Why I Do What I Do

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Quit

This quote doesn’t exactly pertain to what I’m about to say, but it still makes sense. It’s not the quitting part I want to focus on because I have no intention on quitting what I do. It’s the “think about why you started” part.

There are so many situations that I say to myself, “why did I do this to myself?” or “what possessed me to agree to this?” Lately I’ve been asking myself those type of questions a lot because my life has been so busy. I went from a summer of writing all day, relaxing, and getting things done around the house. Now I blink and it’s time for bed and I can’t remember what happened during the day.

Last week I started back to work and that’s when the ball started rolling. Here’s my schedule:

Monday: Work 8-2:30 ; Babysit 3-5 ; Homework
Tuesday: Work 8-2:30 ; Homework
Wednesday: Work 8-2:30 ; Homework
Thursday: Work 8-2:30 ; Babysit 3-6:30 ; Homework
Friday: Work 8-2:30 ; Homework
Saturday: Homework
Sunday: Church ; Homework

I started back to work full-time because I needed to. I needed to get out of the house (even though I would rather stay home all day) and make a little money. I love the place I work at. The kids are great and the teachers are fantastic. I’m really learning a lot.

I’m going to school to get a good education in doing something I love: teaching and writing. Five classes is a lot, yes, but I’ve done it before. The homework isn’t really a lot, but a few of the assignments are time consuming. Therefore, it’s hard to be motivated to do it. Plus, once you start you can’t stop so I need to make sure I have enough time to complete the task.

I hated Sunday school when I was a kid, but I’ve always wanted to be a Sunday school teacher. Don’t ask me why… I guess it’s just more of the “teaching” aspect. This year I’m not only teaching a class, but I’m the director of the program as well. That’s a step up from what I originally wanted, but I’m proud to do it and excited to give it a shot.

I babysit because I love the kids. I’ve been babysitting for that family for five years now. It’s been amazing watching them grow up and being an “older sister” to them. They look up to me so I want to be the best example I can be.

In addition to school, work, babysitting, and sunday school, I have to think about my sister’s wedding (a month and two days), the upcoming bachelorette party, and just getting other things done in general like… you know, blogging? I haven’t been able to post in a week or two.

It’s tiring, but I enjoy it. I like to keep myself busy. So why am I complaining, “why did I do this to myself?”

I haven’t had the time to write. I did well last week writing for an hour every morning, but then I was too tired after work (and then babysitting) to do any homework. I got really behind on my school work last week and crammed it all in Friday night since that was my first free night all week. I would come home and relax saying, “I got my writing done this morning so I’m all set for today” completely forgetting about homework.

Unfortunately, at this point in my life, homework has to be priority over writing.

So I think I’m going to try to get some homework done in the morning. However, I still haven’t been writing. I think I’m going to have to keep playing around with different routines until I can fit everything into one day.

If I could add more hours to the day, I would. In the meantime, I have to make do with what I have and everything will work out in the end.

I love everything I do even if it’s hard to fit it all in one day. That’s why I started.

Short Story Sunday #25

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Write for 35 minutes leading up to discovering a dead body.

I left my office around one in the afternoon to visit my client. I locked the front door shoving my hands into my trench coat pockets. The air was chilled from the upcoming winter season and there was a light breeze in the air causing the autumn leaves to fly past me. I stared at the ground mostly as I walked down the sidewalk, but every once in a while I looked up with my eyes squinting from the cold. I needed to make sure I wasn’t going to walk into a telephone pole or another person. However, I didn’t think I was going to be passing anyone by. The town seemed dead. I wondered why for a Saturday afternoon, but I assumed it must have been the cold. Looking up at the sky, the clouds did seem a bit more gray than usual. The sun wasn’t anywhere in sight, either.

Once I made it to the end of the sidewalk, I crossed the street coming on to the main road. It wasn’t as busy as I expected. I was worried that I wasn’t going to be able to get a taxi over to my client’s house. As though my mind had been read, a cab showed up on the end of the road heading in my direction. I waved my hand and once its blinker turned back on I shoved my hand right back into my pocket. I should have brought my gloves. It was about a ten minute drive from where I stood all the way to my client’s house.

When I got there, I thanked the driver paying him with a nice tip before he drove away. My house was surrounded by a clichéd white picket fence. The grass was vividly green from the previous summer with a colorful garden to the left the house. In the middle of the lawn was a cobblestone pathway leading up to the front door. I opened the gate without it creaking and closed it with the click. The heels of my shoes clicked and clacked against the stones.

