Archive | Monday Musings RSS feed for this section

Mid 2017 Goals Check-in: Where are we now?

19 Jun

So in January I outlined some pretty clear goals for the year. And the one thing I’m good at is looking at my goals ;). I figured its about time to check in on how far I’ve come this year.

Before I do that though I will say that I think the thing I need to do with my goals next year is to make them a little smarter and to dig a little deeper. I haven’t by any means finished all of my goals but I think I need to spend sometime getting underneath what I’m trying to achieve. So yes I want to get words down or words related to a project but why? What’s that for? What is that trying to serve? In other words I think I need to think about what my writing career goals are so that I can be in alignment on all my little goals rolling up to that and really serving that.

  1. Finish my re-write of Lycanthropy and dig in on editing the manuscript. I’m not where near done on this one and honestly unlikely to be finished. I decided to trunk this book. I was mid-rewrite and wondering where I was going. Considering that was my third re-write it was not a good sign. So I decided to give this one a rest and keep writing other things. Maybe as I improve my writing skills I’ll be able to come back and improve it but I’m also equally open to the idea that that was my first book and it will never get where it needs to be. That happens and it’s ok.
  2. Rewrite and Edit Through Time and Space. I still haven’t picked this one back up. Honestly I don’t think about it much. I should give it a look and see if there is anything there I think is worth salvaging. But there is definite lack of enthusiasm here.
  3. Write and submit three short stories. So far this year I have written (to completion) four short stories. I’ve also done a re-write of the Novella I worked on last year. I submitted one story so far and was rejected but have gotten some good feedback and will make some edits and send it out again. I’m still writing but I haven’t written anything I think it good enough to send off. I haven’t been doing the weekday novel, weekend short stories thing that I thought I would at the beginning of the year. When momentum was pushing me forward it made sense to keep that momentum going. I think the thing I need to do is read more short stories. I think that will help me to really figure out how to boil a story to it’s essence and keep it short.
  4. Participate in more local writing events. This year I took a class at Left Margin Lit which was an interesting experience. The class was interesting but some of the things said made biases clear. I also went to Bay Area Book Festival in Berkeley. That was a good experience. Not all of the panels I attended were worth it (at least two were awful) but I did think a couple of them were worth it. To some degree doing this is about building my people skills, talking with other attendees and hopefully eventually talking to authors. If I think about it as an effort to do that then it was a good first step. I still plan to attend Litquake and I’m thinking about trying to Volunteer at least a little bit but I’m not sure :).
  5. Write a new novel. I did this one! Mark it as done :). For years a family of demon hunters has been swirling around my head trying to find purchase in the written word. The Harkeman’s are Buffy meets August: Osage County. I outlined this one quite a bit before I started writing and I think that helped a ton. It’s not exactly faithful to that outline but I think that helped a lot. Next step for this MS is to read it once without much critique (simple does this make sense as a story). Then to read it and outline it for whether each scene is about what each character wants. Then to read it for plot holes and continuity errors. I haven’t thought about about how I’m going to accomplish that goal yet but maybe I’ll try cutting my writing goal to 500 words in July or August and focus on the editing part of this project. Truly editing and thinking about it systematically is another thing on my list of things to learn. I’m not an amazing writer but if I an become an amazing editor and make my drafts way better than it won’t matter as much.
  6. Apply to at least one writing workshop, retreat or class. Mission accomplished. I applied and was rejected from Vona and Lambda Literary. I also took a class at Left Margin Lit. I’m thinking about taking another class but not sure what that would be.
  7. Be a part of the literary community consistently. I am… doing this. I have been beta-ing for folks and joined a critique group. I need to get better about building relationships (which to be honest is just my life) I tend to make friends by doing a lot for others and asking for nothing in return which just isn’t right. I’m working on it though. In a dream world I would find a couple of people I would feel comfortable consistently sharing my work with and getting critique from. I’m not sure if that will work for me but I do want to try.

So that’s where I am so far this year. Where are you at with your goals?

January 2015 Summary

2 Feb
  • Finished 1 Script
  • Wrote 750 Words Everyday
  • Submitted to the Outfest Screenwriting Lab

Monday musings: The Beast

31 Mar

I’ve always got this thing about juggling my writing time. I prefer to write in the morning before the light comes out and my partner is up but that isn’t always possible. A lot of evenings I’m so exhausted my partner pressures me to sleep in the following morning. Or I have a major work assignment to finish. Or I’m too damn lazy.

I’m sure you notice when these times hit. The blog goes barely there for a while and there is a surge where I battle with my body for a few hours of writing time. Just like right now I’m typing this while watching Constantine and hoping my partner doesn’t call me out.

At least I’m writing though! That’s something…I’m in a very sci-fi fantasy kind of mood at the moment. What are you writing?

