Balancing School, Work, & Writing

Time Management

Finding a balance between everything in your life is hard. Devoting enough time to this thing or that thing can sometimes seem impossible, how do you decide what gets precedent and what gets put on the back burner? How do you decide which task is more important? Which one to focus on? Time management, I have learned, is key.

When you’re given a list of tasks or duties, you need to decide which ones to focus on or prioritize. For me, I have school, work, and writing (squeeze a little housework and sleeping in there too). Of the three, the two that take precedent are school and work; and out of those two: school.

School has to be my top priority because I need to finish my education in order to meet my future career goals. Work has to remain a priority because a) it’s work; and b) I need work to pay for school. Basic human needs and functions come next, like sleeping and eating.

Wouldn’t we save so much time in life if we didn’t need to sleep? I would actually have time to write regularly if we didn’t need sleep. When you get right into the middle of something and the flow is going really well, but you’re eyes are closing and you can feel your brain slowing down… I find sleeping to be mildly inconvenient (but so, so nice).

It is unfortunate and disappointing that at this moment in my life writing has to be put on the back burner a lot. I try to squeeze in time whenever I can, but find it hard sometimes when I have a looming list of things to get done for school.

This is where the time management I mentioned before comes in.

When I have a lot to do, the first thing I do is write everything down. I always write due dates and important dates down in my agenda (as well as my writing schedule), but when I have SO MUCH to do, I also just like to make a list of everything that needs to be done.

From here I rearrange the list so the most important task is at the top (this is usually whatever assignment is due first), all the way to the bottom where the things that can wait go. This allows me to see how much time I have for each task. For instance, if I have an assignment due tomorrow and a writing post going up next Sunday, I’m going to make sure the assignment is done first. I’d rather be doing the writing post, but unfortunately the assignment needs to be done.

This can make things difficult when I have a list of assignments as long as my arm to get done and another list of writing posts as long as my other to also get done (which is why writing down when you need things done by is key). Going forward over the next several weeks I will really be testing myself to see how my time management is.

Can I keep on top of all my schoolwork? Probably. Can I keep on top of my regular work? I have no choice. Can I keep on top of my writing? Hopefully. And I can’t wait for the day where this list is shrunk down to my writing because my regular work and the answer being Yes, Absolutely.

Do you have any time management tips for your fellow writers? Do you remove all distractions? Do you set aside dedicated amounts of time to work on certain things? Do you set certain goals for yourself to help you achieve things? Or do you just wing it and hope for the best?

Let me know and hopefully we can help each other out!

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Names of the Week

Benji
Male
Alternate Spelling: N/A
Nicknames: Ben
Pronunciation: Ben-G
Origin: England
Meaning: From Benjamin
Well-Known Benjis : Benji Applebaum (Pitch Perfect), Benji Dunn (Mission Impossible), Benji Healy (American Gothic), Benji Madden (Musician), Benji Aflalo (Actor and Writer)

Claudia
Female
Alternate Spelling: N/A
Nicknames: N/A
Pronunciation: Claw-dee-uh
Origin: Latin-America
Meaning: Lame
Well-Known Claudias : Claudia Tapper (The Tapper Twins, Geoff Rodkey), Claudia Arlex (Incarceron and Sapphique, Catherine Fisher), Claudia da Forti (A Knight of the White Cross, G.A. Henty), Claudia Parr (Baby Proof, Emily Griffen), Claudia Salinger (Party of Five), Claudia Kishi (The Babysitters Club)

Delilah
Female
Alternate Spelling: N/A
Nicknames: Lila; Lilah
Pronunciation: Duh-lie- luh
Origin: Hebrew
Meaning: Delight
Well-Known Delilahs: Delilah Hannaford (Fixing Delilah, Sarah Ockler), Delilah Bard (Shades of Magic, V.E. Schwab), Delilah S. Dawson (Novelist), Delilah Beasley (Newspaper Columnist)

Forrest
Male
Alternate Spelling: Forest
Pronunciation: For- ess – teh
Origin: England
Meaning: Of the Woods; Dweller near the woods
Well-Known Forrests : Forrest Gump (Forrest Gump, Winston Groom), Forrest Kline (Musician), Forrest Bird (Inventor), Forrest Tucker (Actor)

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Names of the Week

Clemence
Female
Alternate Spelling: N/A
Nickname: Clem
Pronunciation: Clay-mahns OR cleh-mence
Origin: France
Meaning: Forgiveness
Well-Known Clemences: Clemence Posey (Actress), Clemence Dane (Pen Name for Novelist, Winifred Aston), Clemence Annie Housman (Novelist), Clemence Royer (French Scholar), Clemence Grimal (Snowboarder)

