Scheduling My Life

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Via Pinterest

Summer is (unfortunately) coming to a close. School is going to start back up whether we like it or not; which means I’m going to have to go back to work.

I love my job; I love the kids and my co-workers. The hours are ideal even though the pay could be better (isn’t that like every other job?).

Despite that, I have to admit that I’m dreading going back to work. I’ve gotten a lot done this summer when it comes to my blog, my writing, and even reading. I’ve had a good system going and I’m afraid that all of that is going to be–for lack of a better word–ruined once work starts back up.

I work Monday through Friday for six and half hours each day. I’m also going to be babysitting three afternoons a week right after work. That’s a new family, too. I’m sure I’ll be babysitting for the other family as well, so it’s possible I may be babysitting four or five days a week.

Plus, Sunday school is going to start up as well. So that’s another thing on my to-do list.

My biggest concern is that I’m not going to be able to keep up with my writing. I love teaching, but writing is what I really want to do for a career. It’s hard to balance starting that while needing to have a day job–plus more.

I decided a schedule for myself about a month ago. I kept to it for about a week and then I went on vacation; twice. So I never really got a chance to test it out.

I don’t start back to work until the second week of September. So until then I’m going to try out this schedule and see how it goes. That way I can get as much done as I can before work starts and also–hopefully–be able to ease the two schedules together when the time comes.

Sunday: Sunday school plans; I want to write my lesson plans well in advance. That way I can leave Sundays open. I can write, blog, do extra Sunday school things, or relax and have a day off.

Monday-Thursday & Saturday: Write; Before or after work/babysitting, I want to get at least one or two hours of writing or editing done. For Saturdays, Kris and I will hopefully still have the opportunity to go to Barnes & Noble and write. That will give me a good couple of hours to get some things done.

Friday: Blog; My posts for Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday are the only posts that are not planned and not written in advance. All the other days are planned and written ahead of time so I just have to hit the “publish” button on WordPress and be on my merry way. I hope to spend an hour or two on Fridays working on blog posts. That way I can have a few weeks done in advance.

Balancing writing with a day job and life in general is tough; especially when you have a lot on your plate and many ambitions like I do.

How do you schedule your writing to fit in with your day job?

 

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Writerly Weekend

Friday: Work was a normal day with the kids, but once they left we celebrated with a surprise baby shower for two of my co-workers; one is a teacher in another classroom and the other is the school’s nurse. After work, it was just me and Dad home so we went out to eat together. We ran into a couple of old friends who we haven’t seen in ages. We didn’t talk long, but it was still nice to see them and know they’re doing well.

Saturday: Kris and I decided that we were going to have a huge writing day! We went to Barnes & Noble per usual and decided to try to stay as long as possible so we could get a lot of writing done. We ended up staying for an extra… it doesn’t seem like much, but we both ended up getting a lot more done than we usually do. I wrote about 7,000 words for my CampNaNoWriMo novel.

To top off the day, we went out with our other sister and friend to see the movie “Home.” I have to say that it was a wonderful movie. Absolutely adorable. And I want my own little pet alien.

Sunday: I went to church. I only had one kid in my Sunday school class. I wasn’t expecting anyone to show up because it was the week after Easter. Instead of doing a lesson, I decided to tidy the room up a bit. I told her she could play and she got really excited and asked to organize the blocks. The blocks take up a few shelves in a corner of the room and it always looks like that corner threw up. So, I told her to go for it. She did a really nice job with it, too. It took her the entire hour and she still didn’t finish.

I didn’t get any writing done on Sunday. After writing 7k on Saturday, I needed a bit of a break from my novel. I did however get some more Sunday school things done because I’m hoping to build a new curriculum for next year as well as start a new blog for it. So, at least I can say I did something productive.

This Week: This week is going to be like any other week. I’m going to try to get my homework done as soon as I can so I can write more of my Camp NaNo novel. I also have to edit the second part of Detective Florence by Wednesday so I can send that into my writing group.

Other than doing homework and keeping up with writing/editing and blogging, not too much is going on this week.

How was your weekend?

