NaNoWriMo2017

It’s coming to an end, just one day away, and those 50,00 words will have to be validated.

I finished my 50,000 words today, and to top it off, I finished my last novel! It’s over! The whole story!

It feels like something between relief, and an amazing happiness that I have accomplished something so big, and that has taken so long for me to create, and write. At the same time, I have something much bigger ahead of me, and that’s editing. While I will be taking a bit of a break from it all, I am very tempted to print out the entirety of all three manuscripts, and start editing until my hearts content. However, I really need to take a break. My mind is a bit exhausted, and I think I was overdoing it with some descriptions towards the end, making them seem a little strained, rather than well written (that will get changed in the editing process). A small break from it will help that for sure.

I also received an email today confirming my enrollment in a diploma program. This program will basically upgrade my current qualifications, to make it easier for me to get a job when  I go back home. So more good news!

Otherwise, I hope everyone else is doing well. I hope that you’re reaching those 50,000 words! You’re almost there!!

NaNo-2017-Winner-Twitter-Header

 

 

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#NanoWriMo

Well I seem to be having some issues with wordpress. Particularly it’s ability to load any pages in general. Hopefully, this post will finally update.

On another note, I’m catching up, and am a bit ahead of the curve for writing. I’m just under 40,000 words! I’m super excited at my rate of writing, and I’m even more excited at how much I’ve been able to add to my final story. There’s so much I put in there that I always wanted to create, and I’m really happy with what I’ve done so far. The editing will come later obviously, but I’m quite content with it so far.

The next couple weeks may prove a bit time constraining however, as things at work have taken an unfortunate turn. Our director, in the span of 45 minutes, managed to mess with every single teachers schedule, and I think mine took the worst beating out everyones. I won’t get into the details, but I have a lot of work to figure out, and re-ogranize, and re-do in the next few days to make sure it’s good for Monday. I’m really not happy about any of this. At all.

Hopefully it won’t impeded me too much, but I know it will take up a lot of my time at work (which has been when I’ve been writing).

Emotionally, my stress levels have gone through the roof. I had been in a relatively good mood, and then…Well, this happened. I’m trying to manage myself, and relax, so I have the potential to sleep tonight, to make tomorrow easier. I haven’t had a good nights sleep lately due to earthquakes, and aftershocks (the city I’m currently living in had a couple earthquakes last week, and has been experiencing aftershocks every day since… while they haven’t caused any further damage, being woken up by aftershocks every night, does effect my sleep).

Anyway, back to writing! We have nine more days! Keep it up everybody. 50,000 words is almost here!

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An Odd Feeling

I’m having this odd feeling once again. It’s not a feeling that everything feels wrong, but it’s a feeling that once again I’d rather be doing something else. I enjoy teaching, I really, honestly do enjoy teaching. However, as I’m writing for NaNoWriMo, I’m realizing how much more I’d rather be dedicating my time to writing instead of teaching. Once again. I’d rather be taking classes, and learning a new language. It’s not a matter of shirking responsibility, I’m completely accepting of taking responsibility, it’s just the type of responsibility I want to take.

I love teaching. I enjoy discussing language, analyzing literature, and really getting into the nitty gritty of novels, dissecting well written characters, plot developments, and how things turned out for them; why things happened, etc. I could go on and on. I love doing that. I love discussing what makes a book so well written, and why another is so poorly written. I enjoy editing written work, providing constructive criticism and feedback. I enjoy offering alternative sentences and suggestions. When it comes down to it, I love teaching, but I think I’m teaching the wrong thing.

I think, if I’m completely honest with myself, my ideal career would be an author, who also happened to teach writing workshops. I would help people with their drafts, help them understand the difference between something that is poorly written, and something that is well written. I would help them expand their vocabulary through a number of different exercises, and I would help them get passed writers block. I can think of multiple different writing exercises that can help people get passed writers block, and I know a lot of different things to help writers just start writing. There’s just so much I would love to do.

The thing is, in order to have something like that, I’d still need enough income to live off of, or at least some kind of income. Ideally, I’d write during the day, have an afternoon workshop, and then maybe have an evening workshop as well. Maybe have them twice a week? Okay, I have to stop planning my career on wordpress.

Moving on.

