full of large, round tables and little clusters of comfortable couches and chairs, with lots of power outlets, maybe have a couple of meeting rooms people can reserve. And I'd serve coffee and snacks 24 hours a day. I'd probably have a small shop/gallery section dedicated to local authors/artists, too, and maybe a stage for local musicians. We do have a coffee shop kind of similar to this here in town, but they are pretty religious focused and there's not much seating for big groups. The hiring process for my baristas would be easy but selective: make me your favorite espresso drink. Those who make the best drinks get the job. And I'd pay them well for their art.

Because I could afford to if I won that much money.

Basically, I want to give back to the community that has supported me and my writing and coffee and book buying habits for the last ten years.

Anyways. This entry has gotten quite long. I apologize for updating so infrequently. Hopefully in the months to come I will have more time to dedicate to my writing career, and also this blog to document that dedication!

Thanks for reading. Hopefully talk to you soon.

Monday, November 5, 2012

What's This Life For?

I'm having a rough night/day/week/month/year.

This is a long, whiny post, so read at your own risk.

Over the years I have come to terms with the fact that I am not a very flexible person. When things don't go as I expected or I have to change my plans at the last minute, I tend to freak out more than is strictly necessary.

It's led to a lot of issues with stress, depression and anxiety throughout my life. I do various things to manage these three things, but lately, I've sort of lost my handle on them all.

I'm having a bit of an identity crises these days...and the boyfriend, while being incredibly supportive of everything that i do...doesn't really understand.

Not sure anyone else will, either, really, but I'm going to try to explain where I'm coming from and why, suddenly, tonight, I am ready to give up everything I've been working for these last few years.

Ever since I graduated from college, back in 2006, I've been jumping from admin support job to admin support job at the University, never staying in any one department for more than a couple of years, all the while thinking, planning, anticipating the "next big thing," whatever that might be, that would get me out of higher ed. I applied to grad schools, odd writing/editing jobs, and when all of that failed, for awhile thought I was going to pick up and move 3000 miles to do a certificate program in a field I thought I was well-suited for.

All the while trying to write novels, mind you. Crappy novels that will never see the light of day, and a couple of pathetic short stories that read like fan fiction.

I expected that someday, maybe in my mid 40s, I would write a semi-decent novel and make some money off of it - enough that I could write a few more novels and eventually quit my day job.

But I knew I'd probably keep some form of day job until retirement age.

I fixated on editing as that day job. And for that, I needed some education.

I finally gave up on moving to Seattle and settled for an online certificate program offered through UC Berkeley. One of the best online schools out there, I might add.

So there I was, August of this year, excited because I had two novels ready to be edited, several short stories out for submission and one had been accepted, and about to begin my education that would start me on the path to my dream job as a freelance editor.

And then it happened: the beginning of the end.

I knew almost right away that things were not going to go exactly as I had hoped. By the second assignment, I realized I do not have an aptitude for editing, and I basically hate grammar.

Not only do I hate it, but I'm also bad at it. Like, embarrassingly abysmal. We've had our first couple of sentence-level editing assignments, and I have barely passed. The slop I turned in for tonight's assignment is barely recognizable as English.

And here I thought I was supposed to be good with words.


So now, I'm not only doubting my ability fix a disaster of a sentence, I'm beginning to doubt my ability to craft a coherent sentence. My writing must be horrible. I have dangling modifiers and split infinitives and comma splice galore in my novels. I'm not even sure, even after almost three months of class, that I know what all of that means.

I've already had my doubts about my ability to make a career out of writing. You've all read my dubious posts about that. But now it seems as if I was wrong about my being well suited as an editor, as well.

And so I stand under a scorching stream of hot water in the shower and cry because I have no idea what to do with my life, and I'm buried beneath my feelings of being trapped at a dead end job as administrative support for higher ed for the next 26 years until I can retire.

It's hard to complain because I have a good, solid job that pays well. The people I work with are fine, for the most part. The work is boring but not difficult. I'm good at it. I get to help people, which I enjoy, so there's some job satisfaction.

It's just so mind-numbing most days and I'm so far from where I want to be in my life. By the end of a 40 hour work week, all I want to do is come home and sleep or zone out to the TV.

I know it could be so much worse. I have a job, when so many people don't. I can pay my bills. I'm saving for retirement. I can actually afford to further my education. Not only that, but I have an amazing group friends, a loving family, a phenomenal boyfriend, I'm healthy, I'm still fairly young, and I have a lot of potential to do a lot of different things and the time to do them if I'm so inclined.

So why do I feel so defeated? So completely miserable? Why can't I be happy with all of the amazing things I have in my life?

What am I supposed to do with myself? Especially when I feel this way?