Birthday Weekend

Friday: Friday seemed like a long day. I was anxiously awaiting to get out of work not only for the weekend, but so I could get to my friend’s house. My friend had a baby about a month ago and I was just meeting the baby for the first time. It was a good afternoon because I got to hold a baby (it’s been a long time) and I got to see my friend. I haven’t seen her since her baby shower back in November. I have school and work to thank for that.

Friday night I came home and worked on my writing group’s critiques. They were due Saturday morning, so I naturally left them until the last minute. It’s funny how deadlines creep up on you.

Saturday: I had my first writing group meeting. Technically was the second one, but Kris and I missed the first due to a prior commitment. We were nervous, but it went really well. Including the two of us, there’s seven of us total. Small, but I like it that way. It was good to have my work being read and critiqued by others than family. I got great feedback, both positive and negative. The next step is to edit that part again so I can edit the second part and send that for next month.

My cousin had a birthday party to go to so I went with my mom to drop her off and then we were food shopping. For once, we finished shopping in a timely manner and then had an hour to kill while we waited for my cousin’s party to be over. Once we got home, my mom thought it would be a good idea to go out to dinner. Kris and my dad didn’t feel like going, so Mom and I went to Panera. I was barely home on Saturday and wasn’t able to get anything done I originally planned. However, I spent the majority of the day with my mother (and we don’t get a lot of time to do that often) so it was good.

That night we gave my mom her birthday gifts early. We got her a Blu-Ray player and a new iPad. So I think she was pretty content.

Sunday: It was my mother’s birthday, plus Palm Sunday. So we went to church, which was extra long because the service was an extra half hour and then the Sunday school kids had their annual Easter egg hunt. We ended up being at church for an extra hour.

I took my Spanish quiz (that again, I left until the last minute) and then we went out to dinner. There was 11 of us for dinner and the waitress was slow and not very good, so we were there for a little while. We went to The Outback, so I can’t complain–the food is always awesome.

Then we went back to my house for cake for Mom’s birthday.

Overall, it was a great weekend. Busy, but relaxing at the same time.

This Week: I need to outline a bit more for my Camp NaNo novel. Camp starts in two days. With that being said, I need to finish my homework in a timely manner. Plus, I need to work on my Detective Florence manuscript for my writing group.

April is going to be a busy month; especially when it comes to writing. I hope I’m able to get a routine down and stick with it–even if it’s just for the month.

How was your weekend?

Inspiration Explanation

For those of you who read my March: Inspiration Board post two days ago, I wanted to explain further on some of my Pinterest boards and why those things inspire me to be who I am today.

It’s one thing for me to give you a link to my Pinterest and say, “These are all the things I enjoy. I hope you enjoy them, too!”

However, it’s another thing for me to say, “I pinned this because…”

I have a Writing board. I don’t know if you guys know this, but if I didn’t write I would go insane. I need my imaginary friends and I need to go to new places and be in different situations, real or fiction. I also have a Reading board. That inspires me to write. It inspires me to create my own worlds and create my own characters for others to love and enjoy. Reading and writing go hand-in-hand and one inspires me to do the other.

I have a Sunday School board. I am a teacher and the director of my church’s Sunday school. I love teaching to no end and while I don’t particular enjoy going to church (I can’t sit still long enough to get through an hour-long service), I love broadening the horizons of the church’s children. Because I’m just teaching them about God, Jesus, and the Bible, I’m teaching them about life.

Speaking of, I also have a Teaching board. I’ve been teaching preschool for four years and I can’t imagine myself not waking up in the morning to not see those kids every day. I have to ability to teach them a lot and I learn a lot from them, as well.

There are many different TV shows and movies that inspire me as well. Once Upon A Time, The Lord of the RingsHarry PotterPsych, and many more. I have boards for each of those. The characters are amazing and the writers are brilliant.

The same goes for video games; especially The Legend of Zelda and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. I hope to be able to write stories just as well as these game and the movies/shows mentioned above.

I obviously can’t explain all 93 boards to you, but those are the main ones. Those are what make me who I am today and I’m always going to keep growing into someone better. Now you guys know me a little bit better.

I hope you guys are inspired by a lot of things in the world just like I am.

March: Inspiration Board

The March #YearOfHappy was to create an inspiration board. The idea was to create an actual board and hang it somewhere where you can look and admire it every day.

