Friday Check-in: Week 4

Well. This week was nothing if not consistent.

It was a three-star week…and those stars consisted of reading and dabbling in Japanese.

Because sometimes, that’s just how the week goes, and then the week ends before you realize it.

That’s why we have calendars and stickers. To shame us into doing better next week.

Week 4

CURRENT KEY

  1. Gold – 1 hr revision (WEEK TOTAL:  0 hrs)
  2. Blue – draft 500 new words (WEEK TOTAL: 0 words)
  3. Green – read 100 pages (WEEK TOTAL: 1,100 pages)
  4. Red – 1/2 hr studying Japanese (WEEK TOTAL:  6 hrs)
  5. Silver – blog post (WEEK TOTAL: 1)
  6. NOT PICTURED – I’m tracking exercise and adult-like responsibilities in a separate baby-sized calendar also courtesy of Easter Seals.(WEEK TOTAL FOR EXERCISE: 2 times).

Points of Note:

  • Green Star Reads for this week: I’ve lapsed in the whole “circle the star when I finish something” thing, but I want to get back to it. This week, I finished THE SCORPION RULES, by Erin Bow (Loved it! Setting, Characters, worldbuilding, AI, goats… I definitely rec it), and continued shamelessly counting the textbook for my online class. I also read JIM HENSON’S RETURN TO LABYRINTH (a pretty awful manga version starring Toby, who was frankly less pathetic as a kidnapped infant. Don’t let the cover fool you. I only stuck with it in honor of Bowie, may he rest in peace–I actually checked it out before his death, which was…odd). Normally I don’t count manga because it’s like junk food to me and would totally skew my ratios… But this adaptation wasn’t on the site where I track manga, so I’m allowing it on my official book list. I zipped through DAUGHTER OF DEEP SILENCE, by Carrie Ryan (Fine, but I wanted to like it more than I did, especially after seeing Carrie Ryan in person at Anderson’s YA Lit Con in Chicago last semester… I just wasn’t 100% hooked the whole way through?). And finally, I’m about 200 pages into SERPENTINE, by Cindy Pon (Another author I admire from afar, but…this and SILVER PHOENIX just haven’t done it for me. I want to like, but I’m just not quite swept up). This lightning review section keeps getting longer and longer… Maybe next week I’ll try setting things up a different way, starting with the books I’ve been reading — which, let’s be honest, is the most interesting part of this post anyway — and wrapping up with an account of my sticker progress.
  • SOUNDTRACK OF THE WEEK: I’ve had three anime openings on repeat for most of the last few days. Re: Re: by Asian Kung-Fu Generation (from Boku Dake ga Inai Machi, which I’m loving). The third opening from Ansatsu Kyoushitsu (Assassination Classroom). And One-me Two-hearts (or however that’s punctuated) by Hitorie, from Divine Gate (an anime I’m not really loving, but that song <3). Currently though, I’ve got my happiest/angriest playlist on, which basically consists of melodic yelling. It’s just one of those nights.
  • X-FILES UPDATE: I know I said I was going to write a sum-up kind of post regarding my X-Files experience, but I decided that might be better after the revival finishes airing. So. Look forward to that!
  • Go-to method of procrastination: Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. Anime, manga, as ever. I also cooked for the Mulder clan, which took way longer than expected.

Thanks for reading, especially as I try to iron out what’s working from week to week, and how I want this whole blogging thing to go.

Allison

Friday Check-in: X-Files, Miss Fisher, and Fickle Phones

This week, I have an accomplishment to share.

In news that will probably excite anyone who’s had to endure my livetweeting for the last month or so, I finally finished my first watch-through of The X-Files. All nine seasons. Apparently more than 200 episodes. I can now fully embrace the legacy of my last name… I’d say more about that, but I’m thinking of writing a [non-check-in] blog post at some point in the next week, which would be a momentous occasion in its own right… We’ll see!

Another highlight of the week include the return of my phone, which has turned out to be a fickle creature who rebels against me, then cozies up to the Fix-it Guy in town.

I also just started watching/livetweeting Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries to wean myself off of X-Files, and since I promised myself I could start another episode after posting this blog… Let’s make this fast!

 

Week 3

CURRENT KEY

  1. Gold – 1 hr revision (WEEK TOTAL:  9 hrs)
  2. Blue – draft 500 new words (WEEK TOTAL: 0 words aside from revision bits)
  3. Green – read 100 pages (WEEK TOTAL: 500 pages)
  4. Red – 1/2 hr studying Japanese (WEEK TOTAL:  7 hrs)
  5. Silver – blog post (WEEK TOTAL: 1)
  6. NOT PICTURED – I’m tracking exercise and adult-like responsibilities in a separate baby-sized calendar also courtesy of Easter Seals.(WEEK TOTAL FOR EXERCISE: 3 times).

