Life After Grad School

*waves sheepishly from slumped down position in chair*

Hello. I know it’s been FOREVER since I posted here. I haven’t forgotten about my blog. Nope. I’ve just been super busy. Not a fantastic excuse, but when you’re working on a thesis it’s what happens. 
Well, I am totally done with my thesis! 
Some of you may have forgotten or are new here and may be asking, “What was your thesis?”
It was (and it still exists but now as my WIP) a YA novel that is a little bit urban fantasy. I say a little bit because it’s not so much urban, but its not high fantasy. However, that is a discussion for another day! (Along with writing a YA novel, I also had to write a 12-15 page paper that went with it. That got me doing a good bit of research on the whole “urban fantasy” category).
Okay, so my thesis is done. What have I been doing since then?
Trying to figure life out. And reading whatever I want! 
So…. trying to figure life out is not super fun. I mean, I love life. I love my husband and where we are in our lives right now, but I have this thesis and MFA and I need to do something with it. That means trying to figure life (as a future author) out. 
I am starting the querying process and trying to find an agent. Why do I need an agent? Why not just straight to an editor? Well, the market keeps changing and it’s good to have someone on your team. I’ll write a whole blog post about why you need an agent and my querying process. 
Now, reading whatever I want.
Holy crap. I haven’t been able to do that since… I don’t know, like, middle school. I’ve always gone to fairly competitive schools and have always had a pretty heavy reading list handed out to me at the beginning of each semester or summer.
But now. Now I don’t. 
It’s been amazing! Right, so there’s a phrase “happy as a kid in a candy store.” That’s me. It’s not candy though. It’s books. If you’d like to keep up with my reviews and whatnot you should check out my articles on CultureMass. Also, I have a goodreads widget that keeps track of what books I’m reading this year (just incase you’re dying to know….)
So. Now that I have free time I’m planning on posting a good bit more. I promise. For real this time.   
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BWAAAAAA!

Okay, so this is me freaking out a bit.

I really wanted to keep up with the Top Ten Tuesday. I really did. It’s been super fun and easy to do several posts at once in advance… but I just can’t commit to it anymore.

I’m sorry to say, but I really just can’t commit to my blog right now. Here’s a list of what on my plate….

  • Thesis (research, reading models, planning, writing, thinking…)
  • Reading
  • This writing project I’m doing with some Peace Core Volunteers where I write a short story (in English) based on the town/village that these children live in in Ethiopia
  • The 12-15 page paper that goes along with the novel portion of my thesis
  • Housework/ being a non-slacker partner to Husband (who has been working 12 hour shifts on top of school and is just plain worn out) and trying to keep some order in the house to balance the chaos of his schedule
  • My job
  • Having a life
  • Oh… and sleep

That’s a lot on one plate. And look, my blog isn’t even on it. Oh, and I’m going to be helping my buddy Cameron and some others out with a new entertainment blog that launches in March. The only reason that that isn’t stressing me out is that it’s not a whole blog/project that is on my shoulders alone. I get to make up lists and whatnot. On this blog I feel that I have a bit of a difference audience. I know that some of you enjoy the personal aspects of the blog and I do to…

I also enjoy writing about the books I’ve been reading. But that’s not happening.

Last night I did finish Paper Valentine one of the books on my 2013 Top Ten that’s being released this year. It was…okay. I stuck with it because a lot of the relationships in the book were similar to ones in mine and I wanted to see how the author went about showing these relationships and not just telling

Okay… whew. I would say I feel better but it’s late, I need to unload the dishwasher and write one more chapter before tomorrow and all I want to do is sleep.

WHEW! 

WHERE IS THE CAFFEINE DRIP WHEN I NEED ONE?    

Pressure

Right. So, this blog is a little bit about my life, a little bit about my writing/writing in general, and mostly about what it’s like being a creative writing grad student out in the “real” world.

Recently, I’ve been posting about life and hardships and inspirations and whatnot. Now I’m coming full circle back to writing.

I know what you’re thinking, “Ahhh – she’s a writer. It’s November. This is her National Novel Writing Month token post.”

Well, you’re wrong. I’m working on my thesis. I don’t have any time to write another novel on top of this one.

This is a thesis writing post.

Sorta.

Today has been brought to you by the letter “P”

P is for PRESSURE

Who is under pressure here? *I raise my hand*

Why – you may ask.

Well, I’ll tell you. So I rewrote chapter one. And it’s pretty awesome as far as I’m concerned. My thesis advisor even said it was some of the cleanest writing she’s ever seen from me. So naturally, I’m all like “woooooooo”

Then I sit down to write chapter 2. And the freaking cursor just sits there blinking on the damn page and no words are appearing.

