Week in Rewind #2

I’ve decided to continue on with this Week in Rewind feature on Ink Keys and Other Things. But unlike last week (see Week in Rewind #1) where I kept a short log of the productive parts of each day, I’ve decided to just do random highlights this week! I don’t want this feature to become a time-consuming, stressful thing to write so I’ll continue to experiment each week with how to record what I want to share and remember. I might never formally adopt a permanent format.

This Week

➴ Grad School

I had my first presentations of the semester this past Monday in my Digital Textuality class which went well. There were only like five people in the class that night and it was a really positive experience. The topics of my presentations were my reviews for two text tools of my choice. I chose Wattpad, which I’ve wanted to start using since about last November, and Twine, which I’ve been somewhat obsessed with since learning about it last September. In case you missed it, I did post a revised version of my review of Wattpad on Tuesday and I hope to post the Twine review later this week.

➴ Reading

Reading took a bit of a backseat this week. I started The Girl from Everywhere last week, and it’s not been a captivating read yet. What I really want to do is finish up all the books I’m “currently reading” on Goodreads and finally begin to reread some books I’ve been wanting to revisit, which is a hefty list in itself. I don’t where I’m going to start when I finally get the chance. To see what’s on my immediate list of books to read, see my Bookentine 2016 TBR post that went up on Friday.

➴ Writing

This was a big week for writing! Something I’m not sure I mentioned in Novel Progress #2 this week was that I had hit a road block over the past week in my story. While I had plotted my story very loosely a couple of weeks ago, I had gotten very hung up on the fact that I didn’t have a strong opening Hook to my story and that my protagonist’s parents were a lot more interesting than my protagonist. So I while I have been busy with school, I’ve also just not written much because I didn’t know what to do. But I’m happy to report I’ve worked my way out of this problem!

I don’t want to talk much more about what I did, because I plan to share everything in Novel Progress #3 this Wednesday! But I will say that I’ve had so many ideas I want to share and I think this week will have a post nearly everyday on specific writing-related projects I have started or have in mind.

➴ Blogging

This was also a big week for blogging. I experienced my first blog failure on Wednesday. I got first-hand experience with what experts “The White Screen of Death” which was terrifying because I’m not used to working on back-end web development and had not yet backed anything up. (Still haven’t! I need to do that!) Luckily I was able to fix this problem with a FTP program, all on my own on Thursday! I’m very proud of myself, although I will admit it was an easy problem to fix after I had calmed down.

The reason I had run into the problem was because I was trying to delete the code for my Meta Slider in the functions.php and I missed a piece of the code. I like the idea of the slider, but I don’t have motivation to make the most of it and I didn’t like the way it was appearing on my static pages. Some other design elements I changed on the blog were the Google Fonts I use for Headings (which I’ll probably do a tutorial one day).

As far as blog content, I updated my About and Portfolio pages, which I still consider works-in-progress. Because I think of this blog as something semi-professional that I want to put on my resume I am always trying to emphasize the best possible version of myself and my work. It’s not easy! But if you’re interested in looking at my Portfolio, you’ll get a glimpse of the some of the projects I’ll be sharing soon.

One final thing concerning the blog is that I’ve decided not to do full-length book reviews anymore. I’ve liked doing them for myself, but ultimately they take too much time to write and time is becoming precious. Also I don’t think that my thoughts reach many people here anyway so I’d rather just get better about reviewing books directly on Goodreads.

Next Week

Next week I am participating in the Bookentine 2016 Read-a-Thon, so I’m hoping to read a lot but also keep up my work on my novel. My new deadline for my first draft (announced in Novel Progress #2) is April 1st, so I don’t want to lose any momentum. As far as what will be going up on Ink Keys and Other Things beyond my text tool review of Twine and Novel Progress #3, I think I will be doing three additional writing-related posts, including: an introduction to the text object I’ll be creating for my multimedia portfolio, my future plans for fanfiction, and the works you will soon be able to see on Wattpad!

I hope you enjoyed this post and are excited for what’s coming up here on Ink Keys and Other Things! As always, thank you for taking the time to read. See you soon.

Thank you for reading!
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Novel Progress #2 (On Deadlines)

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It was very difficult making the time to sit down and write or even think about my story this past week, which might not be a surprise if you read my Week in Rewind #1, in which I talk about everything I did last week. My biggest personal priority was finishing a dense novel (Six of Crows) I had to return to the library last Friday that I had barely even started. Which gave me a book hangover because IT WAS AMAZING! Then I was preoccupied with homework I was trying to get done early so that I could focus entirely upon my first presentation of the semester.

