NaBloPoMo15: Wrap Up!

What a month!

Can you believe in 30 minutes it’s December 1st? That is, for folks in Hawaii Standard Time. I realize that half of the world is already into December 1st. The point is, can you believe it’s already December?

Where did the year go?

And just 30 days ago, National Novel Writer’s Month started.

Stats! (59)

Total words written (up until that “59” marker after stats): 14,878
Total Daily Posts: 29
Average words per day: 496
Longest post written: November 6 at 1,378 words (NaBloPoMo15: That Biggest Fear!)
Most words written in a day: November 6 at 1,378 words

Did I accomplish my goal?
Even though I didn’t really set goals except for posting daily, I do feel I accomplished what I set out to do. I wrote everyday and I posted 29 out of 30 days (and only due to operator error which was forgetting to click “Publish” before closing my computer).

Any takeaways?
Loads! This is my second year participating in this event and I love the chance to work and focus on writing. And now that I’ve met my goal of posting daily, it’s time to work on content. How to improve my writing.

And that’s not just for blogging but writing in general.

I also appreciate looking back at what I wrote and deciding whether I could have done something different. I haven’t gone through that process yet, but as the year comes to a close, I know that I’m going to be analyzing what went on this year.

Overall, I enjoyed it. I love having an excuse to write everyday, to think about life everyday, and to think about how I want to spend that day so I can write about it.

So, fellow writers and participants in this annual event, how did you do? I hope you were able to accomplish your goals this month and had fun doing so.

Until next year!

411 Junkie: Unplugged

In the past five years technology has almost tripled in efficiency and productivity. We have continuity across all devices, whether it’s your laptop, your smart phone, or your tablet. It’s amazing! You can continue to work on your research on your phone even though you’ve shut down your computer and have gone mobile.

You can call your friend who is on her yearly trip to Europe, or some place exotic, and talk to her via video chat. Technology is amazing. We’re accomplishing things we’ve never done before.

And yet …

And yet, there are times I feel too connected.

You receive a text from your significant other, but your hands are busy at the moment soaked with dishwashing soap because you’re cleaning the kitchen so you don’t check your text. But two minutes later your phone is ringing because you didn’t text back.

You receive notification from your Facebook feed and ignore it because you’re reading your assignments. A couple of minutes later you receive another notification from your Twitter feed and ignore it because, again, you’re reading your assignments. And yet, another minute later you receive a notification that five emails have come through.

Are we too plugged in? Too connected?

Quite simply, we are. Or at least some of us are. I know I am, that’s for sure.

I have a two Facebook accounts (one for my blog and other personal), I have a Twitter account, an Instagram, SnapChat, About.me, Google+, and I won’t even tell you how much emails accounts.

You’re crazy!

I am.

And I’d like to say that I am able to manage all of it in a way that I create balance in my life. Most times I do, sometimes I don’t.

But I do believe now and then you have to unplug.

And how do you do that?

I admit, it’s challenging, but here are a few things I do to unplug.

  1. I make it a point not to touch my phone or any mobile device when I’m eating, especially if it’s at family dinner – Call me old fashion, but accepting phone calls or watching TV during dinner time was strictly forbidden when I was younger. My parents made it a point to sit us all down for dinner and that was all we did. Eat dinner and talk about our day. No phone calls were taken and the television stayed off. I keep this tradition to this day, especially if my family is eating out. I’m serious. My phone stays in my purse. So does the iPad.
  2. I make it a point to schedule down time – I schedule at least an hour or two of everyday when I turn off all electronics. No TV, no computer, no iPads. My phone stays on only for emergencies and I only answer it if it’s family during this time. This is hard during the week since work takes up most of the day and I am a part-time student whose classes are online, but I definitely do this on the weekends. Instead of waking up and turning on the TV or booting up the computer, I grab a book or a magazine and read. Or I grab paper and write letters. Or I grab my journal and write. The important thing is to stay offline during this time. 
  3. I make it a point to go outside – I know this sounds simple enough but when I first thought of this, I realize just how hard it was for me to actually step outside. Half the day would go by before I realized I hadn’t set foot outside. To change this habit, I started scheduling it with my down time and instead of reading in bed, I’d take my book outside. I’d leave my phone in the house and just sit outside for 30 minutes or so.
  4. I make it a point to wear a watch – Even this sounds simple enough, but how many times have you pulled out your phone to check the time and then saw your email notifications or your social media notifications and decided you’ll just skim your email or just check to see why Facebook flagged you. Before you know it, it took you ten minutes to check the time? If you wear a watch, you won’t have the need to check your phone or any of your mobile devices.
  5. I make it a point to get involved – This may be hard. It was hard for me. I’m introvert and spending time by myself is easy peasy for someone like me. Attending community meetings was a step out of my comfort zone. And it took me a while to actually speak up and contribute at these meetings, but I found myself going two hours without a computer or phone. And the bonus is I get to meet interesting people. Getting involved, whether it’s a community meeting, or volunteering at the local hospital, is a great way to unplugged and instead make connections. Real connections.