Monday Musings: The MOOC

6 Jan

The Massive Open Online Course has been touted as the new step in evolution for Higher Education. What is it? Basically just an online course usually free. The idea being that people across the world can take courses from the top minds on academia today. The idea is exciting and seems like it could be transformational. If you follow the news about MOOCs you’ll find there is a lot debate about whether these classes will actually save higher education. I’ve never bought into the idea that the MOOC will work to completely revolutionize higher ed but I love the idea of being able to get an amazing education for free, any time and anywhere. There’s just one problem.

This past weekend I was reading the Fast Company print edition and found an article on Udacity and it’s CEO/Founder Sebastian Thurn. Thurn is considered the father (or grandfather) of the MOOC, he popularized it in 2011 & 2012. As a person who works in Higher Education and who is constantly in discussion about the most successful ways to reach students I was immediately interested. As I said the basic idea behind the MOOC and Udacity’s initial mission really appeals–Help students who may never have access to professors from Harvard or Stanford or any other ivy league get that education for nothing more than the cost of internet and a computer. The article outlines Udacity’s initial work and then it got really interesting. Despite his initial hypothesis about how successful MOOCs would be his data didn’t prove that he was helping the millions of people he was attracting to his courses:

“As Thurn was being praised by Friedman, and pretty much everyone else, for having attracted a stunning number of students–1.6 million to date–he was obsessing over a data point that was rarely mentioned in the breathless accounts about the power of new forms of free online education: the shockingly low number of students who actually finish the classes, which is fewer than 10%.”–From Fast Company

Thus is the problem of the MOOC–millions of students can sign up but only a handful will actually finish and worse only a handful of those will pass the class. I’m proof of this myself. Over the last year I have registered for maybe 20 MOOCs and every single time I have failed to complete them. Not because the subject matter is boring or the professor wasn’t interesting. It’s all a question of  time for me and what Thurn finds is a question of access. He did a study using SJSU students that I think really brings the point home. He created courses for the three levels of remedial math that he hoped would help students have a successful start to their higher education experience. This class wasn’t free but was significantly reduced from the usual SJSU price tag. His results were still pretty bad:

“Among those pupils who took remedial math during the pilot program, just 25% passed. And when the online class was compared with the in-person variety, the numbers were even more discouraging.”–From Fast Company

The medium doesn’t seem to work for students who don’t have consistent access to computers, who have additional pressures at home due to economics and while 86% of students completed the course the passing rates compared to students in the classroom are still sad.  I’d love to see the larger data that he has on this (whether thats possible or not I’m not sure)

So what is the future of the MOOC? I don’t know. I still love the medium. The idea is exciting and it speaks to my own fasination with education on a wide scope but without the buy-in that the physical classroom has (fees, face-to-face accountability, “easy” access etc) will it ever revolutionize education? I’m not sold.

 

Monday Musings: 2013 Goals

30 Dec

It’s that time of year! Let’s talk about 2013 Goals and what I accomplished. Later this week I’ll be giving you my 2014 goals. Feel free to share some of yours as well!

So here were my goals for 2013:

  • Read 10 books for pleasure–I did this one! I actual read and listened to quite a few books this year!
  • Read 5 Academic/Educational books–Did not do this one. Something to think about for next year.
  • Read and respond to 1 article a month (subject of my choice but preferably current events)–I didn’t do this either! Another good idea for next year.
  • Rejuvenate Limited Edition Love. Blogging can be so much fun and it can also be such a headache. This year I want to find the perfect balance and stick with it.–Well, yeah. You guys know how this went. Definitely want to work on it for next year!
  • Write 2 scripts and solicit feedback– I wrote several scripts this year and got feedback on one of them. So pretty good!
  • Edit 2012 Script–Didn’t do this!
  • Take 2 online courses (free preferably)–I also didn’t do this….Want to for this year though!
  • Meditate/yoga at least once a month–Yeah…didn’t happen.

So of the eight goals that I had for this year I achieved 2. Are we sending a pattern here? Lol. Last year I also achieved 2 goals. Hopefully in 2014 we can get to 3!

What were your goals in 2013? How many did you achieve?

 

Monday Musings: Hospital Visits

23 Dec

Hospital visits are the worst. You always feel sort of in the way and it just drives your level of anxiety up. At least that’s how it is for me. So imagine my surprise when I found myself in the hospital, not visiting but needing to be visited. The entire time I was in the E.R. I was thinking how inconvenient it was for other people to have visit me, take care of me and be stressed about me.

This was my first ever time needing to be admitted to the hospital and I can tell you the sensation was rather odd. I was certain the whole time that there was nothing wrong with me and I would just be annoyed about the bill. What I came to realize was that its such hell to be the person in the hospital that its sort of worth the anxiety put on others isn’t it? Sort of a selfish thing to realize right? But it’s incredible to realize just how scary it can be to be the one left behind.