I’ll admit I cheated with this one.

I decided to use my virtual board, so to speak. I add things on there all the time, so why not share it with everyone here? It has everything on there that inspires me. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have a board for it.

That’s right… I’m talking about my Pinterest.

I currently have 93 boards. All are things that inspire me. Here are just a few:

Writing (I have writing, research, vocabulary, names, editing, characters, and blogging)
Teaching (I have a general teaching board, plus many different units in their own individual boards, plus special education)
Sunday School
Reading (I even have a board for the books I’ve read)

Considering that I have 93 boards, that’s not even a dent. I have different video game boards like Pokemon and The Legend of Zelda as well as different movies (The Lord of the Rings) and TV shows (Once Upon A Time).

All 93 boards inspire me in more ways than one. If you don’t know me personally, you would just need to look at my Pinterest profile and you’ll get to know to me in an instant.

So, if you want to see the kinds of things I love then I suggest you check out my Pinterest profile.

I add to my boards all the time and I’m sure there will be more than 93 boards in time.

Inspiration

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Via Pinterest

I started thinking a bit about my inspiration board for the March #YearOfHappy. The more I thought about it, the more complex it got. Who knew it could actually be difficult to figure out what inspires you?

Anything can inspire you and it can inspire you to do different things.

What inspires me to wake up and go to work every morning? My wonderful co-workers who are fun to work with and teach me a lot. My students who are always able to put a smile on my face and push me to do my best in helping them. My paychecks because otherwise I wouldn’t be able to go to school and when that’s all paid for, I wouldn’t be able to save up for a new car.

What inspires me to go to school? What inspires me to go to church every week and teach Sunday school? What inspires me to babysit? What inspires me to read, write, and blog?

There are so many questions, but I feel as though there are way more answers (which is a good thing).

Maybe someday I’ll do a more elaborate post about everything that inspires me to… well, live my life. For the March inspiration board (which will be posted in about two weeks) I think I’m going to focus on what inspires me to write. Maybe I’ll continue and do more inspiration boards about everything else in my life afterwards.

After all, inspiration is everywhere.

Long Weekend

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Via Pinterest

This past weekend lasted three days thanks to our good friend Martin Luther King, Jr. I know a lot of people who are thankful for him because we get a day off from work/school, but there is so much more meaning behind the holiday than that.

I had an eventful weekend. It was busy, but in a good way. However, I can’t seem to remember Friday. I think I worked Friday and then came home and did nothing. I think Kris and I ended up playing Hyrule Warriors for a good chunk of the night.

Saturday we went to Barnes and Noble. She hand edited the first draft of her novel while I typed up the next draft of Detective Florence 2. We then went to Staples because we needed ink for our printer and we bought red pens because… why not? We went home and I spent the next 2-3 hours planning my Sunday school lesson plan for the following day. I was printing stuff out and my laptop kept losing internet so the connection to the wireless printer kept getting interrupted. I wasted a lot of paper… and ink that we just bought.

I babysat Saturday night for two kids I had at my old preschool. They kept talking about Martin Luther King, Jr. which was nice to hear they were learning about him in school. The 4-year-old told me, “Everyone has skin, but not everyone has the same skin.” Yes, I think that sums it up quite nicely.

Sunday morning I had church and my Sunday school class. The kids were off the wall, but I guess that’s expected from a long weekend. After church I dusted my bedroom and office and just did a bit of organizing. I planned on getting more cleaning done, but I didn’t. While my parents watched football, Kris and I watched two episodes of House Hunters before talking for the next 4-5 hours about writing, friends, high school, life, etc.

I’m including today in the weekend since I did not have work and I have to say it was mighty productive. My parents were out all day, so Kris and I went to Starbucks in the morning and then came home to edit. We’re both in the process of typing up the second draft of our novels. Then we went out for lunch, walked around Barnes and Noble for a bit (because we’re obviously not there enough), then went back home to write/edit some more. I typed up over 10k words of my draft and I’m still going. I just wanted to post on here before I forgot/it got too late.

Tomorrow is Tuesday the 20th which means back to work and… back to school for me. This means starting tomorrow I have to get myself in a new routine and add homework into the mix of everything else. On the bright side, it’s my last semester! Let’s pray I get through it safe and sound.