Dominique
Female
Alternate Spelling: N/A
Nickname: Dom; Niki
Pronunciation: Dom-in-eek
Origin: France
Meaning: Of God; Female Variation of Dominic\
Well-Known Dominiques: Dominique Weasley (Harry Potter), Dominique Francon (The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand), Dominique de Lombre (The Court of the Stone Children, Eleanor Cameron), Dominique Deval (James Bond: Thunderball), Dominique Deveratux (Dynasty)

Eleanor
Female
Alternate Spelling: Elinor; Elonor; Elenor
Nickname: Ellie; Nell
Pronunciation: Ell-ih-nor
Origin: France
Meaning: Shining Light
Well-Known Eleanors: Eleanor Douglas (Eleanor and Park, Rainbow Rowell), Eleanor Arroway (Contact, Carl Sagan), Eleanor “Nell” Crain (The Haunting of Hill House), Eleanor “Ellie” Nash (Degrassi: The Next Generation), Eleanor Bishop (Heroes), Eleanor Henstrige (The Royals), Eleanor Porter (Novelist)

Lucien
Male
Alternate Spelling: Lucian
Nickname: Luc (Pronounced Luke)
Pronunciation: Loo-see-en OR Loo-she-en
Origin: France
Meaning: Light
Well-Known Luciens: Lucien (The Supernaturalists, Eoin Colfer), Lucien Vanserra (A Court of Thorns and Roses, Sarah J. Maas), Lucien Dubenko (ER), Lucien Castle (The Originals), Lucian Graymark (Mortal Instruments, Cassandra Clare), Lucian Gregory (The Man Who Was Thursday, G.K. Chesterton), Lucian Kiggs (Seraphina, Rachel Hartman)

Benedict
Male
Alternate Spelling: N/A
Nickname: Ben
Pronunciation: Ben-ih-dict
Origin: Latin
Meaning: Blessed
Well-Known Benedicts: Benedict of Amber (Chronicles of Amber, Roger Zelazny), Benedict Copeland (The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers), Benedict Cumberbatch (Actor)

 

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Writing Playlist

Writing Playlist - Music Notes.jpg

Journey. Beethoven. Sinatra. The Avenue Q Soundtrack.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to music options in 2018. Which is good because everyone has different taste and different things they enjoy.

And for writers, we all have different things we like listening to when we work.

Now, I work in a music store so I’m literally surrounded by music pretty much all day, every day to the point that I can’t work in silence. I’m listening to Louden Swain’s, Sky Alive, album as I write this.

I’m also a big movie watcher and the way music affects a scene and the mood of the story is something that has always interested me.

For this reason, it’s always super important for me to have music on while I’m writing.

Now, I have different playlists for each of my projects. I used to listen to the same things for everything I was working on (usually film scores), but found this really didn’t help as all it did was make me want to watch the film.

By having different playlists, I can pick the music I listen to for each project and the songs on each of these playlists really helps me get in the right mindset for what I’m working on.

When I’m working on Brave Young Boys I listen to a lot of songs about war and loss. Carrie Underwood’s, “Just a Dream”; Dean Brody’s, “Brothers”; and Rise Against’s, “Hero of War” are just a few.

It’s not the most cheery thing to listen to, but it definitely gets me in the perfect mindset for working.

Kind of on the opposite end of the spectrum, I have a different writing project that involves two people going on a road trip. This playlist consists of (mostly) happy, fun songs.

“Beat This Summer” by Brad Paisley; “500 Miles” by The Proclaimers”’ and “mmmbop” by Hanson are three songs I listen to a lot when working on this particular story.

However, not every song directly relates to a theme of the novel.

In some cases a song will remind me of a character. Or I’ll hear a song and go “oh my god that’s perfect.”

Two instances where this has happened are with “Bad Reputation” by Joan Jett and “Lost Boy” by Ruth B (for two very different writing endeavors).

Everyone likes music. I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who didn’t like music. It’s a universal thing, something that, even if you don’t speak the language in the song, you can still bob your head to the beat.

As a writer, different types of music inspire both my work and myself. I find it helps keep the story moving, gives me ideas for different things, and gives me a connection to my characters. It’s a language that transcends the usual barriers of most other languages.

Now I’d like to hear from you! Do you listen to music when writing? Is there a particular style of music you prefer to listen to, whether in life or when working?

Let me know down below and also let me know if you want to talk more about writing playlists!