Points of Note:

  • Green Star Reads for this week: NIMONAby Noelle Stevenson, (Great! Loved how it progressed. There is also a surprising “cute” : “joyous murder” ratio which I liked). Finished THE ANATOMY OF CURIOSITY, by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, & Brenna Yovanoff. (The exact message I sent to my best friend afterward was: “I feel deliciously fragile after finishing Anatomy of Curiosity because it’s one of THOSE kinds of books that gets me pumped and terrified about writing”). I also started THE SCORPION RULES, by Erin Bow (more goats than I expected, but about the same amount of political intrigue. Basically, it’s my aesthetic so far),  and the textbook for my online class (which I am counting in order to motivate myself to read it).
  • SOUNDTRACK OF THE WEEK: I’ve been quite enjoying the most recent albums by Daughter, Panic at the Disco, and Of Monsters And Men.
  • X-FILES EPS REMAINING PRE-REVIVAL: None! Done! The revival is in full swing!
  • Go-to method of procrastination: Fretting about broken phones (fixed now). Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.

To sum it all up, this was a week of short story revision and lots of Japanese flashcards smuggled into the hours I spent watching X-Files.

I realize these may be boring for anyone but me, but like I said, have a few ideas for some non-check-in blog posts, so look forward to that…or just go scroll through my Miss Fisher’s Murder Mystery tweets, which are way more entertaining.

Thanks for reading!

Allison

Dual Catastrophe: NBD but Very Annoying

This week–the second I’m tracking via the Star-Sticker Calendar Method–was much less productive than Week 1, but I think I have a few very good excuses.

First, I went on a trip to my home campus to participate in a Career Boot Camp thing where they attempt to give Seniors an inkling of how to better Adult beyond the bosom of our alma mater. This trip did not include wifi or a great deal of free time.

Second, while on my home campus I popped in to the registrar to resolve that nagging feeling I’d had that I should have more confirmation of my early-graduated status.

“Perhaps I will have to fill out a form,” I thought.

I did not have to fill out a form. I actually have to take one more online class to get all the credits I need, which somehow both me and my adviser missed until now.

*heavy sigh*

Third, in the middle of this credit-stress, my phone decided to die, thus shoving me bodily from the frying pan to the searing, wifi-less fire.

It has not been a great week in Allison-town. More specifically, it has been a cranky week in Allison-town, full of phone calls and emails and sorting through headaches. But now? Phone fixed. Course registered. Fresh cookies on the counter… I’m doin’ much better now.

So I’m giving myself a free pass for a less than stellar productivity week.

I did start some revisions on a short story I’m increasingly proud of, especially since I unearthed the perfect title (a rare occasion for me).

Week 2
Week 2

CURRENT KEY

  1. Gold – 1 hr revision (WEEK TOTAL:  6 hrs)
  2. Blue – draft 500 new words (WEEK TOTAL: 500 words + odds & ends from revision)
  3. Green – read 100 pages (WEEK TOTAL: ~300 pages)
  4. Red – 1/2 hr studying Japanese (WEEK TOTAL:  5 hrs)
  5. Silver – blog post (WEEK TOTAL: 1)
  6. NOT PICTURED – I’m tracking exercise and adult-like responsibilities in a separate baby-sized calendar also courtesy of Easter Seals. (WEEK TOTAL FOR EXERCISE: 2 times).

Points of Note:

  • Green Star Reads for this week: DAUGHTERS UNTO DEVILSby Amy Lukavics (Good for a quick scare, something about the climax fell flat for me) + 56 pages of THE 5TH WAVE, by Rick Yancey (DNF for now, might give it a shot some other time), and the beginnings of THE ANATOMY OF CURIOSITY, by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, & Brenna Yovanoff.
  • SOUNDTRACK OF THE WEEK: Predictably, Hamilton, random Japanese music, and my film score playlist.
  • X-FILES EPS REMAINING PRE-REVIVAL: 20 + a movie. We’re in the home stretch now.
  • Go-to method of procrastination: Fretting about broken phones. Fretting about college. Making cookie dough.

And, that’s the week! Thanks for reading. Maybe someday I will write a non-recap blog post in the middle of the week. We’ll see.

Allison

Star Stickers: The Force-Myself-to-do-Things Awakens

DAWN OF A NEW BLOG

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I started a blog and then vanished into the mysterious depths of cyberspace. A New Order arose in my absence…namely, my urge to try Victoria Schwab’s star-sticker calendar method of tracking productivity. To ensure at least one blog post a week, I decided to do a check-in of this star-sticker calendar every seven days.

This is that check-in.

*insert Star Wars theme here*

 

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Calendar courtesy of Easter Seals, where I interned last semester

I feel like Week 1 of January went well, though I may simply need to tweak my key a bit.

