Wax Poetic: Note-Taking

writing tools

A quick pic of my favorite writing tools!

Why do I write?

Because there is something soothing about writing – even if it is just scribbling notes in my notebook.

If I can write down what is in my head, it relieves some of the anxiety attached to those items.  Writing down things I have to do relieves me of some of the pressure, because it makes them more concrete and more easily conquered.  It helps me sleep, because there is not the worry of forgetting.  I know they can be accomplished when they are put into words instead of a jumble of thoughts in my head.  Writing down story ideas or character information or world details pulls them from my brain to ease the worry of losing them to the swirl of mangled thoughts.

This past weekend, I spent a lot of time thinking through a decision – a very important decision – and it turned out to be writing it out in several different ways that helped me decide.  Even writing and rewriting the same thing several times helped.  I wrote it out in pros and cons.  I wrote it out in free writing.  I wrote it out in a to-do list.  I rewrote when my notes got too messy.

Finally, about midnight on Saturday night, all this writing led to a decision and a wonderful feeling of accomplishment and relaxation.  And I slept great.

I have decided I am only going back to school part time for the fall, so I can stay full time at work.

So for fall, I am just taking Tech Writing II and the online class about the short story and novel.

Part of my decision was based on how heavy a load of homework I knew I was looking at originally.  I had myself scheduled for 14 credit hours.  Writing and reading and two classes on building webpages.  Plus balancing work.  Even with 6 credit hours, I know these two classes are going to be a lot of reading and writing.

The other part of my decision came from knowing how much progress I have made at work since going full time and much progress I still want to make.  I have a lot of projects I want to finish, and I think the fall is the best time to work on them.

It was even more relieving to find out my decision was the one my boss really wanted, even though he would not have said so.  I imagine he thought it would be irresponsible for him to steer me in any direction that was not school.

But that’s just it – I’m not quitting.  In fact, I love going to school.  I would be happy staying in school until I’m 70 if I could keep finding classes to take.  I could finish the number of credits I need between fall and winter if not for the fact I can only take one Tech Writing class at a time.  Most of my electives are taken care of.  I am bottle-necked by my main class.  I am currently filling in with classes for completely separate certificates that relate but are not part of my Tech Writing degree.

All of my classes are related to what I want to do and what I am doing at work.  My work makes my school possible.

So my ultimate goal is to make school and work continue to build off one another.  I believe focusing on accomplishing the rest of my work goals – which were hard to focus on during our busiest season during the summer – is the best course of action for me right now.

~ Effy

What are your fall goals?

So for now, I am staying full time at work, and my plan is to go back to full time school in the winter semester.

Fall Semester

School supplies

Okie, so I had the best intentions of doing some writing over the weekend, and having a post ready for Monday morning.  That got derailed by reorganizing the kitchen (long story).

So since I did not write a post over the weekend, I thought it might be a good idea to talk about school!

I know, I know.  It is June.

But I miss school.  Even this e-marketing certificate and the email course do not quite seem like enough.  Mostly because there is no incentive (ie. grades).  The e-marketing classes are interesting and all, but there is no homework.  I just show up and pay attention.

BTW, I only have two more classes until I have my certificate!  Yay!

But what I wanted to write was a brief post about my classes for the Fall semester.  I already have my classes all situated.  And I think I am in for a tough semester – 4 classes and 14 credit hours.

Monday Night

  • Technical Writing II

Tuesday/Thursday

  • Web User Experience I
  • Intro to Interface Design

Online

  • Intro Lit: The Short Story and the Novel

It is great.  I have my next Tech Writing class, two web classes, and a literature class.  Woohoo!  I could not make any Graphic Design classes fit into my schedule this semester, so I decided to take the Lit class.  Reading and talking about the parts of a story?  Yes please!

So anyway.  That is all from me for now.  I have been working on filling in some gaps in my story world.  I have been having fun with old maps and old notebooks.  Between that and some of the ideas I have been working on lately, I have been doodling and scribbling notes everywhere.  I hope to put them to some good use here very soon.  I already have some ideas of how to do so.  🙂

~ Effy

Where is Effy?

Sunset

School is out, and it is my summer vacation.  But instead of having more time, it seems I have less.

I went full time at work the week after school let out, which means I am just starting my third week as full time.  A few weeks before, my work companion whom I have job-shared and worked with since starting at my job put in her notice.  Her last day came far too quickly – the week before my semester ended.  So now, I am full time and doing everything we both used to do, trying to train her replacement, trying to keep my boss and the guys in the warehouse organized, trying to finish projects, and trying to keep up with our busy season.

I am so stressed out.