I made it up to the porch, holding onto the railing with one cold hand as I staggered up the steps. The house was lovely and my client clearly kept up with it. However, the porch was made of rotted wood. One step was wobbly, one had a hole at the edge of it, and the other looked as though it would crumble under my weight—I skipped that step just to be on the safe side. I stepped right in front of the door and as I raised my fist to knock, the wind blew a foul stench my way.

I sniffed, my face scrunching up in disgust. Was it a skunk? No, I didn’t think skunks smelled like that. They smelled bad, but not this bad. This scent was a mix between a skunk and garbage. It wasn’t pleasant.

I walked over to my right to the other end of the porch trying to see if I could find anything. I knew my client was the proud owner of five cats, so maybe they went out hunting and brought back a couple of mice and birds. When I made it to the end of the porch (I didn’t see anything) I noticed the porch wrapped around to the other side of the house. I turned to my left walking along the much sturdier wood keeping an eye out for any dead animal. Maybe the cats got out and a dog or coyote got to them. Whatever it was, it must have been there for a while. Nothing could smell that bad.

I made it to the end of the porch, but it didn’t wrap around the back of the house. I noticed a window was left wide open. I cocked my head to the side wondering why my client would have left her window open on such a cold day. I poked my head it, turning my head from left to right, but no one was in there. I took a deep breath, smelling the strange, disgusting scent once more. Except, with my head poking inside the house, the smell was worse.

I walked back around to the front door. I knocked hard willing my client to open up right away. However, after banging my fist against the door for the first time, it opened up with ease. I paused with my fist still raised in the air. No one was standing before me and no one was behind the door, so how did it open? It must have already been open a small crack and my knock pushed on it too hard. First the window was wide open and now the door was apparently left open and unlocked as well. I arched my back a little to check out the driveway to my left. Her car was in the driveway as it should have been since she told me to meet her at her house at this day and time. So, where was she?

I entered the house calling out her name, but there came no answer. I closed the door wanting to keep the cold out of the house, but that didn’t seem to do much. The house was freezing, but that was probably because the door was slightly open and a window was wide open as well. There may have been other windows left open, too. I stood in the mudroom trying to peek in the surrounding rooms with my eyes and craning neck. I didn’t see anyone in sight and when I called her name again, there was still no answer. I wiped my feet on the welcome mat and decided to make myself at home.

I walked to my left, entering the living room. The TV and the lights were off, but there was a mug sitting on the coffee table. It smelled of tea and looked as though it had been sitting there for a while. The couch was made nicely with a woolen blanket folded neatly across the top. The house looked as though it was well kept and in good condition, but there was no one to be found. I had been to my client’s house before and she had always greeted me at the door and her cats always came to say to me in the living room. Well, the cats weren’t around, but when I poked my head into the hallway, you wouldn’t believe what I saw.

Time Management

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Today was the first day of work. With school already started, my writing on-going, and sunday school starting up in two weeks, it’s time l start managing my time.

I was happy to go to work this morning, but it still would have been nice to have an extra week (or five) of summer. I got lot done this summer with my writing and l would like that to continue. With work, sunday school planning, and homework in the mix it’s going to be a lot tougher.

I know a lot of writers set aside a certain time each day to get their writing done. It may be an hour in the morning, it may be an hour and a half in the evening, whatever. Some try to write a certain amount of pages a day and others write a certain amount of words each day.

I’ve tried writing ten pages a day a long time ago and it didn’t last long. I tried 5,000 words a day and it worked up until a new school semester started. So, l tried 2,000 words a day and that worked for a while, but it didn’t last. This time, l’m going to try to work for an hour each day and whatever l get done in that hour is what l get done.

I work better in the morning so l figured l should do it before work. I have to be at work by 8 and l also have to drive my cousin to school and she has to be there by 8. So l’m leaving my house a little earlier than normal. So when would l fit in this hour of writing and still have enough time to get myself ready and leave on time?

Yes, l set my alarm for 5 in the morning allowing myself a half hour to roll out of bed, get dressed, and make a cup of coffee. Then from 5:30-6:30 l wrote. I typed up the edited draft of Detective Florence. I got ten pages done, which was what l wanted to get done.

I then had an hour to eat breakfast, brush my teeth, get my stuff ready for work, etc. I’m writing this post now to kill some time before l have to leave. So, needless to say, it worked.

While l would like to get more than an hour of writing done each day, this will do for now. After work today l have to babysit (which means l won’t get home until after 5 tonight) and then l’ll have to do some homework. So at least l can say l got my writing done which, to me, is the most important.

Let’s hope the routine lasts for me. I read somewhere that it takes 21 days to produce a habit… l don’t know if that’s true, but l’m going to pretend it is.