CURRENT KEY

  1. Gold – 1 hr revision (WEEK TOTAL: 5 hrs)
  2. Blue – draft 500 new words (WEEK TOTAL: 6,000 words)
  3. Green – read 100 pages (WEEK TOTAL: 1,200 pages)
  4. Red – 1/2 hr studying Japanese in the super-casual, inefficient, self-guided way I am learning it (WEEK TOTAL: 6 hrs)
  5. Silver – blog post (WEEK TOTAL: 1)
  6. NOT PICTURED – I’m tracking exercise and adult-like responsibilities in a separate baby-sized calendar also courtesy of Easter Seals. (WEEK TOTAL FOR EXERCISE: 5 times, which is good because I’ve neglected that recently).

Points of Note:

  • The circled green stars are for when I finished reading a book (though I may tweak that tracking method later). This week’s green stars represent THE WALLS AROUND US, by Nova Ren Suma, (Riveting! Creepy! Relevant to my writing interests!). SLASHER GIRLS & MONSTER BOYS, stories selected by Genevieve Tucholke, (Also creepy! Loved almost all of the stories, by some great authors!). And ILLUMINAE, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Probably my favorite of the week. I love stories crafted from pieced-together documents, and I respect a story that can truly surprise me, since I have a tendency to guess twists often). I’d recommend them all.
  • The cluster of impressive blue stars was a new short story I whipped out on a whim. My blue stars are currently worth 500 new words drafted, but I’m considering bumping them up to 1,000 words, because I remembered that I’m a fast, wordy drafter. Then again, I like impressive clusters of drafting stars.
  • The little scrappy garbage pieces stuck on in the last few days represent one-and-done tasks I finally got around to after putting them off for ages. Not sure if I’ll continue doing that, but I like the idea of a way to track all the little things I accomplish while procrastinating my big tasks. If I do keep it, I’m thinking gold squares will represent long-overdue, open-ended things. Blue is for when I promptly get something done right after adding it to my To Do list. And Red blips are for tasks I get done when pressed right up against a deadline. Hopefully, I will not get too many red blips.
  • SOUNDTRACK OF THE WEEK: Flipping between random Japanese music and my film score playlist.
  • X-FILES EPS REMAINING PRE-REVIVAL: 40
  • Go-to method of procrastination: Playing 999 and Undertale as Lil Bro tries to get me into videogames.

In summary, this mixture of visible progress and public shaming seems to be highly effective. The one area I’ve completely neglected this week is my job search, which I really need to designate a sticker for.

If you’ve got any questions about my process or my week in review, feel free to comment. Ditto with thoughts on the books I’ve been reading, the X-Files I’ve been watching, or anything else that comes to mind.

Praise is welcome, as are inspiringly derisive comments about how I really could be revising more.

Thanks for reading, and here’s hoping this next week will be productive for all of us.

May the force be with you.

Allison

Optimistic Like Eeyore: Resolutions…Again

IMG_20151113_162437
Chicago from the Skydeck – btw I worked in Sears / Willis Tower

I make no promises about 2016. Only resolutions.

Blogging has gone poorly for me in the past, which is to say that it has not “gone” at all. It’s never been at the top of my To Do list, I get hesitant posting opinions because *GASP* someone might disagree! I also have a horrible habit of thinking I’m clever in the moment, and deeply regretting all my word (and life) choices later on.

But hey. It’s a new year. I just spent a semester – my last semester of college – in Chicago, the first big city I’ve ever lived in. I just got paid for the short story in Crossed Genres that was my first professional sale (more than I expected, because I am bad at math and decimal points are important).

A very new portion of my life is starting. The kind of portion I won’t be able to measure in semesters. So, I’ve got one big blanket resolution to cover at least this first part of that.

As penance for currently being a bum on my parents’ couch, I will attempt to improve myself in a broad range of areas during the period I’m looking for a job.

  • (Finally) finish revising #FairyPrisonBook, enough to query
  • Write / Revise / Submit short stories. Heaps of them, if possible
  • Read at least 60 books. I read 63 in 2015 (twice the consistently-terrible 30 I read for three consecutive years before that). I know I can still do better.
  • Attempt to make new strides in the field of hair, make-up, cooking, etc. All of the areas I have historically neglected
  • Exercise, because I’m at peace with myself in general, but I do feel a lot healthier when I work out regularly
  • Continue trying to teach myself Japanese, but more diligently. Like, find an actual system to do so
  • Actually blog, once a week if not more.

To help accomplish these goals, I’ll be tracking them using a version of the sticker-calendar method touted by one of my favorite authors, Victoria Schwab.

Specific to that last goal, maybe I will blog a picture of my productivity calendar once a week, so I will have at least one update (plus some accountability for tracking things).

That’s a big maybe, though.

I am optimistic about the year ahead, but kind of in the way that Eeyore might be optimistic about the year ahead.

Really though. Happy New Year ♥

Signing off,

Allison

P.S. I forgot one last resolution, but this has been ongoing. I have about 70 episodes (+ movie) of X-Files to watch for the first time before the revival airs on January 24. Basically, I’m watching three episodes a day. And quite despite myself, I’m livetweeting all of it.

I have a life