Day 1.

I wrote about 300 words, so that’s nice … and then I deleted them. I am really starting to hate this funk!

But, also reminding myself that at least I am sitting and writing, and can always try try try again tomorrow, and go from there …

I really just put too high of expectations on myself when it comes to my writing, and once I leap those I can just dive in like I did last time, but that hurdle … I trip over it more than I care to admit!

… eventually, you have to look away from the window and back to the computer. And start the actual writing.

Which might be the hardest part.

I’ve always said that my least favorite two words to write are “Chapter” and “One.” Starting a story has so much pressure – is the opening sentence strong enough? Have I written the correct mix of back-story so the reader knows who the characters are and current action so they don’t get bored?

Writing isn’t for wimps, guys. Countless hours staring at your computer screen, countless hours sitting there in the same position (that one gets me the most), usually a year of edits and waiting before you see the book in its book form and then a check for waaaaay less than minimum wage. 🙂 If you’re in this career for the money, for the job flexibility or for the lack of effort you think you’ll need to put into it, you’re in the wrong career.

 

Then I read these words by Christian writer Erynn Mangum and think, ‘I can do this!’ 🙂

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Resolute to …

One of my resolutions was to write more. Well, we’re basically at the end of January, and I have written sporadic sentences here and there, but nothing really concrete. When I get some down time at work, and with all the books I’ve been reading lately, I have some ideas cooking, but instead of just the thinking, I need to DO.

I tried to think, what is really holding me back from writing?

 

So you know how we don’t have a TV, and I mostly just watch on Hulu? Well, at the beginning of the month we were baby sitting my niece, and I knew I was going to have a lot of downtime that weekend while watching her, so I signed up for the free Netflix trial. I watched all the seasons available of How I Met Your Mother and Husband and I have really gotten into Law and Order.

The free trial expired this past weekend, and Husband and I talked about and decided that we can afford $8/month for the next couple of months to keep up Netflix, because we do really like having it. Plus, Netflix is month to month, so we can always cancel if we have to really tighten the budget.

I should point out that other changes were made to the budget to accommodate the $8.

 

Anyway. Now I come home, make a little dinner, maybe read, check the Internet, talk with Husband, and then we spend about three hours watching Law and Order. Seriously? I look at this now, and I’m like … this is so like when I lived with my sister and we had TV. What is the point of not having a TV if I’m still going to be sitting around watching a screen instead of doing other, more productive things?

So I’ve decided to set aside a hour after dinner to just writing, and then after that, then rewarding myself with some Netflix. I think that kind of discipline is exactly what I need to get back into the writing groove.

The Fault in Our Stars

by John Green.

1st: I liked this book, and considering I thought I was going to hate it, that’s awesome. I did not love it.

2nd: No one reads my blog, so I’m spoiling the book – when Gus admits he’s dying, which I already knew he was based on the fact that he was normal one chapter and stopping to breathe and carefully open doors the next, but he just didn’t want to tell her, I was like, that is so Nicholas Sparks. And I was told this was not Nicholas Sparks. That is A Walk to Remember secret right there.

3rd: The eulogies they wrote for each other. That is so Nicholas Sparks.

4th: The only thing I found to be not a typical cancer story about this book, was the scene at the gas station. The whole montage of her taking care of him while he deteriorates …. Nicholas Sparks.

5th: People treated this book like it was the second coming of Christ. I feel like this is mostly due to the fact that John Green has not put out a book written solely by himself in a long time, and the anticipation was high, and NerdFighters worship him.

6th: Although the signs that THIS IS A JOHN GREEN BOOK WRITTEN BY JOHN GREEN WHO ENJOYS SMART TEENAGERS WHO THINK LIKE JOHN GREEN AND UNDERSTAND GIANT WORDS AND COMPLICATED IDEAS LIKE JOHN GREEN were not as multiple and obvious (think depressed and piney teenage genius after girl who doesn’t want him), most were there.

7th: Here’s my beef with John Green — with An Abundance, Paper Towns, and Will Grayson, I felt like I was reading a trilogy with the same character moving from one adventure to the next. I don’t think he is very good at creating unique and realized characters with each new novel. All his protagonists roll into the same cookie cutter format. It really hurt to read E. Lockhart state that she wishes she could write like him, because I feel like she can write independent stories about independent characters — Ruby is vastly different from Frankie, and they are set in their plots to discover their own truths — one about how to navigate life with purpose and self worth, another to achieve value in the eyes of society despite restraints and gender prejudice. I feel like John Green’s characters in Abundance, Towns, and Grayson are vaguely the same person vaguely searching for a purpose — in Abundance, in life, in Towns, with a girl, in Grayson, outside the shadow of a friend. Each with a fat, “hilarious” side kick who they like and loathe all at the same time.