Here’s what’s going through my head….

What if I can’t get back into that voice?”

What if my characters feel forced?”

“What if chapter 2 is not nearly as good as chapter one?”

“What if I can’t finish my thesis?”

“What if this is all I have in me?”

“What if this chapter is epically shorter than that last one?”

“WHAT WAS I THINKING?”

Yeah. It’s awesome. 

And really, who the fuck cares about most of that? Page count? I mean, come on…

Then I close the computer and read or watch TV and think, “Alright. All I need is a break. I just need some space.” 

ANNNNND then the cycle starts all over again. However this time it’s accompanied by that David Bowie and Queen song, Under Pressure.

You know, this one…

Well, I know how to beat the cycle! I will open the document and pretend that I’m not writing for my thesis. My masters degree doesn’t ride on this. No one else will see it. EVER. Just me. So really, all I need to do is have fun and write because it’s fun. Get back to the basics as it were. 

That’s what made chapter one so awesome. I was having FUN while writing it. 

This is a new plan of attack. We’ll see how it pans out… updates will follow.

Children and Thesis Writing

Ah. 
Children.
I don’t have any, but that doesn’t stop people from asking me (whenever I feel tired) “Oh, do you think your pregnant?” I suppose that question is fair game now that I’m married. 
However the answer is always, “No.”
But that doesn’t mean I don’t have a child… of sorts. 
I have a thesis. 
I’ve seen posts and things where people compare writing a novel to a bad relationship. I’m sure I’ve even done it myself.
But right now, I think my thesis writing (which IS writing a novel) is a bit more like having a baby. Disclaimer: I’ve never had a baby therefore my comparison is biased/uninformed. But here we go anyway.
How my thesis is like a baby…
  • It keeps me up at night
  • I have to check on it every few hours to make sure it’s okay
  • I don’t like leaving the house without it. What if it needs me while I’m gone?
  • It needs to be looked after, and worked on, ALL THE TIME
  • I can’t really think of anything else
  • Mostly, it’s the only thing people ask me about anymore
  • I love it
  • And kind-a wish I could give it to a baby(thesis)sitter for just a few hours so I could relax and just not worry about it
  • It keeps me from my housework 
  • I tend to forget why I walked into a certain room because I’m too busy pondering what the thesis may need next
  • I’ve put so much of myself into it
  • Once you start it your life will NEVER be the same
  • You really don’t just have any “me time” anymore
  • It needs to be nurtured to grow
  • Really, it’s the most ADORABLE thesis you’ve ever seen
  • It has a personality all of its own
  • Sometimes it does what it wants and just gets itself into trouble
  • Lastly, it consumes so much of my time/life/mind that I might be a little crazy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Thesis writing has been WHY I’ve been so MIA for the past…forever. And will be, until this spring. I hope. That is my goal. 
So, until then expect sporadic and random updates. Many of which may focus around my thesis, because really, it’s my life now.

Back to Reality

Yes, I lied.


I said that I would post (not regularly, but post none-the-less) this summer. Well, I didn’t. Sure, I posted a bit, but not enough to count.


I was super busy! This was my last summer to be on campus during my program and I wanted to make it count. And did I ever. I made tons of new friends, got lots of writing done, fell back in love with my novel/WIP/thesis, AND came to terms with the fact that I am a good writer.


For such a long time I felt like I wasn’t good enough. That the words that I put done on the page were just awful and that I’d never get a book deal. 


Well, I don’t feel that now. I reread a lot of my older stuff, stuff I typed up three months ago and with each key stroke would think, “This is shit. This is total and complete shit, but just get it on the page and then you can revise.” I don’t think that anymore. 


I need to believe in myself, because if I don’t then who the hell is going to? Yes, my super-amazing husband will always believe in me, and so will my family, but that is only enough when you believe in yourself. 


I’m stepping off of my soapbox now. 


Goals for this new “year.” I say year because by this time next year I will (hopefully) have my thesis done and will be looking for agents/ editors. Well, let me rephrase… Goal for this year. Work on my thesis/novel (it’s one in the same now) for AT LEAST one hour each day. I need to do that to get the last few chapter written and then begin the revision process before sending the revised chapters to my thesis advisor for notes and even more revision.





But it’s so exciting! There is an end in sight! I will have this  novel done soon, and before you know it you will be seeing it on the bookshelves at bookstores. Mark my words. I will continue to make salads and whatnot to help my husband with the finances but also so that I can focus on my work.


From here on out, my real job is my novel. My hobby is going and making money.