In my infinite wisdom, I decided to work on an e-Marketing certificate over the summer.  I told myself several times to take the summer off, but I did not listen.  Most of these evening classes are just one night and have no homework or grading system – I pretty much just have to show up.  But between being stressed at work and having long days that do not end until 9pm when I have one of these classes, I basically come home and shut down.  Accomplishing anything at home has been… difficult, because my ambition is nil and my energy ranks in the negative.

I am so tired.

A huge glutton for punishment, that is what I am.

I have a huge list of things I need to accomplish.  My blog, and writing in general, sit very high on that list – I have an extensive list of posts I WANT to make.  I have a number of projects at work that are important, but being in our busy season and already working 40 hours per week makes them nearly impossible right now.  I have some personal goals as well, particularly to do with learning to better use social media (both personally and professionally), learning WordPress more in-depth, and some random writing goals I have.

I really, really need to get back to writing early in the morning.  It felt so good to do that – and be writing regularly.

Add this all to the fact that I have once more expanded the scope of my school goals…  Meaning, I am already working on an Associate’s degree in Technical Communication, and I am also working on a certificate in Web Design as my minor.  Now I am working on this e-Marketing certificate.  And I want to add to all of that a certificate in Graphic Design.

It just makes sense to me…  Technical writing, web design, graphic design, and e-marketing all work together coherently in my mind and I am using all of them to some degree in my current position.  Not to mention, I want to use them MORE in my current position – that is the ultimate goal of both my boss and myself.

I think I just want to go to school for the rest of my life.  Partly because I still do not know what I want to be when I grow up.  🙂

Right now, my goal is to pull myself out of my current funk and get myself motivated again.  I think to accomplish that, though, I need to get myself to a happier, more stable point at work.  Otherwise, I am just going to keep coming home, plopping down with my laptop, and staring at the screen or playing Hearthstone until I numbly shuffle off to bed.

One thing I have accomplished is updating my blog’s theme (again).  I like the responsive nature of this theme – meaning it looks good on the web, on a tablet, or a smartphone.  (Thank you, Web Coding classes, for teaching me about responsive design.)  But the only reason I have updated it is because one of my e-Marketing classes is focused on WordPress.  So since I was sitting there, ahead of everyone else because my blog already exists and is live, I was able to fiddle with some settings.

I have realized one thing about myself in regards to my blog… I need to stop committing myself to long periods of posting.  I did well for a while with the #AltAppreciation but I fell behind and could not bring myself to blog for weeks because I felt so guilty.  Then, I did well with the #WoW30 Challenge but once more I fell behind.  I tried to catch up, but finally got so far behind I could not look at my blog.

Finally, more than halfway through May, I am making this post.  It has been an effort of will, more effort than it should have been.  My goal is consistency, but I need to reach that consistency by my own means, not by forcing myself into a schedule.  I think the consistency needs to come in my writing, not so much in my posting.  If I write more, then more posts will inevitably follow.  It cannot work the other way around.

So that is an update on me.

~ Effy

Getting the Creativity Flowing

InkyGirlComic

I finished my first week of school!

I already gave my first speech in my communications class and I have decided that taking Creative Writing II was the best school decision I could have ever made.  😀

My writing teacher, Jas (pronounced “jazz”) Obrecht, is fascinating.  My Tech Writing adviser had already told me some about him when I told her the classes I was taking.  So I was already aware of the fact that he spent many years writing for Guitar Player and interviewing a number of famous rock and blues guitarists.  He has a number of them on his personal blog: http://jasobrecht.com/ and he told us the story of his first interview, which also happened to be the first interview Eddie Van Halen ever gave: http://www.guitarplayer.com/article/flashback-eddie-van-halens-first-interview/152258.

Among the stories told and introductions given, Jas explained that our first order of business would be the Haiku and 6-Word Memoirs.  He professed that less is more.  Strip your words down to the essentials.  Verbs are key.  He told us these two forms of expressing ourselves would illustrate his point.

So I am trying my hand at a few of each…

Haiku

HaikuDotCom

A Haiku is a Japanese poem with a specific format.  Three lines.  Five syllables, then seven syllables, then five syllables.  5-7-5.  Because of the limited nature of Haiku, they make you choose your wording carefully and state your point in a more succinct and sometimes abstract manner.

Soft, intelligent
Brown eyes.  I am a sucker
For my puppy dog.

Azure skin and horns,
Extraterrestrial being,
Draenei means exile.

Orange, red, gold, and brown.
Leaves cascading, falling down.
Beautiful autumn.

6-Word Memoir

Oprah6Words

The 6-Word Memoir is something that has been going around for sometime now, but surprisingly I have never tried writing one.  There are a number on Oprah’s website that we reviewed in class.  Though we can tell our life story in thousands of words, telling it in only 6 can be a refreshing change.  It can make us view things in a different way.  It can make us say things in a different way.

Live for writing.  Write for life.