In conclusion, if someone asked me what John Green book I would recommend, I will forever and always say Looking For Alaska. That to me is like A Separate Peace or Catcher in the Rye — just a literary classic. However, if they read that and want to know what’s the next book of John Green’s they should try, I would say this one. And then I would say don’t read anymore of his books.

 

***I should point out that Green thinks that it is a ridiculous argument to say all his books are basically the same, because Abundance is about mathematics (but yet still sir, about a prodigy searching for a purpose beyond learning) and Towns is a bookend and opposite of Alaska (but yet still sir, about a boy searching for a purpose beyond what the girl next door tells him). He even says superficially that they are different, because Abundance has a road trip (but so does Towns, and essentially, Stars has a trip outside of the main setting as well).

resolute.

So, one of my new year’s resolutions was to declutter the house. I decided to start somewhere easy — our three shelf storage area in the bathroom.

best shot I could get of the mismash

My main problem is that it’s sooo disorganized, and I don’t even know half the stuff that’s in here. Just from this picture, I can count four different cold medicines. Why do I have so many??

Remedying this was easier than I expected. I started by taking everything out and checking dates on the medicine, making everything was still good for 2012. Anything that was expired was chucked. Then I went through and tossed anything that wasn’t being used (like bath salts, we NEVER take baths) and things like wrappers and hair clip packaging. Then I grouped everything into three piles, and put it back on the shelves neatly.

the medicine shelf

Now I can clearly see what we have for medicine, and it’s all in one place so I’m not shuffling past my tampons and hair dryer trying to find allergy pills. I also made sure that boxes I put in the back have their description facing out, and put things we’ll need sooner in front (like Tylonel) and things we only need in certain circumstances in the back (like extra toothpaste, and sunscreen).

hair and shaving products

My hair is short like a boy’s currently, so I baggied all my clips and ties and put them in the back of the shelf with the curling iron and straightener — things I might not need now, but could if I decide to grow my hair back out. All I need now are my hairbrush and my hairdryer, so they go in the front along with some shaving creams that Husband might need if his current soap runs out. Totally decluttered, and it’ll be easy for me to grab my hairdryer in the morning without a ton of other stuff crashing down.

Misc.

I apologize for the bad picture; I had to manuever around the radiator and still couldn’t get a decent shot. This shelf is the most empty because it’s the left over pile — hygiene that doesn’t belong in the medicine cabinet because it’s not used often enough — extra razors for me, cotton swabs, and tampons/pads.

So there you have it. The whole process took me about twenty minutes and I felt really good about it afterwards. I liked changing up the shelving, which had been bugging me for awhile, without buying anything or stressing too much. Step one of decluttering the apartment done!

the other life.

Today, I lived the other life. I got up this morning, dressed dress casual, hopped on the el, and rode it to the Merchandise Mart in downtown Chicago.

My aunt has a business, and today, I was a buyer for her. I loved it.

 

I’ve always been one of those people who imagine doing all sorts of careers. I know my talents and limits, yet still, I can’t seem to NOT help but get excited about a variety of jobs/careers. So far, I’ve imagined myself as a writer, an editor, a high school/junior high teacher, a copyeditor, a zookeeper, a nursing home activities director, a curriculum advisor, an administrative assistant, a daycare director, a home daycare owner, a college admissions advisor, a Disney World tram operator, and now, a buyer.

 

Here’s what I loved about being a buyer: you’re basically shopping for other people. You know what they like, what they’ve bought in the past, and then you pick out things they’re more likely to want to buy in the future. You look at wholesale prices, figure what you’re going to price it at, decide if it’ll make a profit and if someone would buy at that price. I love finding things and knowing other people are going to love them too. I like thinking about what people asked us for last year (like X-mas trees skirts, more snowmen items, and a bit of sparkle on things) and finding those things. I like thinking about what my aunt and mom can add to things to make them better, more appeasing to buy, and how much of each to buy.

 

Anyway. I do it once every year for my aunt, and it’s super fun and I feel so professional doing it. I’m sad because next year instead of buying in Chicago, my aunt and mom are going to Atlanta for the show there. I wish I could go with it! But ah, money. It keeps everything away.

day i was born.

Is today.

 

Current struggles: actually sitting down and writing, finding the motivation to stay on task with the housework, staying calm with current car issues, trying not to be so cynical/sarcastic, and not drinking pop but water.

 

Current happy times: going out to a restaurant tonight (gift card), getting three new books in the mail and buying two on Sunday in store (gift card x2), and not recklessly spending money.

 

 

When I was a kid, and I thought about being 25, I think I got pretty close to the mark on where I wanted to be. Even before I met Husband, I always thought about how cool it would be to live in Chicago. I always definitely wanted to be married at this point, and have a job teaching. The only two things I’m “missing” are publishing a book and having a kid.

But I also acknowledge that as a 12 year old, I didn’t know anything about how things in publishing/writing actually worked, and that for kids you need money. And selflessness. Two things that I’m really missing right now, especially since I’ve only been married 8 months.