Short Story Sunday #24

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Start With: Life takes some funny twists and turns.

            “Life takes some funny twists and turns. When you wake up in the morning you never know what kind of day it’s going to be. You may wake up on the wrong side of the bed and end up having a really good day. Or you may wake up with a smile on your face, but everything that can go wrong will.

“It all depends on how you look at life. It all depends on how you think. If something is going wrong, think positive, happy thoughts as best as you can. If something is going right, keep thinking those positive, happy thoughts. If you’re going to look at things with a negative perspective, then you’re setting yourself up for a back day. You’re setting yourself up for failure…”

Mimi’s chin was resting on the surface of her desk fighting for her eyes to stay open. She was beginning to tune out the speaker standing in front of the classroom.

She had woken up late this morning causing her to miss the bus to school. Since Mimi’s parents leave for work before she leaves for school, she had to walk. She missed her entire first period class. As a result, her first period teacher gave her the work and notes she missed in addition to some extra credit. Mimi’s teacher said it was because she was missing so much due to being tardy that she was beginning to fail. Mimi assumed it was just a punishment because she had been late so many times.

Yes, Mimi is late a lot to school. When she was late this morning, the principal stopped her on her way in and scolded her for it. She got a detention because this was her seventh tardy that month… and they were only 15 days into the month.

Mimi had to explain she couldn’t stay that day because she had a dentist appointment. She hated going to the dentist, especially since she needed to get a cavity filled. Where the cavity came from, she’ll never know. She barely ate any sweets and was a vegetarian. She was going to have to spend her detention after school tomorrow. There were two things wrong with that.

For one, lacrosse practice was tomorrow, but the principal didn’t see that as a valid excuse. She was going to have to miss a practice in which case her coach was going to be angry with her. Mimi was all ready on thin ice with her coach because she didn’t have very good grades in two of her classes. She was on the verge of failing them and if she did she wouldn’t be able to play until she brought the grades up. She was the best player on the team, so not only would her coach be upset, but all her teammates would be frustrated with her as well.

Second, tomorrow was a Friday. Mimi didn’t even realize students could serve detention on Fridays. Didn’t the teachers want to leave early on Fridays to start their weekends, too? If Mimi was going to stay after on a Friday she wanted it to be because of lacrosse practice.

Mimi yawned and sat up taller in her seat still trying not to fall asleep. She was only in her second period class. There were five more classes to go. How in the world was she going to get through it all?

She stared at her teacher trying to tune back into the lecture.

“So, we’re all going to write mini personal essays about something recent that has gone wrong in our lives. You’ll then explain what you did to turn it into something positive. If you didn’t stay positive, explain why and also explain what you should have done to turn the situation into something positive. Everyone understand?”

Mimi smiled. This was probably the best thing to happen to her all day. It was probably the only positive thing that was going to happen to her all day.

Mimi didn’t like English very much and she was terrible at writing essays. But she looked on the positive side: this was going to be the easiest essay she had ever written.

Modified from “The Write-Brain Workbook” by Bonnie Neubauer

Petsitting

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image

Meet Cookie the Beagle!

I don’t know if I ever mentioned this, but a few weeks ago my cousins got a puppy. Her name is Cookie, she’s a Beagle, and she’s three-months-old. She’s loud, obnoxious, clumsy, and very hyperactive. She’s sleeping in the picture and that’s only because I turned on the TV. Lucky for me, that made her pass out.

I spent my day petsitting her because it was Jackie and Kat’s first day back to school and Uncle Kevin, like always, had work. It was no easy job, I’ll tell you that much. I spent most of the day sitting on the couch instead of at my desk trying to do homework or edit. For some reason, she barked a lot when I was at my desk. She was fine if I sat on the couch. The problem is I have a hard time getting work down on the couch because… well, it’s not a desk.

Cookie kept eating everything. The trash, the plastic bag for the trash, my shoes, my desk, the rug, the couch, the blanket… you name it, she tried eating it. She also discovered she could fit under the couch. So, half the time I was working on the couch I could hear her scuffling around on the hardwood floor under me crying and barking.

Needless to say, I typed up ten pages of Detective Florence today. I have been doing homework the rest of the day. I have most of it done. Most of the stuff I had to do were assignments I couldn’t do with a barking puppy around. My Spanish class, for example, I need to record myself talking. I can’t have Cookie barking and whining the background. My professor and classmates wouldn’t be able to hear me and I probably wouldn’t be able to hear myself. Seriously, she has a loud bark.