Awaiting the muse is writing’s punchline.

WoW, there is more than gaming.

And now, a Poll…

In closing, I wanted to post a poll.  Jas said we can bring in some of our previous work for review in class.  I created a list of my shorter pieces, because 1) I will need a copy for each of my classmates and 2) we will have to read it in class.  So unfortunately, this leaves out some of my favorite pieces, simply because they are too long for my current purposes.

If you want to read them before choosing (either for the first time or again), here are the links:

  1. Regrets
  2. Tiny Dreamer
  3. A Reunion of Sorts
  4. In the Shadow, In the Light
  5. Bounty Hunter
  6. Beginning in the Middle
  7. Hunting the Hunters
  8. Aspect of Warning
  9. Daybreak
  10. Moonlight

Please let me know your thoughts!  Or share your own Haiku or 6-Word Memoir.  Also, feel free to include short story “write-ins” in the comments, if you prefer.  Maybe I can take in a longer piece at a later date.

~ Effy

School Daze – Update

Scool Daze Update - Supplies

Tomorrow…  OMGOMGOMG…  Tomorrow is my first day of school!  I feel like I am starting high school all over again or something.  (But oh god, I hope not.  I do not miss high school.)

My schedule changed unexpectedly last week.  My Creative Writing II class got cancelled, and I could not find a way to fit it back into my schedule on a different day.  At first, I thought maybe it was a sign that I should stick to just three classes, and not overdo it.  Then, I got the letter of approval on my financial aid – I got approved for enough to cover 12 credits and all my books, with a little leftover for gas.  I figured I would be crazy not to take full advantage of it, so I scrambled desperately to find that one more class that would fit around work and raiding.

As it turned out, the only class that worked was Tech Writing I, on Wednesday nights.  On one hand, it is the main progression of classes I need for my degree.  On the other hand, Wednesdays are a raid night!  😦

It was a very tough decision for me.  I love my guild.  I love raiding.  But I think this class is the right decision.  A full schedule is the right decision.  This is something I need to do for me.

I had a conversion with my GM, and he agreed this is a good reason to miss raids, but quickly followed that up with, “This is only for a few months, right?”  Yes, definitely.  I should have more time to prepare and adjust my schedule for the winter term.  And hopefully there will be no more last minute cancellations…

I will still be raiding the other two nights each week.  But still, missing raids is going to be tough.  😦

So all said and done, here is my updated schedule:

Tuesday

  • 9am – Intro to Psychology
  • 3:30pm – Composition II

Wednesday

  • 6:30pm – Technical Writing I

Saturday

  • 9am – Web Coding I

Tomorrow should be quite the whirlwind.  I have an appointment with my counselor at 1pm.  So it will be to Hartland to Brighton to home (hopefully) to the other side of Brighton.  😛  But that will only happen every 3-4 weeks.  So not too big a deal.

I did splurge on some school supplies.  A girl needs notebooks and folders and pens!  (Oh my!)  On that note, I leave you with a tiny clip from Weird Al’s movie UHF…

~ Effy

Wax Poetic: School Daze

School Daze

So, I did it.  I went all the way.  I am officially a full time student, and my first class is a week from Monday!  😀  Now, I just have to wait and hope and pray fervently to… someone/something… that some weird curve ball does not get thrown my way regarding financial aid.

Four classes… two of them writing classes…

  • Monday night: Creative Writing II
  • Tuesday morning: Intro to Psychology
  • Tuesday afternoon: Composition II
  • Saturday morning: Web Coding I

That is a lot of writing.  I imagine that means I may have to post some of my school work to keep up here.  😉

It was tough scheduling around work and raiding, but I did.  I even kept most of my classes local, so I only have to drive down to Ann Arbor on Saturday mornings, and that is a more compressed class – longer class, less days.

Sorry this post is so short, but I am two seconds from dancing away and out the door and down the stairs and around the block.

~ Effy

Academic Effy

Academic Effy

It feels like so very much is going on lately.  So much that I lament the fact I have been seriously and knowingly neglecting my blog.  The crazy part is, most of all this stuff going on is largely in my own thoughts, fully internal – both attempting to cheer myself forward and trying to not second guess myself.  I have so many half-conceived ideas and stories bouncing around in my head, but it seems my concerns and regrets are stifling their fruition.  To quiet my chaotic mind, I have been reading a great deal.  It does not quiet it all however, as so often, fiction mirrors reality…

The largest thought consuming me currently is the internal fight between what I want and what I need.

It saddens me that these two items so often seem conflicting.

I feel selfish in many of my actions of late.  The only thing that keeps me plodding forward is a constant reminder to myself that I have to make me happy first.  This is a very difficult thing for me, as I am forever trying to make everyone else happy.  For the happiness of those I care about in turn makes me happy, as well.  But so often it seems I just cannot give enough.  Therein lies the despair.

