Academic Ghostwriting

Wow, I cannot believe how long it has been since I have written a post for this blog. Maybe I should wait until July so I can say it has been a year. Nah!

I’ve thought a lot about re-starting this blog. I had even written an article explaining one of the reasons why I stopped, but I never published it (I was looking for a job and was paranoid about publishing opinions or thoughts that would prevent potential employers from wanting to hire me. See, I was under the assumption that my blog was anonymous because my real name is not associated with it anywhere, except I have several blogs, a couple of which no one has EVER visited. Then one day, I had a visit on all my blogs. I figured it was potential employer. It freaked me out that they could know my inner most thoughts without having ever met me. But I digress.)

I have a job now. Yay? I hate it and I feel like I am wasting my time. *looks over shoulder to see if present employer knows about this blog and is reading this post*

I shouldn’t complain, I know. My job is not THAT bad, but I have some concerns… Anyway, I am making small steps at changing my situation. It was hard looking for a job when I had a time crunch, which makes looking for a new job now even that much more like pulling teeth. You would think that my contempt for what I am doing would spur me on, but alas, my procrastination and laziness win out more often than I would like to admit.

Back to the point. Continue reading

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Categories: Academia, Miscellaneous | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Day 1

Well, I have no outline. No scene list. No complete list of main characters. And, there are some serious decisions I still need to make.

BUT, I have 1,760 words towards my goal of 50,000. Yay, me!

I took care of my other responsibilities before I allowed myself to write today. I really want to accomplish this NaNo goal, but I really, really need a job. So, I applied to a job (which took longer than anticipated. I swear those online job applications are designed like weeder courses: they frustrate applications to see who is really serious about applying for the job). I already know which job I wanted to apply for today. Tomorrow will be busy with some other commitments, but I need to find a job, apply to it, go grocery shopping AND find 2.5 hours to pump out my 1,667 words. Think I’ll be able to sustain my productivity throughout July?

I am not wholly sure I understand why I’ve been dragging my feet with this job search thing. Well, part of it is wondering how I am going to ever get anything not job-related done once I have a full-time job: my days pass so quickly and seem so full of obligations rights now. When will I have time to clean? When will I have time to cook? When will I have time to wash clothes? Am I supposed to fit all that into the weekend? I also know part of it is because I am scared of having an 8 to 5 job. I spent the past 10 1/2 years in grad school, which essentially means I set my own schedule. I’m scared of being in the “real” work force. But I also want to be able to buy a house sometime in the near future and be able to start a family. So, I’ve made it a goal this month to write 1,667 words of my novel every day, but before I can do that, I need to apply to at least one job. Every day. Maybe that isn’t enough. Maybe I should be applying to more jobs in a day. But, at least one job app a day is better than one job app a month, which is what I have been averaging. Although, come August, if I still do not have a job, I am going to start freaking out about not having a job. At that point maybe I will start spamming.

Sometimes family members give me advice, but I know that, at the moment at least, it is my own fault I can’t find a job: I’m not really looking very hard. I’ve never had to look that hard for a job before. I’ve been really lucky about things falling in my lap. Well, that and finding teaching assistant gigs followed a regular pattern. I have been really lucky. But, the job market sucks now and I’ve never looked for a “real” job before. I keep telling myself it doesn’t have to be the job I stay in, and if I don’t like what I end up doing I can look for something else. In the meantime, though, I need a salary so I’ll still be able to pay the bills come August. My modus operandi is usually to wait until the last minute and let the deadline stress spur me towards my goal. Well, I keep waiting for that kick in, but it hasn’t yet. I don’t really want to be stressed, but I also would like it to kick in soon.

Okay, enough about my job woes. I have 1,760 words of my story! (Did you notice my bar to the right has some color on it now?)

It has been a long time since I have dedicated myself to writing. Today was kind of cool. I probably spent too much time looking things up (What is that hairstyle called they wore in the 20s and 30s? What kind of animals are indigenous to northern Norway? What are antique hat boxes made of?). Nevertheless, I feel like I had a scene in my mind and the words kept coming. I just need to meet myself at the computer for 2.5 hours everyday and allow/force myself to write. I know this sounds both trite and obvious, but today it really seemed like all I had to do was show up and the rest took care of itself.

Anyway, to all my fellow NaNoWriters, I hope your first day was as satisfying as mine. And here’s to every day in July being even more productive than my first day was.