In a world where people are heavily reliant on their technology to get through the day, I believe it’s even more important to unplug now and then. And if you’re an active user like I am, unplugging for days at a time may not be realistic. Instead, take it in stride. Thirty minutes here, an hour there. Unplugging helps you reconnect with yourself and others. Unplugging support a healthy and balanced life.

 

Week Ending: A week of writing

This upcoming week will be the final full week of National Novel Writing Month and all its equivalents, including National Blog Post Month. The goal for novel writers is to hit 50,000 words towards that novel by November 30th, 11:59 p.m. The goal for National Blog Post Month is to post to your blog everyday.

Well, I am happy to say that as of right now, I have managed to post 20 out of 21 days (even though I wrote that one post on the day, operator error did not post it). I have also written 11,488 words averaging 547 per day. I was thinking about those numbers, feeling pretty good, when I realize these numbers did not count all the writing I have been doing for school.

And I realized this when I was going over this week’s study schedule for my classes. It is finals week for Intro to Social Psychology and our final is a comprehensive exam with twelve questions. Each question has a word limit of at least 300 words each question, not including citations. This is a whopping 3,600 words! It is also mid-terms for Ancient Greece History. Our mid-term is a short paper with a word limit of at least 1,000 words, not including citations. This work alone puts me at 16,088. This doesn’t include the weekly form posts I need to turn in for each class. Each post has a word limit of at least 250 words. which comes out to 1,500 words so far, if I’ve been following correctly.

I am not including any of the letters I wrote or the endless social media communications. I’m only counting writing where writing is the goal and intent. And that is still a lot of words.

In the end, I know it’s not really about the numbers, at least it’s not that way for me. And I am not posting these numbers to brag, but to show how much writing we do without thinking. What I love about this annual event is that it allows me to focus on writing. It allows me to be aware of writing and how much writing I am doing and if I’m writing at all.

There are eight more days in the month. The home stretch. The final sprint. There is Thanksgiving and Black Friday and the crazy holiday season still left on the list of topics to push your writing.

And while I’m not writing a novel, I am still rooting for all those who are.

And while I have a lot of writing ahead of me this week, the importance of free writing or creative writing is just as important as academic writing. I see academic writing as a way to practice structure and prefect content that is to the point whereas creative writing pushes the limits of your imagination and storytelling.

I hope to accomplish both.

So, with eight days left of this wonderful event, best of luck to my fellow participants! Cheers to writing!

 

A few words on music … and the theatre

I love all things entertainment. Anything that helps people pass the time and helps them to enjoy themselves. This includes things like books, television, movies, theatre, and music. Yes, music.

Growing up, music was a huge part of my life. Both of my parents would play their favorite tunes whenever we were in the car. They would also pop our children tapes so my brothers and I could sing “we all live in a yellow submarine” or every child’s favorite “John Jacob Jingle Himer Smith.” You know the ones I mean. Not only did my parents play their favorite songs, they sang them as well, which encouraged us kids to sing as well. Whether we were good at singing was another matter, but we were taught to enjoy the music. And my father would play his guitar and sing some of the local songs.

So, music was a huge part of my life.

But you haven’t written much about music! Or theatre for that matter.

The trouble I’m having with reviewing music is I don’t really know how to comment on music. With books and film, you can comment on plot lines and/or acting and graphics. With music, I suppose you could break down whether the notes are conjunct or disjunct. I also suppose you could mention the mood or how it makes you feel. I’m not one to really enjoy lyrics, but I suppose I could make an effort to see whether or not a song makes lyrical sense. One of my favorite things about paying attention to lyrics, is they tell a story. It’s whether or not I can make sense of that story. Often times I find myself looking up the lyrics to a song to see if I can figure out what the artist is talking about and then I explore different perspectives those lyrics could talk about, like maybe they’re not taking about loosing their spouse, but maybe a child.

Another challenge I have about reviewing music and/or songs, is that I feel inadequate since it’s been a while since I’ve played in the school band. Yeppers. You’re looking (well, reading, but you know what I mean) at the 1st chair of the Flute section. Don’t you laugh! (general populace who may be laughing) Flutes may not be as cool as the saxophone or drums, but they have merit! But, I have to admit, my first choice was the clarinet. In middle school, I’m pretty sure my classmates didn’t think about their future with instruments, but there was a whole slew of classmates who wanted to play the clarinet. We had over ten, I want to say about fifteen, clarinet players. I don’t know their reasons for choosing the clarinet, but I knew mine. I wanted to learn it for their flexibility across different genres of music. Don’t ask me how I knew that at the age of thirteen. I probably looked it up or something. But the clarinet appealed to me because even though this would be for a school band, clarinets could also be played in jazz music. And I though jazz was the coolest thing as a thirteen year old. My reason was, saxophones were too big for me and too popular. I didn’t really want to play the trumpet or the trombone. So, as far as jazz went, clarinets were it.