A former boss of mine was always praising my work and my work ethic, but was constantly reminding me that sometimes you just have to say, “No.”  As an Administrative Assistant, it logically feels my job is foremost to say “Yes” – to make things happen.  Therefore “No” is a very difficult word for me.  However, in trying to please everyone, and trying to say “Yes” all of the time, I sometimes get myself to a point of frustration and exhaustion.

In this regard, I am no different in work or online or personal life.

Working toward making myself happy, seemingly at the exclusion of putting others high in my priorities, seems so selfish and even counterproductive.

I made a very difficult decision about a week ago, one centered around me.  I am still not entirely sure whether it was the right decision.  I regret that it makes me feel supremely selfish in many ways.  It was after a heavy weighing of many factors, and not just factors now, but factors I felt were most logically ahead of me as well – factors revolving around both my current and future happiness.

As someone who fights often with anxiety and self-esteem and depression, I feel I have been making very real strides in managing these things over the past six or so months, with the help of my counselor.  They are strides in which I absolutely cannot allow myself to backslide.  And lately, I have felt on the very precipice of exactly that.

I cannot allow myself to fall back into the habits that led me down that road.

It is all so confusing, though.  Love is about thinking of others, rather than yourself.  Where then is the tipping point between putting others first and completely neglecting yourself?

Since I cannot seem to find this balance in my life currently, I have decided it is time to focus on me.

The biggest thing I felt I could do for myself is to go back to school.

It is an idea I have been grappling with for literally 14 years.

I started attending college straight out of high school.  I had no solid idea of what direction I wanted to go with it, so I took a little bit of everything – some art, some graphic design, some HTML, a lot of writing.

Writing has always been my passion, yet something that seemed illogical as a career.  The idea of being a novelist and making a living as such is mostly fantastic, and probably only matched by working towards being a professional musician or athlete.  My only other real interests that could possibly translate to a career were drawing, dabbling in cars, the internet, and helping other people.  Drawing and even image editing are something I enjoy doing for myself, but never really seemed what I wanted to do every day for the rest of my life.  I like working on my car, though, living in apartments and other places without any real means to work on mine has dissolved into me hardly changing my own oil anymore.  And I was never really keen on working on other people’s cars, though, I did work in a shop a few times over my sporadic, wide-ranged work life.  I enjoy video games (obviously) and the internet, but I hardly have the mind for long-term programming of any sort.  A line of HTML here or there is enough for me.  For the latter parts of high school, I really wanted to be a psychologist.  I still think being a counselor would be fantastic, but I doubt myself in that regard because of my own emotional hurdles.

College for me lasted for two semesters.  About that time, my 1979 Buick LeSabre gave up the ghost and I was scrambling to get to work, let alone school.  So I quit school, and from there forward I got caught up in working, taking care of my current guy, and trying to find a place for myself in the world without going completely broke.

The one good thing that came out of some of my poorer life choices that eventually landed me in Florida, was becoming an Executive Assistant.  It was my first time ever working in an office setting.  In fact, my boss was quite floored to find out my job previous had been changing oil.  heh  But I came to realize that organizing and helping others was not only something I enjoyed, but something I was really good at.

Do I want to be an Admin all my life? people sometimes ask me.  Maybe.  I really do not know.  I am one of those type of people who gets comfortable in a routine and am happy there.  Being an Admin is comfortable, and has just enough variety that I do not feel stuck in a rut, so to say.  Yet, it does not challenge me in all of the ways I know I can excel.  I dabble in many different things as an Admin – a veritable Jack of all Trades – and am self-taught in most of it.

One of the things that has popped up for me to dabble in is Tech Writing.

I job shadowed a Tech Writer for about a year.  I really enjoy it (despite the fact that my brother thinks it sounds horribly boring – and this from a programmer!).  It is writing, first and foremost.  It also allows for me to be particular and perfect my work.  I am a constant editor.  I will edit something (like this blog post, for example) dozens of times as I write it, and even once or twice when it is done.  (And then, if I do not publish/submit the piece immediately, I will just keep editing.  This is part of what keeps me hitting the Publish button on my blog!  So that I leave things alone!)  Another big thing about work place writing in particular is tone – being professional. being concise, explaining something without sounding condescending, but still explaining it well enough that someone does not still have unanswered questions when they finish.

As silly as it may sound, I enjoy crafting work emails for just these reasons – whether to a colleague or a customer or a boss or even to a group.

But, I keep asking myself, is Tech Writing what I want to do for the rest of my life?  I dunno.  Is being an Admin what I want to do for the rest of my life?

In all honesty, I still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up.

But I think going back to school, for me, is going to be a great first step in finally answering that question.

~ Effy