For my Fiction class I have to write a few journals and prompts, but I need to time myself. I can’t set a timer and keep pausing it because I notice the dog is eating the rug or getting stuck under the couch. That would just disrupt my creative flow/thinking/whatever the timed writing is supposed to do, thus making the assignment ineffective and pointless on my part.

For two of my classes I have to watch a YouTube video and I also have a test to take. It’s not a real test, it’s an ungraded assessment, but I still want to try my hardest on it. Plus, the test might be timed and I won’t find that out until I start it. I can’t pause it and go back to it later, either. Again… more things I have to do that do not involve a puppy.

I have to petsit her again tomorrow. I’m hoping she’ll sleep a lot so I can get some homework done. Despite all the homework I just mentioned (and that’s not all of it) I’m almost done. I should be able to finish all my assignments tomorrow if I really put my mind to it. Plus, I still have the rest of tonight to keep working on the assignments.

So, tomorrow might not be another big editing day (although I hope to edit at least ten pages again), but at least I’ll get homework out of the way. Then Saturday and Sunday can be spent editing. I think that sounds like a solid plan. I just have to hope it all works out in my favor.

First Day Of School

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Homework

I started school today. I have five classes. I have about a billion assignments to do already. But… can I really complain?

Yes and no.

I’ve been looking forward to all my classes. I’m taking Creative Writing: Fiction, Writing About Place, Selected Authors: J.K. Rowling & J.R.R. Tolkien, Learning & Behavior, and Spanish. English, psychology, and Spanish. We all know I love English and creative writing, I’ve always had an interest for psychology, and I enjoy learning Spanish (regardless of whether or not I’m good at it).

The teachers (as far as I can tell) are pretty good, as well. My Selected Authors professor is 100% a nerd, which is awesome. She’s been doing a lot of fan-girling for Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. The professor for my Writing about Place class is nice as I’ve had her for another class. She knows her stuff. My professors for Fiction and my psych class seem to be good, as well. Spanish… I think she’s nice, but I can’t tell because everything is written is Spanish, so who knows?

All of my classes are online, so I don’t have to deal with people. That’s a plus. I’ve done the discussion boards for every class so far and my classmates seem interesting, engaged in the classes, and nice. I’m still happy I don’t have to see them in person, but if I did it wouldn’t be a bad thing. We all know how anti-social I am. I do much better over the Internet. I suppose that’s probably a bad thing, though.

Anyway, I’m listing all pros, aren’t I? Oops, I’m sorry. I forgot to mention all the homework.

To put it simply: I’m going to drown in homework this semester.

It’s a lot of reading and a lot of writing. Would you expect any less from an English degree? No, of course not. However, the weeks are always Monday-Sunday. We get our assignments on Monday, they’re due the following Sunday, and repeat for the next week. It’s Wednesday which means we have two less days. It’s always like that at the beginning of the semester, but my professors have always taken that into account. They always give us just a small icebreaker discussion board, give us a chance to get our textbooks or if we already have the book we can start reading to get ahead. They give us a quick assignment due by the end of the week, but also more assignments which are due to the following week. It’s almost as if we get two weeks for the first week… does that make sense?

Not these professors, though. They’re all treating it like a normal week saying, “Careful! We’re already two days behind, so make sure you get everything in on time.” Yeah, thanks…

My psych professor is a different story. He wants us to call this “Week 0.” He gave us a discussion board and called it a day. We’ll get into the real class starting on Monday. Needless to say, I got all my psych homework done for the week.

I only edited ten pages of Detective Florence today because of school. I hope to alternate between school and writing tomorrow and for the rest of the days to come. Do a bit of homework, edit… do a bit of homework, edit… so on and so forth.

Just wait for work to get added into the mix on Monday. That will be super fun!

Editing Day

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I edited 50 pages today. That’s a lot (for me) in one day. I did ten pages at a time taking breaks in between. These breaks consisted of me reading or playing my new Ninja Turtles video game. Or…chasing my real turtle, cat, and dog. I had all three of them in my office with me wanting to play each time l sat down to edit. They slept when l was on my own break. They’re good helpers, aren’t they?

I also worked a bit on my Popular Fiction contest for Writer’s Digest today. The deadline is the 15th, so l have to get going on that. I decided to write a short story based off of my Short Short Sunday #18. I revised and edited what l wrote so far and figured out some characters and such. Tomorrow l’ll have to actually write it and see how that turns out.

Tomorrow is also the first day of school, so l’m not sure if l’m going to be able to get as much editing done. It’s only the first day, so l’m not going to have a mountain of homework, but l still have to keep checking on the website. I hope to get a lot done, though.

Only time will tell.

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