Everything, All At Once

So much has been happening lately.

In the past two weeks, I’ve had family pictures, the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child midnight release party (and binge-read), kayaking, packing and moving out of my college apartment, packing for two months in the UK, doing the summer homework for the Columbia Publishing Course UK, finishing my internship, cutting and rewriting 6,000 words of my WiP, getting ready for Ch1Con, actually running Ch1Con (and the Ch1Con pizza party and team birthday party), trying to catch up with friends from home right before I leave again, prepping everything for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and and and–

Basically, I am currently exhausted. And I start the multi-day trip to reach Edinburgh either tomorrow or Monday.

I’m so happy about everything happening in my life right now. It’s so many good things. And so many people have worked so hard to make these things happen. But I’m also really, really tired, and I’m just going to continue to get even more tired (which I feel like is the mantra of my life).

Also there are so many things that haven’t even been making it onto the blog, because SO MUCH IS HAPPENING ALWAYS these days. Like, did I even mention on here that Writer’s Digest Magazine ran a feature on Ch1Con 2016 in their August/September issue? And my family went to Michigan’s Adventure and Lake Michigan? And Emma and I drove down to Brett’s family goat farm to surprise her? And I got to meet Kate DiCamillo?

So, this is just a general Here I Am and This Is What Is Happening Right Now post. And also a “I am sorry if I drop off the face of the planet for a while because I’m going to be swamped the next couple months with very shoddy internet.”

I’m going to try my best to keep the blog updated, but in case I do continue to fall behind: I am much better at keeping Twitter and Instagram updated. And I promise I will still post on here sometimes too.

Thanks for putting up with me. I know things are super busy for a lot of people right now, so thanks for taking the time to read this blog and care about what I’m up to and all that. I’m SO EXCITED for this next adventure and I can’t wait to share it with you. (Only a couple more days!)

I love you. Talk to you from the UK!

~Julia

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Wordy Wednesday: Towards Summer

It’s been a pretty decent week! Still taking things slow with my bum knee, but fun things are afoot. (See what I did there? Knee? Foot?) (I’ll see myself out.)

A friend who I’ve known for something like seven or eight years (but had never met in person before) visited Friday, which was amazing. And this morning Hannah and I bought our caps and gowns, which is just SO WEIRD HOW ARE WE GRADUATING IN SIX WEEKS WEREN’T WE JUST FRESHMEN? (Also the weather’s turned warm and thunderstorm-y, which is much appreciated because I am 5000% done with this winter.)

However, in the middle of those momentous occasions, something else exciting happened–and I am THRILLED to finally share with you that I’m going to be producing and acting (in a cameo role) in an original, one-act comedic play at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, this August in Scotland!!!

I got the news that the festival had approved our production while sitting in the exact spot at Espresso Royale where, a little under a year ago, I first put together my proposal for the project to present to the university student theatre troupe with which we’re now working. Since then, my life’s been a hot mess of grant proposals, and searching for a playwright and director and actors and all that, and trying to convince the university that this isn’t a crazy idea. But we’re doing this! We’re actually doing this!

The brilliant Skyler Tarnas wrote the script this school year and we’ve been in rehearsals for a couple weeks now–and I’m so grateful to all the people who have jumped on board with my (seemingly) impossible dream. WE’RE GOING TO SCOTLAND!

You can learn more about the show through our Facebook page here.

And now, what you’re actually here for: this week’s Wordy Wednesday is a poem!

**********

the drip, drip, drip
of the first spring rain
soaking into the pages of
the crumbling, yellowed novel
with my back against the
crumbling, greying cement bench
and the sky alive above me with
dancing lightning and
swirling clouds
and the whipping flag,
all red and blue, the white turned
damp, yellow, by the storm
and it’s spring, it’s spring,
it’s spring
–the clock tower strikes noon
and the raindrops drip on,
marching out the seconds
towards summer

six weeks
six weeks
**********

Thanks for reading!

~Julia

 

Wordy Wednesday: Writing When Busy

I’m writing this post Tuesday night because tomorrow I have two classes, a writing workshop, a midterm exam, and I’m going to a certain Ch1Con keynote speaker‘s book signing an hour away. Sooo yeah. Time and I will be mutually exclusive on Wednesday.