 

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Last week of June 2013

Well, the first part of this week was not nearly as productive as I wanted it to be. Let’s see. I know a little more about my protagonist. Nothing more about my antagonist – I’m not even sure that the person I have in mind will turn out to be the antagonist. I know there are at least two other main characters – of whom I know absolutely nothing, not even their names. I have not settled on any particular scenes. I only have a very, very vague idea of where the story should be at the end of the first and second acts – still not sure how I want to end the story.

I have to admit something: This is the first time in an extremely long time I have sat down and really tried to write a story. I mean, I have written a few pages here and there of an idea I have for a story. I have lots of ideas for stories and some of those story ideas have even been researched. But I have no, or very little, prose for any of them. This is the first time I have really decided to structure and finish a story. And, I’m not sure how obvious it is, but I have no freakin’ idea what I am doing. Which is why I was hoping to have more of my story planned out before diving into the writing part of it.

However, from what I understand, that is part of the purpose of NaNoWriMo. Because left to my own devices, I would probably end up doing what I always end up doing: planning, researching, planning, deciding…and never actually writing. So, I don’t know how this story is going to turn out since I’m not entirely sure where to take it, but I am still determined to have 50,000 words of it at the end of July. They may not be that cohesive or terribly exciting to read, but I’m going to have 50,000 word, by gosh!

Well, that’s all I’ve got. This past week kind of had a rather large distraction in it – I’m hoping that July is largely distraction free. I have to make finding a job my priority in July, though, but I should still be able to devote at least two hours a day to writing my story. That’s the plan, anyway. See y’all next week!

Categories: Outlining, Planning | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

July 2013 Camp NaNo

For far too long this blog has deviated from its original intention. That is, to chronicle my journey from blank page to finished manuscript. So, starting today and for every week until the end of July my intention is to record my experience with this summer’s Camp NaNoWriMo.

I graduated in December last year and I still do not have a full time job, which will be the other major objective for this coming month. I have been teaching part-time, but now I am done for the summer. So, what better moment than now to take this writing thing seriously?

During the last week of June, my plan is as follows:

  1. Decide on all my character names and genealogies. I know that having to know the family trees of my major characters isn’t really necessary, but it helps me get to know my characters better.
  2. Get to know my characters and settings. I have a couple of books I am going to be using to help facilitate my process. Schmidt’s Book in a Month has some worksheets that look like they may be a good starting point from which to help me chart my story. Watt’s the 90-day novel also looks like it has some helpful direction. Since I do not have a degree in creative writing and I am a little unsure about how to craft a novel from beginning to end, I feel like having a couple of resources to help me along the way may be a good idea. Otherwise, I may end up with 50,000 words that go nowhere.
  3. Try to define my acts. Nothing too solid – just to try and figure out where I want my story to start and end. And what kinds of scenes I think should come in the middle.

I haven’t been thinking about this story idea for that long. I am not even really sure what is going to happen yet. I just have a vague idea of the town and the mystery that heroine will uncover throughout the story. I really don’t know how to move past that, but I suspect that part of my problem has always been a lack of discipline to just sit down and write the damn thing. I’d rather have 50,000 words of crap than 1,500 perfectly crafted ones. Which, if I am being honest, has always happened in the past. I get a story idea and I am really good about doing the research and crafting the world, but when it comes to populating it, I usually end up spending two writing sessions writing only about 2,000 words. Then, I get discouraged and I quit.

But not this month…At least, that’s the plan. Even if I do not finish 50,000 words, my goal is to spend 2 hours a day writing. I have this next week for the last bits of my planning and whatever doesn’t get planned will have to be decided on the fly as I write.

I don’t even need a cohesive story (although I am going to try) – I just want a complete manuscript with something that resembles a beginning, a middle and an end. I will update at least once a week to track my progress.

I’m putting my plan out there in the hopes of keeping myself accountable. So, here’s to hoping that I don’t have to eat my words.  

Categories: Planning, The Process | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Rant on CBS

I am bringing another rant to you all, which, of course, is entirely unrelated to writing. Maybe by the end of the year I can get this writing blog back on track. In the meantime…

I am really annoyed that CBS does not make their shows available on television in any other way except during the day and time the episodes originally air. They do not allow their shows to be aired on Hulu and very rarely do old seasons show up on Netflix. Why?

Seriously: why? Is there some marketing benefit that I am missing out on? Are they really THAT successful and popular that they can sacrifice the, what I can only imagine is a significant portion of, viewership that no longer watches television like we did in the 80s and 90s? Continue reading

Categories: Miscellaneous, Television | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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