But my band teacher convinced me to switch to the flute, if only because the sheer numbers of clarinet players she had and that the flute section had only two players. So, for the sake of music diversity for the middle school band, off I went to join the two flute players.

We didn’t have an orchestra, so strings were out and therefore the piano or the violin. If we did have strings, I would have jumped on the violin bandwagon. That instrument has always fascinated me. And while I always thought I loved the piano, my mom said I was never interested in piano lessons. She wanted to sign me up, but I told her no. What was I thinking?! Anyway.

So, music is hard for me to write about … (of course I say this 600 words later) but I suppose I should give it another shot. After all, I did write these posts about it:

Music 411: Another form of entertainment

Music 411: Weekly Top 10

Music 411: 04/21/14 – Weekly Top 10

Music 411: Weekly Top 10 Playlist, 04/28/14

Music 411: Beyond by William Joseph

Perhaps I should get back on that bandwagon.

And about theatre, I may have mentioned it before but there isn’t much theatre where I live. There are plays and such, but I’m not critiquing children. The Hawaiian Children’s Theatre is the one who usually puts out the plays we do get to see here and well, they always do a good job. But, perhaps I can find some things to do regarding theatre.

We shall see. I have to perfect what I have before I can think of other stuff to add, but it’s in the works.

NaBloPoMo15: Mid-terms!

National Blog Post Month 2015 is halfway done. Have you been writing everyday?

I have and I am sincerely impressed that I’ve lasted this long. There was that one day that I missed posting my blog entry, but I did write it, I swear. I just clicked on “Save Draft” instead of “Publish” and the “Schedule” posting did schedule. But, I did write.

And so far, I remember why I love writing. There are some days I found it really hard to write, only because there were so many other things competing for my attention, but I made a commitment to write every day, so every day I made it a point to write. That decision has been liberating. It seriously has. It’s cut out the excuses, or at the least lowered the amount of excuses I make sometimes.

Back to the point. I remember why I love writing.

It sets my mind free. I can wonder about anything I want. I can have arguments with myself, explore the opposing side of an argument, and create a whole new world. I reflect upon events of the day, the week, the year and wrap my head around topics to scary and/or controversial to utter out loud. When I write, my mind speaks.

I may have mentioned this before, but the past few months have been hard on me writing wise. With a new job taking up my main focus and school taking up everything else, it was hard for me to take the time to let my mind think what it wanted to think. Whenever I had a free moment, I’d read or watch a movie, just to give my mind a break from thinking. I thought these options would be a bit easier on the mind since writing is still engagement. Again, this month, so far, made me realize that shutting out writing has taken a toll on me as a writer. I missed it. And now that I’m getting back in the habit, I hope it continues.

But that’s on me. To continue it, that is.

At the end of it all, though. These past fifteen days has revived my love affair with writing.

So.

Mid-way through NaBloPoMo15 and the progress report is an A.

My goals for the rest of the month is to get back into the grove of reviewing books, movie, or television or if this isn’t working for me any more to figure out another format. I also want to get into the habit of writing at least one strong post (I forget what this is called in the blogging world) that will be engaging.

Mid-way through NaBloPoMo15 and there is work to be be done.

Whoever is participating this year, I hope all is well with you and that you’re making progress and head way as well!

Best of luck for the rest of the month!

Until then … 🙂

NaBloPoMo15: That Perfect Day!

Ah, the Perfect Day. The ideal day off.

What would I do if I could have that. What would be my definition of a perfect day.

Funny you should ask, you see, because I  just had two weeks off. but, in case you missed it, I was also sick on my two weeks off. Right smack dab in the middle of the week to! Sighs. I had such great plans too. Cleaning, and doing homework, and cleaning, and maybe reading.

But then sick happened and I didn’t want to do any of those things. Not even reading because my head hurt. Well, I had a headache for most of the time I was sick. Head cold, you see.

And cleaning and homework isn’t exactly my idea of an ideal day off either, even though I love doing homework.

So, giving this some serious thought …

I think my perfect day would start at 4 a.m. I know I should sleep in, but twilight is my favorite time of the day and I’d rather that wee-morning time than the evening twilight because too many people are up when the sun sets.

At 4 a.m. I would sit out in the yard with a hot mocha and just admire the stars in the sky. It’s peaceful, where I am anyway, at that time of day. There would be a slight breeze, but not too cold. Maybe a light rain (because I love rain). And no bugs! No insects. None of that ruining my mood!

After an hour or two of quiet reflection, I’d either go back to sleep for another hour or so or move on with my day.

Next on the agenda? I’d probably write. Yep. Journal. I’d write in my journal for a bit.

Then I’d either go swimming at a waterfall or river, go zip lining, or check out a museum. If my ideal day isn’t restrained to location, a no holds bar so to speak, I’d hope to spend my ideal day in Venice, Italy. Seriously, I would explore all I can of Venice. I’ve been wanting to go there since I was seven or eight so until that is crossed off my bucket list, that is my perfect day.