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“Your best investment is in yourself”

The other day, Paul and I decided to head over to Chick-Fil-A for dinner because I was in a funk and didn’t feel much like cooking. I accidentally parked in the wrong parking lot, which belonged to Panda Express. Although we could easily have walked over to Chick-Fil-A, we decided to go to Panda Express instead since neither of us had ever been to one. The food looked yummy so we decided to give it a try. It kind of reminded me of the chinese places in The Stables in Camden, where there are loads of different dishes out and the attendant lets you try them if you like (Although in Camden, the people behind the counters have samples ready and call out to anyone passing by to try them).

Anyway, we had a few fortune cookies with our meal and the above title was the message in mine. Now, I’m not sure that this statement is always true but right now, for me, it is. I have a lot of free time right now and I find myself often wondering what to do with it. Then I end up doing fairly unconstructive things like playing Plants vs Zombies or a variety of Facebook apps (Hello Cityville) for ages. Not good. Then I find myself feeling depressed and blah because at the end of each day, I feel so dissatisfied with how much time I’ve been wasting. This week I finally gave myself a kick up the butt to do things that are more likely to benefit me. I’ve started going to the gym on our apartment complex more often. I’m writing stuff and reviewing work from my writers’ group. I baked cookies for a friend and Paul’s workmates the other day. I read books and analyze their structure to understand how to improve my own writing. I run errands so that Paul and I don’t spend our time together on the evenings and weekends doing all that boring stuff. In short, this week has shown a much improved outlook for me and the time I spent actively working to improve me has made a big difference. Now I just need to keep it up!

The funny thing about investing in yourself is that it gives you the appetite to do more. Hey I’ve been exercising; Maybe I should go visit all the job boards and apply for at least one job! Hey I’ve written the short story for my writing group and got it in on time; Maybe I should catch up on my jewelry design newsletters! I really do not know why I stop doing all those things. I feel worse and worse, the more I avoid doing constructive things. This week, I am facing the weekend feeling more optimistic about everything. When you invest in yourself, you know exactly how it pays off and sometimes, it leads to a bigger return than you expected.

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A recent creative writing exercise

As I’ve mentioned before, I recently joined a creative writing group here in Round Rock, Texas. So far it has been a great experience and I’ve been doing a lot more writing since I started attending the group. The book we use, Naming the World: And Other Exercises for the Creative Writer, has been a really useful tool. Most recently, I completed an exercise about perspective. I was tasked to write something using different perspectives for each paragraph (I changed that to using different perspectives for each section since I used dialogue in the story and it seemed kind of weird to abruptly change perspective after someone said something!)

The first section is in 3rd person close. The second section is in 1st person. The third section is in 3rd person omniscient and the last section is in 3rd person close again but from a different character than the first section.

If you are interested in reading my exercise, please click below to continue…

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Writing day

I spent a good chunk of my day today at Starco attempting to get caught up on my writing.

I seem to have so many priorities pulling me in so many directions lately and my writing time is definitely suffering as a result. I’ve been on a real reading kick which has taken up a lot of time. I’m trying to really pay attention to the different ways that people write dialogue and how authors keep up the momentum in their stories when their 20,000, 30,000, 50,000 words in and so on. You may be wondering why I would do such a thing. Well, I have my new creative writing group to blame/thank for that!

For my first writing exercise, I had to complete an exercise from a book called Naming the World: And Other Exercises for the Creative Writer. It was supposed to be 2-3 pages of writing. Well guess what? I started writing and this character suddenly became very clear to me and I could not write fast enough to get her down on the page. I ended up writing about 8 pages and having to select excerpts from my writing for the exercise. Then we had a work-in-progress meeting this weekend and I’ve been receiving more feedback on the first 10 pages (double-spaced). So far, this has been a great experience and I’m determined to write the rest of this story. I’m really excited about it so far but now it is time to get some more words on the page!

Apart from that, life is going well. Paul and I had a really fun weekend and met some neat new people. We’ve played a variety of card games (Dominion Intrigue, The Resistance and Munchkin Color). We went out to a local mini-golf course/arcade on Saturday night and played the course. Paul and I also played a Star Trek shoot-em-up and I played an old favorite- skee-ball.