It’s not that I’m unhappy with my job at the moment. I just find I’m enjoying writing so much more, and I’m enjoying learning so much more. I actually prefer the idea of being a student, and staying home and writing than going in to work. I still love teaching, and I don’t want to disregard my love for teaching. It’s just, the days are feeling longer, and I’m having trouble managing time to get the things I need to get done along with the things that have to get done (making meals, going to classes before work etc.), with getting the things done that make me happy (writing, and knitting). It’s all becoming very pressed. I’m wishing I had more time to do the latter, but it’s very hard. Too many things demand my time, and I also need to sleep and get over this blasted illness that has taken over (if you’ve ever had a nasty cold that affects your sleep, and also prevents you from hearing, and I mean really hearing, then you would know how hard this is…everything is muffled and I can barely hear anyone, so teaching right now is an absolute burden, so I guess that’s contributing).

Okay, I think I’ve gone on enough.

I’m a little under where I should be for my word count this month, which isn’t too promising. I’m going to try to knock out a few days with a higher word count to catch up, and keep writing each day. I’m hoping that will help a lot. It’s been hard finding more than 40 minutes to write in one day, and staying up after work just hasn’t been an option (the whole being quite ill thing is really affecting me). So, it’s been rather difficult. I’m taking what time I can at work to try to get some writing done, usually in between classes (assuming I’m caught up on what I need to get done for the day). I’m even trying to get ahead of some things just so I can do some writing. Unfortunately, there are some things I can’t get ahead.

Either way, I am trying. My life would be so much easier if I had more time to write though. I’ll get to 50,000 words. I’m determined.

Once I’m done, I’m motivated to start editing everything. I have a feeling there’s going to be quite a bit I’ll be adding in, and quite a bit I’ll be fixing up. I’m not doubting that. I think over the course of my time here, I’m going to have it ready for publishers by the time I get back. I’m convinced that it will be ready to go. When I get back to Canada, I want to have it ready to be taken seriously. I’m hoping someone will take it, and that it will help me get a foot in the door. I’m going to start reaching out to a few people I know in the industry (I don’t know a lot), but just see what they might have to say. Send out emails; the whole deal. That’s the plan.

Anyway, happy NaNoWriMo! Keep it up everyone!

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NaNoWriMo 2017

It’s that time of year again!

It’s fast approaching…. National Novel Writing Month 2017 is coming so quickly, and the month of October is slipping away. The leaves have changed, with a few exceptions of green leaves here and there, and the temperature is cooling just enough for those nice scarves and jackets; where we’re eager for nice warm cup of coffee or tea, and the urge to cuddle up and stay warm is just starting to set in. November is creeping up faster than I thought I would’ve thought, and that also means NaNoWriMo is too.

Ah the month where all the writers, young, old, experienced, inexperienced, all come together and write 50,000 words in a month. They take on the challenge of sitting down and just typing out those words. It becomes both exhilarating and exciting, and stressful as well, as the days go by and we come ever closer to needing to get that word count in. I find it both fun, challenging, and a personal challenge to get my ass into gear and just write.

I look back at the first year I did, back in 2014, and how I had so many ideas and needed to really just write it properly. I had re-written multiple drafts of a story over and over and over again, and even repurposed the story into different outlines, trying to work at it at different angles, and no matter how many times I did this, I wasn’t happy with it. By 2014, I had probably re-worked these same characters into different, yet similar, story lines over a dozen times, and purposed and re-purposed even more outlines. When I finally sat down and wrote for NaNoWriMo, using my most recent attempt for the outline and story into words, formulating it properly with my best possible one yet; it worked. It worked better than it had in any other way. Is it a fantastic piece of work that will definitely get published? Probably not. Does it need to be thoroughly edited and possibly re-worked a bit? Most likely. However, I have come further, and accomplished much more, with this challenge and this story than I had with the years of trying to put this whole thing together. So I am quite thankful for having NaNoWriMo, and the push to just start writing and working the story and outline as I go. It made a huge difference, I think, for me in the end.

Now, as I come to NaNoWriMo 2017, I am nearing the end of the whole story. I will be finishing the last part of it for sure this time. The last 50,000 words will definitely complete the story, bringing it to a close. What will be left, will be editing, and some tough decisions. It will be both sad to see it complete (the rough draft), but also exciting to enter in the final stages of the story. I want to go through and edit the entire thing, from start to finish, and then I think I will try my luck with editors. From there, if everything completely fails, maybe I will go the self-publishing route. I have been in contact with a number of writers who have done self-publishing, so I guess I’ll see what happens in the future.