How was your weekend?

Goodbye 2014!

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Via Pinterest

I feel like I wrote Goodbye, 2013! just yesterday. I blinked and now the end of 2014 is here and 2015 is right around the corner. Time sure does fly.

Last year, I decided to go through all my blog posts for 2013 and highlight them in one post in an attempt to recap and say goodbye to 2013. I am going to do that again to say goodbye to 2014.

Let’s see what happened in 2014…

January:
-I went over my New Year’s resolutions
-I continued to write Detective Florence and completed it
-I came up with the Short Story Sunday feature on my blog
-I started writing Inspiration Station
-I had a schedule of writing 5,000 words a day and changed it to writing 5,000 words Monday-Thursday, editing Friday-Saturday, and relaxing on Sunday
-I discovered the Reading Bingo and challenged myself to it
-It was Kris’s birthday

February:
-I decided to write only 1,000 words a day when school started
-I completed two Reading Bingo squares by reading Coming Clean and The Hobbit
-I continued to post my Short Story Sunday throughout the month

March:
-I planned on editing more than writing to help prepare for April’s Camp NaNoWriMo
-I completed another Reading Bingo square by reading I, Robot
-I was nominated for the Liebster Award

April:
-Camp NaNoWriMo started and I wrote Diary of A Killer
-I discovered the website Noisli
-I was nominated for the Beautiful Blogger Award and the Howler Award
-Easter happened plus I was busy with work and school… I got behind on Camp NaNoWriMo
-I got 1,000 followers on Spilled Ink

May:
-I lost Camp NaNoWriMo
-I discussed what “Success” is
-I joined Critique Circle
-It was Spilled Ink’s two-year anniversary

June:

–Edited Detective Florence in preparation of Camp NaNo

July:

–Camp NaNo: wrote Detective Florence 2
Trying to balance life, writing, work, school, etc.
–I accidentally saved over my Camp NaNo novel (150 pages and 44k words) with my Short Story Sunday with five days left of Camp NaNo
–I wrote 50k in five days to beat Camp NaNo

August:

–I beat Camp NaNo in, more or less, five days
–I updated my Reading Bingo with many novels
–I discussed how my English degree is basically in nothing
–I got a new job
–Lucky Seven Challenge with Detective Florence 2
–I currently had 15 WIPs… yikes.
–I came up with a writing schedule for the rest of the year
–I went to Disney and discovered the “Writer’s Stop” store and met Peter Pan
–Reality checked back in after vacation with school starting, work, Sunday school, etc.
–I wanted to enter some contests, but missed the deadlines

September:

–I turned 21
–School started with a few creative writing classes
–Cookie the Beagle joined the family
–I tried to come up with a routine to balance homework, writing, etc.
–I discuss why I became a teacher, go to school, became a teacher/director or the Sunday school, write, etc.
–I updated everything in my life with my sister’s wedding coming up as well as November NaNo.

October:

–I decided to edit Take Over and plan to write Far Away for NaNo
–I started editing Take Over which I noticed I’ve grown as a writer in the past year or so
–I watched “Authors Anonymous” and the screenwriter contacted me. It also inspired a new potential story idea
–I watched a NaNo video on Blurb
–I decided to give myself a reward of one dollar for every 1,000 words I write for NaNo
–I changed my mind again and decided to write short stories for NaNo

November:

–I bought a new fish named Nano
–NaNoWriMo started and I wrote Short Story Collection and came up with new ideas for novels
–I did my best in balancing homework with NaNo
–I planned on finishing NaNo by Thanksgiving and did it
–I came up with a new novel idea called Fire and Ice
–I won NaNo
–Thanksgiving happened and I made a list of all I’m thankful for
–I compared NaNo 2013 to this year’s NaNo
–I edited while on vacation and discussed how that’s the best time to write

December:

–I came up with a plan for my Detective Florence series
–I finished typing the second draft of Detective Florence
–I wrapped up yet another semester of my Bachelor’s degree and made it out alive and with good grades
–I hand edited the first draft of Detective Florence 2
–I changed the title of my blog, bought the domain name from WordPress, and made some slight layout changes

So much has happened in one year. Some good, some bad, but I think it was mostly good. I’m happy to be where I am right now. I have a wonderful job, I’m going to school, and I’m on my way with my writing. There’s nothing for me to complain about.