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*Image at start of post does not belong to me, it was found on Google*

Life Update

Do you ever get so overwhelmed by how far behind you are and how much work you have to do that you just don’t do it? And then you get even further behind and it stresses you out more so you just continue to avoid it and this horrible cycle continues.

That has been my life for several months now. I don’t mean I’ve been sitting around doing nothing all the time. Quite the opposite actually. I’ve been working a lot since Christmas and when I’m not at work I’m at home desperately trying to get things done.

I’ve been writing blog posts and book/film reviews; I’ve been working on fanfiction chapters; and I’ve been making progress on my book. But I think all of you can relate when I say there just aren’t enough hours in the day!

Seriously, sometimes it feels like I never stop and yet it never feels like I actually got anything done.

I used to get a couple posts done or a couple chapters written and I’d start to get back into my routine of posting regularly, but then I’d fall out of it again and it was like starting back at square one.

So, since I’ve been MIA for quite a while now I figured I’d post a quick update just so anyone who reads this blog doesn’t think I’ve fallen off the face of the Earth.

I am very excited for things coming up later this year. I’m attending Fan Expo and the Supernatural Convention again and I will be blogging about those. I’m desperately waiting for Fan Expo to post it’s schedule so I can start making arrangements and figuring out if I’m going to be getting any photos or autographs this year (let’s face it, I probably will).

I will definitely be returning to the blogosphere and the fanfiction world. I can’t say exactly when just because I don’t want to make any promises or guarantees and then not stick to them.

Other than that my life right now consists of working, reading, and, as of today, playing Pokemon GO. I’m sure downloading this game will be absolutely no help in my trying to get back to writing on a regular basis. However, I think it will help with the lack of exercise I get (or rather, don’t get).

So, thank you to any followers of this blog for your patience. I look forward to rejoining you regularly very soon!

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Things Read in 2015

2015

When I was younger I would read all the time. Literally, just one book after another. I carried one with me everywhere (still do) and even when I wasn’t supposed to be reading, like, during class for example, I did anyway.

Now, being older, I don’t have nearly as much time to read as I would like, but I still try to read as often as I can.

That being said, way back in the summer of 2007 (it’s actually quite a while ago if you think about it), I started keeping a record of how many books I’d read and how many pages they were.

It started being divided by the summer and school years, but then I just started doing it by year. So, now that I’ve babbled on and explained (poorly) how this system worked, here is a list of the things I read in 2015!

The Walking Dead Books 1-4 (Issues 1-8), Robert Kirkman

TWD Books

I was a fan of The Walking Dead show before reading the comics, but after hearing repeatedly how different the comics are from the show I decided I had to read them. I’m not going to get too much into what I thought of the books as I reviewed books 1-4 last year.

I will say that so far I’m thoroughly enjoying the storyline both on the show and in the comics. I plan on reading at least books 5-8 this year (hopefully more, depending on if I can get them from the library).

 

Death Note Black Edition I, Tsugumi Ohba

black edition i

The only book I read this year that I haven’t reviewed yet. Not because it wasn’t good, but because I wanted to read Black Edition II first.

I’d already watched the anime of Death Note before reading the manga novels and I absolutely loved it. I knew immediately that this was something I wanted to read and when I discovered the Black Editions I was even more excited.

The Black Editions are basically two of the novels in one. Instead of spending twice as much and buying the books separate, you spend a couple extra dollars and get two of the books.

Death Note is amazing and I’ll definitely be posting a review of it this year as I recently bought Black Editions II and III.

 

F*ck! I’m in My Twenties, Emma Koenig

Fck Im in my TwentiesThis book is brilliant. I had wanted to read it for ages and was so glad when I finally did. Emma Koenig perfectly captures the feelings that come with being in your twenties, whatever stage you may be at.

I read and reviewed this book back in February and it is crazy how much changes in a year! Last year I wasn’t in school, had no job, and wasn’t doing too much. Now I feel like I hardly have time to slow down!

It’s absolutely insane how quickly things can change and I definitely need to read this book again to see just how different things are.

 

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Reptile Room, Lemony Snicket

Reptile Room

I still haven’t finished this series! I started it like a year and a half ago and I still haven’t finished. I’m not going to say I’ll finish it this year cause I think we all know if I say that then it won’t happen.

However, I will say that I’m excited to read it again and actually finish it this time because all of these books, not just The Reptile Room, but all of them are amazing and enjoyable.

 

Handle With Care, Jodi Picoult

Handle With Care

This book still gets me even when I just think about it. I read this book in a matter of days and to this day I would say it’s probably in my top ten favourite novels.

I loved this book, but to this day the ending gets me sooooo angry. If you’ve read it you’ll know what I’m talking about. If not, read this book. Read it because it’s beautiful and wonderful and Jodi Picoult is truly a literally marvel.