To everyone who is doing NaNoWriMo, I wish you the best of luck! Let us take on the challenge, and write a glorious 50,000 words to which we will have to edit thoroughly!

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#MeToo

The newest movement that’s taking hold. So many thoughts that run through my mind about whether this will be successful. The film industry is heavily flawed in it’s overzealous attempt to only present the world with specific looking people – an old image of women and men looking a certain way. They don’t want to get too ethnic, they don’t want women who are over a certain weight – there are some exceptions of course – and they even want men to look a certain way.

Then there’s everything that happens behind the scenes that are starting to come to light – the actions specifically of Harvey Weinstein. Now, it is not just his sexual assault, his rapes, or anything else that he’s done that is coming to light – though it is the main focus of much of the force behind the movement – it is also the incredibly flawed, and disturbing actions of producers, casting agents, and the others who are behind camera, and what they do to actors and what they have actors to do for them. It is disturbing the stories that we are hearing; to say that it is wrong, would be undermining the trauma that some of these people have gone through, and yes they are PEOPLE. We can not say they are anything less than people or anything more, we can not put a money value on the job they are doing and disregard the experience they went through just because of the industry, or what they were paid. It does not make it okay, and it does heal any of the physical or mental trauma that may linger after the events they went through.

The #MeToo movement seems to be allowing women (and men) all around the world, not just in the film and TV industry to speak out about sexual harassment, assault, and what they have been through. It is a serious offense that is typically kept quiet, both in film and TV, and also in our daily lives. Why? Because like rape, women tend to be made out to be the ones who were “asking for it”. This goes for men who are victims of it to, it goes both ways. Women who wore skirts, whose bra straps were showing because they wore a tank top, or who drank too much one night. Regardless of the circumstances, women are never asking for it, and regardless of what we were doing at the time; whether we were completely sober and in sweatpants and a sweater, or posing for a new line of perfume in lingerie; women are never asking to be sexual assaulted or harassed or raped. Neither are men.

Okay, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I’m going to talk about why I’ve made this post.

I have gone on about the movement, what I think about it, and everything, and I could easily go on and on. I could talk about what specific celebrities have said, such as Jennifer Lawrence, or Anthony Bourdain; but I think that could get repetitive with a lot of the points I’ve already made. So I’m going to bring it onto a more personal level.

For many women it is difficult to face the truth of being sexually harassed, assaulted, or raped, or perhaps all of the above. They have difficulties coming to terms with it, and the trauma of the events can leave lingering effects on them. They can feel desperate, as if they can not talk to anyone about it. It’s not that they don’t have anyone they can trust. It’s that they either feel shame, or embarrassed that it happened, or they feel as though they may look at them the same way they feel; perhaps they might even be disgusted with them. In some cases, it was not a complete stranger, it was someone they knew. When it’s someone you know, it almost feels impossible to open up about it; to tell anyone about what happened, because of what the consequences of what that could be. It could be a few things, perhaps you’re afraid no one will believe you, perhaps you’re afraid that they will believe you and that person will experience sever consequences for their actions. As a victim, you feel so many terrible emotions after the events, and they are rational, but it becomes difficult to follow through on anything, to talk about anything right after.

Of course this all depends on the severity of what happened. Some women can overcome the events easier than others, some can not.

From every woman I have ever spoken to, all of them have been cat called; they have been whistled at, and called after for one reason or another. They didn’t want the attention, they didn’t leave their house or apartment expecting to get the attention, and they were simply walking down the streets. Others have confided in me more traumatic events, from unwanted violent sexual advances, to sexual advances, to rape.

I have been sexually abused, harassed, and raped. I have admitted the last part to a total of one person in my entire life. I had confronted the rapist, and I had said my piece and walked away. The scarring, both physical and mental, lasted years. The mental scarring and trauma, was by far the worse from the experience. Emotionally, it took a long time to come to terms with the events, especially the sexual abuse which lasted for several months. Like many women in abusive relationships (it also included verbal abuse, emotional abuse, and heavy manipulation), I did not realize the severity of it until I was out of the relationship. When I realized what was happening, what was really happening, I was finally able to force myself to come to terms with what happened, and from there I had to find a way to get passed it. It took a long time, but eventually I did. The rape, however, was more scarring than anything else, and that took much longer for me to connect with anyone again, let alone let myself be emotionally available to another person again.

