Tag Archives: stress

Happy Accidents

I did a thing. It was a semi dumb thing and I’m not sure why I did it.

As you may or may not know, my third book, The Earl and the Artificer, is also my MFA thesis project, so I have an advisor who is supposed to look at it and give me feedback along with a class who does the same. Thus far, my thesis advisor has been very lenient with me. Some demand at least a chapter a week or put their students on a strict schedule, but he’s pretty much let me do what I want since he knows I’ll get it done.

Well, I knew he would need to see something before the end of the semester, something substantial, in order to give me a grade. Originally, I told him I would hand in the finished piece (unedited) by mid-October. At the time, it sounded like a good idea. I’d have all the time in the world. I’m only taking two classes, so how much work could I have? A lot, that’s how much.

This is when I did something dumb. Part of my job in the English department is to create a newsletter, so I spend a bit of time emailing professors, harassing them until they tell me what they’ve published this semester or what events they’re holding. While emailing my advisor to ask him about his writing, I wrote, “I’ll be leaving an edited draft of the first act, which is about 80 pages in your mailbox next week.” I sent the email off without thinking much of it until about an hour later. NEXT WEEK?! Was I temporarily insane? At that point, I had only edited three out of the eleven chapters in act one. In less than five days, I would need to edit eight chapters to get them to where I was willing to show my advisor without cringing.

I immediately texted my best friend telling her of the stupid thing I had done. “But you work well under pressure!” she replied. I do, but why did I do this to myself? Why give myself added stress for no reason? If I had told him I would hand it in two weeks from then, he wouldn’t have cared and I wouldn’t have been freaking out. Then again, my best friend is coming from England in two weeks, and I would be worrying about my stupid project instead of getting ready for her arrival.

It’s strange, but it’s as if my subconscious gave me a boot in the ass. I’ve had ample time to edit my story, but I’ve been procrastinating and doing everything but writing and editing recently. Would I have had anything to hand in by the end of the month if I hadn’t accidentally cracked the whip on myself? Probably not.

Over the course of three days, I powered through chapters one to eleven, going over what I edited already and combing through the ones I hadn’t touched yet. Last night at midnight I finally finished. While I was too tired to add any new content to the story, I officially finished my edits of act one and will hand them into my advisor on Monday.

I’m somewhat proud of myself for actually getting this all done before the weekend and that on Monday I’ll be able to present my advisor with the first third of my work. After dilly-dallying for so long, it seems strange that I’ll actually be handing in part of my thesis. Luckily my mistake created this progress. Sometimes all you need is to give yourself a kick in the ass to get going.

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January 2015 in Review

I’m starting to think it may be a good idea to look back at each month and see what I have accomplished in my writing and marketing as well as reflect upon what needs to be improved in the future.

The biggest thing that happened this month was that I finished The Winter Garden (Ingenious Mechanical Devices #2).  I’m still shocked that I can now say I have two novels under my belt.  It’s pretty amazing, considering a few years ago I couldn’t finish anything and had plots that meandered for a hundred pages.  So far, I have finished The Winter Garden and gotten through a major round of editing.  Continue reading

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Chapter 23: In Which the Author has an Existencial Crisis

love-yourself-quotes-To-love-oneself-is-the-beginning-of-a-lifelong-romance..I am never sure how many people know I have anxiety.  I am a class A worrier, dweller, and moment-reliver.  Last week was my first full week of graduate classes, and midway through the week, I sat and cried when I got home.  Sometimes I wonder what has happened to me.  I wasn’t always such an emotional person, but honestly, sitting down and having a good cry is better than bottling up until you explode or internalizing your misery.

I am not like most of my family.  The idea of working in an office for the rest of my life is repellant even if I do not mind the place I currently work and enjoy the company of the people who work there.  I just want more than that.  For my entire life, school has been a factor that validated who I was.  I was a (mostly) diligent student who got good grades.  School has been there to give me a ruler to measure myself against and prove my worth, and this is probably what pulls me toward the world of academia. My family went through the motions of school and seemed to enjoy the social aspects more than anything they actually learned, but because I typically had few friends, my focus was on homework and my classes.  In my family, I was first one to go to college for four years and actually earn a degree, and I did it because I loved my classes for the most part and my professors.  I had a drive and my mentor nurtured that by giving me the confidence to write more and actually participate in literary conferences when most undergrads didn’t.  Toward the end of my time in college, I realized I wanted to be an English professor, but my family has not exactly been supportive of my endeavors. Continue reading

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