Despite my busy-ness, I had decided writing would be a priority this year. So I managed to make sure I was thinking about my story throughout the week and did a little bit of work on it here and there. And I did in fact manage to start writing some real words too; words I will not try not delete until I reach the editing stage.

In this post, as I don’t have much progress to share, I wanted to talk about my thoughts on writing deadlines and the specific deadline I have given myself to complete the first draft of EMatST.

Deadlines

In my experience, setting myself deadlines could be either really motivating or really soul-crushing. I think which way the deadline ultimately ends up affecting me has depended on how determined I am when I first set my deadline. This January I realized how serious I am about my goal to write a novel this year, so I’ve decided to up the ante and set myself a deadline for when I’d like to complete my first draft.

What’s the hurry? You might be wondering. Well, I don’t really have the best reason. I just feel like everyone around me is editing and I want to get to that stage too! It seems like a lot more fun. And I feel like if I don’t push myself, I’ll never stop worrying about getting every little detail right. I’ve already noticed myself beginning to procrastinate from actual writing by telling myself I need to figure out more story specifics first. But I’ve realized that not knowing everything yet doesn’t mean I shouldn’t start writing yet.

It’s very disheartening reading advice from published authors that often major chunks of their first drafts get cut out completely. It should be a bit freeing. But for me it is daunting and has led to a tendency for me to put off writing in the hopes if I know more about the story from the outset less words will be useless in the end.

Anyway, so I decided to set myself a deadline of:

April 1st

That gives me two months to complete my first draft of EMatST. I don’t know how many words that will be, but I’m hoping it will mean more than 50,000. I thought about trying to pretending February is NaNoWriMo (NaFeWriMo ^_^), but I realized I’m not in such a rush to finish this novel that I’m willing to potentially sacrifice my performance in school. So two months seems like it should be more than enough time if I remain diligent.

End Note

I hope to have more to share about my novel’s progress in next week’s Novel Progress installment. I have an impending deadline to create my first Multimedia Portfolio piece on the 15th, so I might share something about that next week as well. In the meanwhile, I hope you found this post helpful in thinking about deadlines and whether they might be right for you, now or in the future.

I’d like to do more of these conversation-based writing posts in the future. If you have a topic idea you’d like me to explore and report back on, let me know in the comments! Also let me know whether you’ve found success or failure in setting yourself writing deadlines.

Thank you for reading!
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My New Year’s Resolutions for 2016.

·.··.·.·.  My 2016 New Year’s Resolutions  ・.·.·.··.·

I love setting goals and I find that New Year’s is the best time to think optimistically about what I want to accomplish. Even though we’re about a week into 2016 and I almost didn’t create this post, I’m happy I have because reflecting on what I would like to accomplish this year has inspired me to kick my butt into shape and start being productive. There are few things that make me happier than ending a day feeling like I’ve been productive and I’d love to be able to look back at the end of 2016 and appreciate what I’ve accomplished in the past year.

➴ Reading Resolution

I set my Goodreads Reading Goal at 60 books for the year. I regret not setting 52, averaging at simply one book per week. But in 2015 I was so close to 60 books and I hardly read much at all at the end of the year that I feel confident I’ll read 60 books if I keep at it.

➴ Writing Resolution

I want to finish my first novel and also write 12 short stories, one per month. I started the novel I’m currently working on in NaNoWriMo 2015, and it’s evolved a little since then. But overall I’ve not been able to think about much else. I’d really like it to be the first in a series. I’ve even worked on plotted the series as a whole. The main thing that’s been holding me back in making more progress on this novel at the moment insecurity and procrastination.

I’ve long been thinking it would be wiser to start smaller and work my way up to a novel. Filmmakers often start small with short films. I originally thought I might try to write 12 novels this year, but since I’ve yet to finish a novel at all in my time as a writer, I’ve decided instead to shoot for 12 short stories. I’m thinking of making it an anthology collection united around a certain theme or idea.

I plan to elaborate more on my writing plans in a separate post in the near future. 

➴ Blogging Resolution

I want to be a better blogger this year. I don’t want to have any productivity slumps. I want to be consistent this year with everything I want to do. I want to pre-schedule posts and stick to a good posting schedule. I also want to comment regularly on the blogs I follow and overall just be a good community member.