I do not share this story to inspire sympathy. I don’t ask for it, nor do I want it. I share it because every person on this planet, male and female alike, has some kind of dark secret, trauma, buried deep within them that they may be hiding from the world. Each person has dealt with something difficult, some form of sexual harassment, assault, or rape, or all three, and have said nothing to anyone about it (or perhaps you have been lucky and have experienced none of these things). They may seem happy, and perfectly content with their lives. Each of us has been through something, and it’s time for us to stand together and support one another. It’s time for us to fight for a change in the way we treat each other. We need respect. We need boundaries. We need better control over our actions that negatively affect others. We need freedom to wear what we want without feeling as though we’ll receive negative and unwanted attention.

We should stand together and fight for a change, for equality, for fairness, for there to be no further sexual harassment, assault, or rape. We should help each other out, protect one another. We should not pity each other; we shoul not blame the victims of these actions.

#MeToo.

 

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The Changing Times

I always think that I’ve come to manage things better, that I’ve become more optimistic, and that I can see the changing times in a better light. This is true, but not in it’s entirety.

I am currently in a situation where something is going to go either one way or another. If it goes one way, it could mean things will get very stressful; my schedule will change, and I will be taking on a lot more work. If it goes another way, then very little will change for the time being (although a part of me thinks it may still change a bit).

As much as I want it to be the latter, or that the former is really not going to be as bad as I think it will be; I am having trouble coming to terms with it. In my mind, I am seeing the web of manipulation that has brought this person to this point in their lives, and how they now must make a decision that will ultimately effect multiple people, not just themselves. As I think more and more about it, I do not think they even fully understand the repercussions, and the consequences of the decision. However, I do think the person is aware that it is a difficult decision, perhaps not for the same reason I am able to see it for. I come to realize this through how he talks about it, and how my boyfriend discusses the issue with me.

I want to be positive, to try to see things in a better light, but I see the signs. I see how it affected my sleep (or lack there of), and how my boyfriend drank last night to deal with the stress he was under (he typically drinks only on weekends, not on weeknights). Whether he wants to admit to it or not, the decision is effecting him quite a bit, and he too, hopes that our coworker makes the right decision.

I don’t know what will happen, but I know the answer is coming. Perhaps the anxiety is for nothing; perhaps the stress is for nothing. Something tells me, that I know the decision before they walk through the door and tell us. Something tells me, I already know what that answer is going to be, and how things are going to be. Perhaps that desperation is back, and perhaps I have to fight once more. This time, I hope not to break; this time, I hope I can fight longer, and keep the darkness, the demons that engulfed me and dragged so far down into the shadows, at bay, and to their eventual destruction. If it happens, I know it will be different; everything would be different if it happens again. I just need to take the right actions sooner rather than later.

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One Month in South Korea

It has been quite a while since I last updated. There have been many reasons for this; partly because I’ve been having issues with wordpress loading the page to write a blog post, and partly because of the mayhem that has been the last few months.

Over the last few months, I was working a full time job, applying for a visa for a job in South Korea, preparing to move there for 13 months, and getting everything arranged with the school that I would be teaching with. It was a little hectic and very busy.

Once my boyfriend and I got here, it felt as though everything has been non-stop. From the moment we landed, we got on a five hour bus ride to the “small” coastal city of Pohang. From there, we were picked up from the bus terminal by the director. She drove us to our temporary apartment, then took us to the school to meet the other teachers. We had dinner, and then headed back to our temporary apartment. During the weekend, which was the following day, we were out and exploring the city. We met so many other people who were also teaching in Pohang at other schools in those two days. Some were reaching the end of their contract, others were half way through, and a couple were starting their contract just like us.

After that, we started training. The first week almost felt like a blur. There was so much to learn, so much to get a handle on, and so many questions to ask. A week did not feel long enough, and then just like that, it was over. The teachers we were taking over for, were gone. They headed off to do some travelling before heading back home.