ANYWAY, though, quick update on the past week: I got to see both Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Deadpool over the weekend, and they were both great. (I also reviewed Deadpool here.) For Galentine’s Day on Saturday, my roommates and I had friends over for waffles and a good time was had by all. Oh, and yesterday (Monday) I got the really amazing news that I GOT ACCEPTED EARLY ADMISSION TO THE COLUMBIA PUBLISHING COURSE UK.

Basically: I am going to be spending the month of September learning all about the British book publishing industry at Exeter College, Oxford University through Columbia University’s Journalism School. And I got the news while in the middle of punching out at the end of my shift at the bookshop and I literally burst into tears in the middle of the dictionary section, so there’s a good chance there are now some customers who are very concerned about my love for words. (Which is actually not all that off-base, but like, yeah.)

This is the first year Columbia’s putting on a version of their publishing course in the UK, and it’s such a dream come true because, well, I’m pretty sure the entire world knows at this point how obsessed I am with Oxford. But AHHH I’M GOING BACK.

Onto what you’re actually here for: this week’s Wordy Wednesday is a writing process post.

In case the above description of my life didn’t give it away, I don’t have a lot of free time these days. My planner looks more like a pen threw up in it than a legitimate schedule and I can’t remember the last time I felt truly relaxed. (It was probably sometime this summer. Or in elementary school? One of the two.) However, I’m still doing my best to carve out a little time to write here and there, and it’s slowly (hopefully) adding up to finished projects. So: this is how I’m getting there.

Get People to Make You Write

One of the really nice things about being a creative writing major is that, no matter what else is going on, I have to set aside time to work on my writing each week for my classes. 

For example, this semester I’m completing a short story collection for my honors thesis and writing a picture book for one of my children’s literature classes. 

Sometimes I don’t feel like working on these projects. Sometimes I would rather take a nap. (Okay, so that’s basically all of the times, actually.) But because these are assignments for class, I don’t really have a choice but to put in the time on them–and it’s a relief to know that when I am enjoying working on them (which also is basically all of the times), I don’t have to feel guilty, because they’re actually quantifiably productive projects.

Steal Time

My schedule’s a little crazy this semester with the back-to-back activities, but I am lucky enough to still get a few free minutes between most of my classes.

My (and I’m assuming most people’s) natural inclination is to spend that time on my phone. However, that can also be useful writing time, when I’m excited about what I’m working on. Even just a few minutes here and there can add up to a lot, over a long course of time.

Write as a Reward

I’ve hit the point where there’s no such thing as being Caught Up on everything I need to do. That’s college for ya. And that can make it hard to justify writing to myself, because I always feel like I should really be doing something more productive instead (see above).

However, if writing is important to you, then it is a productive activity. But priorities and balance are also important things. So I’ve taken to setting goals for each individual day, with the knowledge that I can’t do everything on my overall to do list in a single day. And when I finish my daily goals, instead of freaking out about getting started on the next day’s goals, I spend what time I have left that night on writing.

A lot of the time, this one honestly doesn’t work out for me. A lot of the time I’m still up past midnight working on homework and work-work. But on the days when I manage to get everything done earlier, writing is the best reward.

Set Goals

This is an obvious one, but setting goals can be such a great motivator. For the play I finished a few weeks ago, I’d first begun working on it way back in November, 2014, but had been having a lot of trouble finding the energy and time to make it to the end. So, the writing was going veeery slowly.

Then a few months back, I decided I was going to finish it in time to enter it in a writing competition with a due date in February. And even though actually getting anything out of the competition is a massive long shot, having that very concrete deadline to work towards worked wonders on my motivation. After over a year of dragging my feet, I managed to finish the play in time.

Having something you’re working towards can make the need to write feel so much more concrete and like something you should be doing (not just want to). And that can make such a big difference.

*****

So yeah, those are my tips for how to write while busy.

What’s your advice for making time to write when you’re busy? Feel free to share it in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

~Julia