I’m fine now and home recovering recovering but it seemed funny to be so concerned for others as I went in for emergency surgery. How do you feel about visiting the hospital?

Monday Musings: Holiday Drag

9 Dec

It’s the time of year where you expect everything to pick up speed. There are holiday parties every weekend, shopping to do and goals to finish before the end of the year. Yet for some reason, at least for me, this time or year just seems to drag. I think it has everything to do with anticipation. After all, the second that Thanksgiving hits we’ve entered the “holiday season”  and we’re all enjoying those few days off to relax, be with family and really give a push on christmas shopping. Then it seems like an eternity until that next big break of christmas. Am I the only one who feels this way?

Each day passes more slowly to the next and while everything feels like its being draaaaaggggggeedddd out, I equally feel like nothing is getting done. Maybe I’m calling this too early and this week will feel like a breeze but I’m not sure. I don’t think I buy it.

Are you feeling the languid pull? Or is it all in my head?

Monday Musings: Gratitude

2 Dec

It’s Post-Thanksgiving now, so be prepared for the madness of christmas shopping and the countdown of shopping days remaining this year. For my part I’m rather hold onto the question that has become synonymous with Thanksgiving (it has nothing to do with stuffing):

What are you grateful for?

I’m sure many of you asked yourselves this question or were asked by someone. Or perhaps simply being in the room with family and friends allowed you to remember what you’re grateful for. Here are just three things that I am grateful for:

  1. My Partner: She loves me, respects me, and supports me as I go through growing pains and experiment with my life. She is truly my better half.
  2. My Family: I’m so grateful for the love that I receive from my family. We may not see each other all that often but I’m still grateful. Plus, they help keep my ego in check by bringing up all the silly things I did as a kid 🙂
  3. My Friends: As a girl who had difficulty making friends as a pre-teen and teen I am so grateful for all of my friends today. Many of them I haven’t spoken to in a while but I still consider them friends and I would still give support to them if they asked.

Those are the three most basic things I’m grateful for, the high priorities but this has been an interesting and winding year for me and I am grateful for so much.

So, What are you grateful for?

Monday Musings: I won’t smile…

25 Nov

So don’t ask me.

Last week was a long week for me. I had a bunch of meetings, a bunch of deadlines and drama with my car. You can imagine I was a little bit stressed out. I was walking into my office thinking about my to-do list, my plan of attack for the day and what I was going to do about my vehicle, obviously with total disregard for the appearance of my face, when I noticed a young man walking towards me. No big deal, its a street people walk towards you all the time.

He looked at me and I looked at him preparing myself to give a polite smile as I always do, when suddenly he says, “Smile. Put a smile on that face.”

I was already in mid-polite smile when he said it so he followed it up with “Pretty!”

I wish that I hadn’t smiled.

I wish that I was not driven by some foolhardy need to be polite when people pass me on the street. I do genuinely try to give a polite smile or a courteous head nod when I pass people especially if we’ve made some sort of eye contact but I can not abide being told to smile and I am totally disappointed that this guy was walking around the rest of the day thinking that he got me to smile. Why? Why did this put me in a funky mood for the morning replaying all the things I would have/could have done in this situation?

  1. I am not a dog. You should not command me to do things on the street just because you can and think you have the right to.
  2. My role in life is not to please you. However you may be feeling as you walk down the street, elated, depressed or whatever, it is not my job to serve in improving your mood. While me smiling might make you happy, you don’t have the right to request it from me especially in such a drive-by fashion.
  3. When was the last time a random woman on the street told you to do anything? Never? And yet you find it completely appropriate to tell a random woman on the street to do something. Awesome. No really that’s not sarcasm I think its great that you’ve deigned to exert your masculine power over me. It was a great experience, lets do it again some time.

It’s not the first time strange men have yelled things on the street to me. You would be surprised what a fresh hair cut does to the men of San Francisco. I doubt very much it will be the last time someone yells something at me but I hope that if you are a man who is reading this that the next time you think “I should tell that woman ….” that you keep it to yourself.

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Monday Musings: Keeping up with TV

11 Nov

One of the things that has gotten harder for me over the last year or so has been keeping up on my favorite shows. Ask my partner and she will tell you I have a tendency to DVR anything that looks even half way interesting and then I have the most difficult time staying caught up on shows unless my partner watches them with me.  So because of this I end up with hours and hours of programming and at some point I do what I do with my RSS feed…I hit delete all. Unfortunately with a TV show its hard to catch up once you miss a few episodes and you need the information from the previous show to get to the next one.

How are you keeping up with all the amazing shows on TV these days?