We have now been teaching on our for the last few weeks, and it’s been quite the adjustment. I have classes that have taken the transition very well, who work well with my teaching style, and who have willingly adapted to the change, and stay focused during class. And then there are the classes where I have to raise my voice, where I’m telling them to stay on task, to speak English in the classroom, and to stop doing this, and that; where I have to be strict and they consistently test me and force my hand. It has, all in all, been quite the adjustment, and I will be implementing some new rules to my more troublesome classes.

The city itself is quite densely populated. At night, the buildings are lit up with signs on nearly every floor, letting the world know they are still open. Many restaurants in our area are only open until 10-11. Some stay open until midnight. It can be difficult finding a good place to eat when you work until 9:05pm, but it is possible, you just have to know where to go. The restaurants are inexpensive. They serve plenty of food for low prices, and the side dishes are always included. Frequently, they will give you more food for free. Tipping is insulting, and should never be done in Korea. If there is one thing that I will say about most food in Korea, it’s that it’s either spicy or sweet. On the odd occassion it’s neither, and it has different flavours, but the majority of the food is usually one or the other.

Shopping is quite varied and vast. They have large stores that provide you with produce, and any other food you’re looking for. It’s a large chain called E-Mart. They have a second floor full of household items as well, electronics, clothes, make up, bathroom necessities, kitchen supplies etc. It is the place to find a large variety of just about anything you are looking for.

When it comes to clothes, shoes, and anything within that realm of shopping, the variety at E-Mart is a bit more lax. They have a fair bit there, but you can find so much more at a place in downtown Pohang called Stream Street. This is a cobble stone street, with a pretty little stream that runs down the middle of it. There are large stores on either side of it that sell anything and everything. If you are looking for something, Stream Street will have it. They have clothing stores covering several types of fashion, outdoor stores, shoes stores, accessory stores, dollar stores, and so much more. There are even restaurants if you’re feeling hungry, and convenience stores too.

And then there’s the beach. Bukbu beach is quite beautiful. It is definitely the tourist place to be. Along the beach strip is hotels, restaurants, and more. If you’re looking for a North American chain, you’ll like find it there (like McDonalds). The beach itself is quite huge. The sand is warm, and soft in your toes. The ocean spreads out in front of you vast and unending. There’s a view of PosTech which is their steel factory to one side. Further down the beach is a beautiful little temple like place that sits on the ocean. Walking up to the temple is a bridge with small stone pillars. In the temple, you can find benches to sit on and look out on the ocean. At night, there are lights from the temple that go out across it and the ocean. You can get a beautiful view of both the ocean and the light show at PosTech. Near the temple, back on the mainland, are tonnes of food trucks. A particular favourite of mine is the ice cream they serve there.

There are many hiking trails all over Pohang; many of which are marked on a map at the start of them. The trails go through several of the surrounding mountains. Hiking in Korea is like a day walk for many people here; they are used to the hikes and barely break a sweat. My boyfriend and I did one hike of about 2.5km up a mountain, and found ourselves drenched in sweat on a particularly muggy day. When we reached the top, we decided to turn back, finally giving into the heat. We have done a couple trails since then, and the weather has started to cool off a bit now, which will make hiking more comfortable. We are hoping to make it to a temple in the mountain that we’ve heard so much about from other teachers. It seems to be hidden, and we have no clue how to get to it. We’ve been shown it more recently, and I think we will be heading there this weekend (if I can get him out of bed any time soon). The trails are definitely a hike. They are beautiful; full of trees, rocks, and nature. There are few wildlife. There may be a bird, but mostly it is just bugs. The climb is usually quite steep and it does take a bit out of you to make it to the top, even on the easier hiking trails; but it is worth it.

I think this may be a long enough post, so I will leave you all for now. I apologize for my lack of posting, reading of blogs (though I have been reading posts just not everyone, I do apologize for that), and updating more often. Below are some pictures of Bukbu beach, PosTech lit up at night; fireworks on our teacher’s last night in Pohang going off at Bukbu beach, and some of the mountains in South Korea (taken from our bus ride from Incheon to Pohang). They are cell phone quality, and not up to the normal snuff that my pictures usually are. I have some others from my camera but unfortunately, I have not had time to upload them and take a good look at them (soon I hope!).

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