And then I want you to come back here and tell me what you thought of the ending and if you were raging for days while simultaneously existing in a state of shock like I was.

 

Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut

Slaughterhouse FiveThis book is one I need to read again simply because I still don’t think I fully got it. But, like I said in my review (which wasn’t really a review), I think not fully understanding the book actually just makes me like it more.

This is definitely one of those books where even if you don’t fully understand it you’ll enjoy it. This is also one of those books where if you’re a book nerd you should read it. It’s not like the great novels of our time now. There’s no magic or great battle against an evil, superpowered villain.

But there is a story and at the end of the day Slaughterhouse Five is exactly what all great novels start out as and what they all end up being.

I love reading. When people ask me what I like doing the first two things I always say are reading and writing. It’s been like this for as long as I can remember and, even though I don’t have as much time as used to, I don’t doubt it will stay like that.

I look forward to reading many more books over the course of this year. Hopefully I’ll be able to finish all the books I started at the end of last year and more. My reading goal every year is to do slightly better than the year before.

Total Books Read: 9 (technically 14)

Total Pages: 2595

But I want to hear from you! What did you read last year? Have any reading goals for this year?

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January 2016 Book Releases

January.jpg

This Is Where It Ends, Marieke Nijkamp

This is Where It Ends

The start of a new school year can be an exciting time, but for one student it was a time for revenge. Told from the perspectives of four people, Nijkamp’s novel tells the story of a fight for survival when one student starts shooting.

 

Release Date: January 5, 2016

Buy This Is Where It Ends on Amazon

Passenger, Alexandra Bracken

Passenger.jpg

Etta Spencer is a violin prodigy who inherits a legacy she didn’t know she had. Nicholas Carter is living his life free from the Ironwoods, a powerful and dangerous family. However, the two are soon thrust together on a journey to stop a secret object from falling into the Ironwood’s hands.

Release Date: January 5, 2016

 

Buy Passenger on Amazon

Bookishly Ever After, Isabel Bandeira

bookishly ever after.jpg

Phoebe Martin lives in a world of books and would give anything if the real world would resemble her favourite stories. When she finds out the hottest clarinettist, Dev, might have a crush on her, Phoebe tries to become just like the heroines in her books so that he’ll really fall for her.

 

Release Date: January 12, 2016

Buy Bookishly Ever After on Amazon

The Love That Split the World, Emily Henry

The Love That Split the World.jpg

In her debut novel, Emily Henry tells the story of Natalie, a girl whose life is turned upside when the world suddenly starts to appear wrong. It is then that Natalie is told by a mysterious being that she must save “him”. The next night, Natalie meets Beau and it’s as the entire world disappears all together.

 

Release Date: January 26, 2016

Buy The Love That Split the World on Amazon

The Siren, Kiera Cass

The Siren

From New York Times best selling author, Kiera Cass, comes a fantasy novel about a young girl, Kahlen, forced to live her life as a Siren in order to repay a debt. However, when Kahlen falls in love with a human, she must choose between following the rules of the Ocean and following her heart.

 

Release Date: January 26, 2016

Buy The Siren on Amazon

Shallow Graves, Kali Wallace

Shallow Graves

In this first novel from Kali Wallace, Breezy Lin is a seventeen year old girl who wakes up a year after she died. She has no idea who killed her or why, but what she does know is that she can now sense those with a murderous past. Breezy must use this to delve into the darkness of the world and find some answers as to what exactly happened to her.

 

Release Date: January 26, 2016

Buy Shallow Graves on Amazon

Happy Holidays everyone! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful holiday season whatever you may have celebrated and I know it’s only the second, but I hope you’re all having a wonderful 2016 so far!

I took a brief break from blogging for a little while at the end of the 2015, why? I got a job. Yes, unfortunately being an unpublished writer doesn’t make much (any) money, but I got a job over the Christmas season working in retail.

The best part? It’s one of my favourite stores (no it’s not a bookstore) and they’re keeping me! Apparently I did an okay job over the Christmas season because even though it’s over now they’re still keeping me on. I’m very excited about this, but I’m also very excited to get back to blogging, fanfiction writing, and novel writing!

Even though I’ll still be working, with the holidays over my hours won’t be as crazy which means I’ll have more time to write and work on blog posts and I’m incredibly excited to get back into it!

I look forward to an awesome and crazy 2016 with you all!

*Also, the rest of the months will have more books listed. For some reason it was a struggle to find books being released this month and then when I went on Amazon a lot of the ones I did find were only available for the Kindle*

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