End Note

There are a few other goals I have for 2016, but none that I can think of that would have concrete products or evidence of the goal (yet). For example, I know I would like to work on becoming more fit, but I don’t have set goals for what that would necessarily look like. Also, I want to do more art this year, but I don’t have a numeric goal or particular project in mind at the moment.

What are your opinions on new year’s resolutions, or goal-setting in general? Do you have any new year’s resolutions this year? If so, what are they? Let me know in the comments!

Thank you for reading!
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Hello January 2016 (Life Update + TBR).

Life Update

Yesterday I made the three-hour journey from Houston to Dallas, effectively ending my holiday retreat at my parents’ house. In past years, the end of the holidays had always been more sweet than bitter. This year I’ve found myself indifferent. I feel more carefree when I’m staying at my parents’ home, but I also feel like it sets me back. I have trouble being productive there. Also, I feel tethered to my parents’ schedule.

One would think returning to my apartment in Dallas would have been met with a bit more joy, but I can’t stop thinking about tornados since the devastating outbreak this past Christmas that destroyed hundreds of homes not far from where I live. I live on the third, topmost floor of my apartment building. If a tornado hits I’m not sure I’ll make it. (Am I being dramatic? I’m not sure.)

If I’ve learned anything over my past semester at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD), it’s that I don’t want to live in Dallas past graduation. Unless a dream job comes up, but that’s unlikely.

Next Monday classes start back up for me again. All my classes will be in evening from 7–9 pm, but I’ve still not finalized my schedule. I’m certain only on the two classes required for my degree program which are only offered in spring: Digital Textuality and Digital Culture. But I’m taking one more class, an elective, for which I have two options from which to choose: Creating Interactive Media and Information Design for New Media. I do not want to take both (primarily because I don’t want to take four classes this semester), so I’m squatting in both classes right now as I wait patiently for the syllabi to show up which will hopefully help me decide which will best serve my interests/needs.

With the rest of my time before classes start, I’m just trying to work on getting myself on a productive schedule. I haven’t been reading as much as I like, I haven’t been writing, and I haven’t been blogging because there’s been so little to talk about. It feels like I’ve been static for too long and I’m ready to come back to life again.

 January 2016 TBR

This year I am trying to live by the motto “slow and steady wins the race.” I’ve always been someone who gets hooked on something and then quickly burns out and loses interest. Last year I read the bulk of my books early in the year. This year I’m not going to push myself so hard. Especially as reading more was my primary goal for the year (which I achieved; I read well over 50!). But this year I have more things I want to do, which I’ll explain in my New Year’s Resolutions post later today or tomorrow.

Also, I’m trying not to buy too many new books this year. My living situation is precarious and I don’t like buying books that then get left at my parents’ house before I can read them. As I’m now a graduate student I have a new library to utilize, which is very good about stocking new releases! So there’s no predicting what I’ll be able to get my hands on. 🙂

So the only books I know I want to read from my personal library are:

toothmiddlesex

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton

I’m a little over 50 pages into this book and it’s been off to a great start. The brilliant characters and conflict grabbed me immediately. I’m reading it fairly slowly as I’ve been preoccupied with other things in my life and I’m out of reading shape. 🙂

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

I can’t really explain my interest in prioritizing this book. I just feel like the summary is intriguing and I’m attracted to the depth I’m expecting of this book. Also I love the movie The Virgin Suicides and I’ve never even read that book so I’m excited to finally experience this author’s writing. I’ve also not read fiction set in the real world for a while so this excites me.

Others…

I also have four digital ARCs from Edelweiss that I need to get to by the end of the month for review.

AND I have my writing buddy’s first draft of her first novel to read! She sent it to me on Christmas Day and I can’t wait to read the story we’ve been talking about for well over a year and provide her with feedback. 🙂

End Note

I will be posting my New Year’s Resolutions for 2016 late today I think, or I might schedule it for tomorrow morning (CST). I’ve not yet posted my official announcement on Books o’ the Wisp. I don’t expect too many people to follow me here from there, but I worry I’m letting people dangle over there. And I do intend to make that blog completely private once the premium features expire.

I have lot of posts planned for this new blog. I’m going to try and pre-schedule things so that everything doesn’t come out all in January and I have nothing left for February (“slow and steady”). Hope you enjoy my new blog! If you’d like to receive notifications of when I post new things, please check out any of my other social media links below!

Thank you for reading!
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