Here’s to another great year in 2015!

Updates

I think it’s about time I’ve gotten myself into a routine, don’t you think? I haven’t been about to blog in a while. I haven’t even had a chance to really write anything in a while. Between school and work, life has been pretty hectic. So here are a few updates about my life. I think if I write them down it’ll help me sort everything out so I can get myself back on track.

Work:
While it’s nice that I’m just a teacher’s aide, it still saps up a lot of time and energy. I only have to be at work when the kids are there (which means I only work from 8 in the morning until 2:30 in the afternoon). I don’t have to do any prepping outside of work and I’m not obligated to go to any staff meetings (I still go, but it’s nice to have the choice). Once 2:30 hits, I’m done. But… I’m in the second lowest class. My kids are still learning how to talk (yes, they’re three- and four-years-old). It takes up a lot of energy and by the time I get home, I’m exhausted. I don’t want to write, I don’t want to do homework, I just want to watch mindless TV or sleep.

School:
I think I could discuss this forever. I think the topic of my school should be its own blog post, but I’ll spare you the boring details. I’m taking five online classes all of which give me a lot of homework. Well… it’s actually not bad and the assignments are “easy”, but a good amount of the them are very time consuming. I have to sit down and split my assignments into five days so I can finish my homework by Friday (even though they’re all due Sunday) so I can have the weekend to myself and also not feel like the homework is never-ending. My psych class virtually gives me no work, which is kind of nice. My Authors class (Tolkien and Rowling) gives me a ton. Most of it is reading, but if you’ve ever read The Lord of the Rings, you know how heavy that book is. Add Harry Potter and other online reading to that plus written assignments and you’ve got a pretty good idea of all the work I have to do for that class. My Place class is a normal amount of work, but I have no motivation to do it. My Spanish class is a decent amount of work. However it’s an accelerated class. So that ends the beginning of November instead of the middle of December like my other classes. This week is Week Five out of 14 and I was bummed. Then I realized for Spanish, I’m already halfway done because that class is only ten weeks long. So school should calm down in a little bit at least. I got a new professor for my Fiction class because my other professor had surgery. The professor is the guy who I had last semester for my Creative Writing class. He’s great, so I’m happy with the change. My homework level might dwindle down with him being in charge, which is a plus.

Sunday School:
Sunday school started up again with me as the director of the program and also one of the teachers. We’ve had two classes so far and I still need to write my lesson plans. So, that’s how that’s going. I’ve been more focused on my homework, so I haven’t really had time to work on Sunday school, but it’s definitely on my to-do list.

Babysitting:
I’m babysitting twice a week immediately after work. Two hours on Monday and three and a half hours on Thursday. Thursday I’m basically in the car the entire time, so that’s wonderful. I try to bring some homework with me to do while the kids do their own homework, but I don’t really get that much done. Then I go home around dinner time and crash.

Blogging:
I’ve started putting together a schedule for myself to make sure I keep up with this blog. I was doing pretty well until school and work started… I have a few ideas and changes for Spilled Ink, but that won’t be coming until 2015. Until then, here’s to trying to post a few times a week!

Writing:
Remember I had that schedule for myself? It was for editing Detective Florence, the first novel and the second one? Then outline the third one and write that for November’s NaNoWriMo? Well, let’s just say I haven’t gotten very far with that at all due to homework. I tried waking up early to write/edit for an hour each day, but I became too exhausted to keep that up. So I need to figure something else out. I’ve slowly been trying to figure out a schedule for myself, so there will be more on that later. (In other words… stay tuned for tomorrow’s post.)

So there you have it. This has been my life lately and I didn’t even include the fact that my house looks like it exploded because we’re painting four rooms and also the last minute things I have to do for my sister’s wedding, which is about three weeks away. Fun stuff going on over here! So, I’m in the middle of trying to figure out a new routine for myself; especially since October is creeping fast and I need to figure out what I’m doing for NaNoWriMo. This will be interesting.

Why I Do What I Do

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.