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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Advice on Writing and Publishing

So in case anyone's interested in writing and publishing, here are a few things that I've learned by going to writing conferences and talking to people. I recommend doing some internet searches and reading up on the subject. My advice is somewhat general and obviously I don't have a ton of experience in the publishing world. But I have been writing for years, and this is at least a place to start if you're interested in writing.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Rollercoasters



ICE CREAM!
No, I didn't eat it all by myself.
I split it with a friend.
Until last Saturday, I don't think I'd ever ridden anything that really qualifies as a rollercoaster. I've been to several water parks and ridden those kinds of rides, but my family never really bothered with amusement parks. We just did other things on our vacations.
Last week, I went to Orlando for International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts. First, I've decided that I will NEVER take a redeye flight again. We flew out at 1 am from SLC. I crashed once I got to the hotel. Between the flight and the time zone change (hey, time travel!) my sleep schedule got thrown off. Still, it was a great trip and I enjoyed the conference. I got to meet a lot of awesome people and my reading of my paper went smoothly. The days leading up to the trip had been exceedingly stressful, for various reasons, including the paper I was gonna have to read in front of people who would then ask me questions and expect me to know what I was talking about! But it went well. I was so grateful when I'd finished reading my paper and I had a chance to enjoy other people's presentations instead. Then on Saturday we went to Disney Hollywood.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Carry on

Sometimes I just want to stop. I'm tired. I don't like school today. It's been a rough week. Not as bad in some ways as last semester. I feel like I've mostly got the hang of it. But I don't know if I like it anymore. I'm just tired and I don't want to keep going. I keep asking myself why on earth I thought this was a good idea. If you wonder why I don't post very often, this post will explain.
It's hard to get up and go teach a class at 8am every single day of the week. I've been doing it since the end of last August. I like my students. I really do. But that doesn't make it easy to be there and have something useful to say.
It's hard to take three classes at once. I don't know how I did it as an undergrad. I really don't remember being this exhausted back then or getting this overwhelmed by the sheer amount of writing I had to do. I know it wasn't easy, but it sure seems that way compared to this.
I have to go present at a conference next week. That means I've had to find a substitute for my class, write the paper (still working on polishing it) and I'm going to miss classes and not really have time for the reading I should be doing while I'm gone.
Remember that novel I wrote? Well, I want to finish the sequel, but I still haven't figured out when I'm supposed to work on it. My brain is so fried some days (like today) that even if I didn't have to go to bed soon, I couldn't work on it. (Yes, I know, I'm writing a blog post, but that's helping me sort out my own thoughts.)
I get overwhelmed when I think of doing another three years of this in a PhD program somewhere. So I am not planning on that. I'm also not planning on NOT doing it, because it's still an option. I'd like to be a professor. Seriously, it's the only job I can picture myself doing, besides being a writer. The problem is that those two things both require a full-time commitment and I don't feel like I can do both as well as I want to.

To balance all of that, here's a list of reasons I'm still planning to finish my MA:
I really do like some of the books/plays/poems I've read. I enjoy thinking and learning new things. Most days, at least. Days like today aren't the norm.
Analyzing literature can be fun. I like writing papers. Maybe not three or four at once, but I do like writing papers. I'm even kind of excited to go to the conference next week. Not about the standing up and reading a paper in front of a bunch of strangers, but the conference will be a good opportunity. And not everyone in the audience will be a stranger. One of my fellow grad students is presenting with me and my mentor will be there.
I know this list is shorter. It's definitely not complete. But the reason that I'm mostly thinking of right now is this: I started this and I'm gonna finish it. I hate to give up. I'm stubborn that way.