This week seems to be whizzing past. I’m trying to figure out what we will do this weekend. It’s nice to have at least one fun activity to do and I’m not short of opportunities to do fun stuff around here. Next weekend we are going to see the Round Rock Express play. There’s even going to be fireworks! I got the offer via Groupon and I just couldn’t resist. Especially since they are playing the… Albuquerque Isotopes!

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No time to write

Sorry, it has been a little while. I’d hoped to post a little more regularly than this but life has been a little bit crazy lately.

First of all, I joined a creative writing group so I’ve been focussed on getting my first exercise for that done. It spawned a bit project so I have been writing like mad, just not here.

Secondly, all our stuff from the UK showed up Friday night. Our apartment went from pristine minimalism to a cardboard jungle. I’ve been working non-stop to put things away. We bought a chest of drawers from Ikea and spent most of the afternoon and evening assembling it. We didn’t finish it so I did that while Paul was at work today. I then spent the rest of the day putting more things away. We had about 30 boxes and we are down to 4 now so progress has been made! The bedroom is great but the living room is still looking kind of rough. It’ll be better when I get rid of all the paper and garbage bags that we have been using. I’ve got all the boxes on the patio right now and those will have to go too.

I’ve been looking at doing some freelance work too. I’ve applied for a few things on odesk but I think I’m kind of expensive for a lot of the employers there. There are lots of writing jobs where it’s $1-$2 per 300 word article and you have to do the research on every article. I just don’t know how I could make that work. I will keep looking I guess.

Maybe I should just start buying lottery tickets huh? I think the jackpot is over $200 million or something like that. that would be nice. 😉

(don’t worry; I’m just being silly)

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Let’s get real

I have been blogging for a long time. However, this blog is a big departure for me. My old blog has been a place for me to talk about anything without editing myself at all. This is not to say I have been saying anything bad or negative but it is not a “professional” blog. As you may have guessed, the purpose of this blog is definitely professional. However, I still want it to contain compelling content. I want people to engage with what I write and give me feedback. I realize that if I edit myself too much, I’m removing the heart and soul of what I write and I’m not making much of an impact. I’ve been thinking about that a lot for the past week. I just read this post at babble and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I realize that creating a portfolio site for my writing means I have to blog more candidly. This blog needs to be telling a story and I need to figure out what that story is.

So why is this so difficult for me? I think I can sum up the answer to this question by saying that I just want to make the best impression that I can. I don’t want people to visit this site and get the wrong idea about me. I am a hard worker. I am creative. I am practical. But guess what? I have my worries and my issues. I have never liked broadcasting those things in such a public manner but I need to find the balance. Otherwise, anyone who reads this is not getting an accurate reflection of who I am.

I want to be “real”. I want to be “professional”. Is it possible to be both? I know that this is definitely possible in a working environment. I think it is much more challenging to find this balance online. It is much easier for people to misunderstand one another based solely on reading one another’s words. I just don’t want that to happen here.

Any advice? I’d love to hear it!

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Being unemployed is a full-time job!

Well, it isn’t really but I have been kind of busy. Paul has just started his job downtown so I have to get up and drive him downtown every day. This means I’m actually getting up in the morning! While he is at work, I’m trying to get all the crummy errands done so we can enjoy our evenings together instead of just doing chores. So far it is working pretty well.

In addition to various chores, I’ve been visiting the pool every morning to do some aqua aerobics and I’ve been doing various job-related research. If I have a little time after all that, I read or work on my jewelry.

At the moment, I’m also trying to come up with some interesting topics to write about instead of just what’s going on day-to-day.  Hopefully that will generate another post in the near future!

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New section!

I’m creating an online portfolio of stuff that I have designed, written or photographed. This is a work in progress and will be updated frequently as I track down all the stuff I’ve stored in the various corners of my hard-drive! 😉

Please let me know if you have any questions about any of the documents I’ve posted in my portfolio or if you would like other examples of my work. Additionally, I would appreciate your feedback about this page. Do you feel it is presented in a clear manner? Do you like the brief paragraphs regarding each document or would you rather just see a list of documents and perhaps a designation for each item? (i.e. “photograph”, “logo”, “brochure”, etc)

Thanks! 🙂

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