I Hate Being Bored

There’s something to be said for my hatred of boredom. I hate being bored. I’ll do just about anything if it means I’m doing something.

That explains why I also despise waiting. I try to do things while I’m waiting. Otherwise, I’d lose my mind.

But due to circumstances I didn’t see coming, I had to wait at the dentist for a while without anything to keep me occupied. I didn’t have pen or paper. I didn’t have a book. I didn’t have my phone.

So even though I felt a bit frustrated at first, I resorted to observing others.

I got to observe a father and son. Maybe a story will come out of it. Maybe not. I’ll have to add some kind of conflict or tension because the two were so happy. Meanwhile there was me being all bitter.

I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to handle parenthood, especially being a single mother. Although there wouldn’t be a dull moment in my life again if I had a kid to look after.

I kept thinking to myself why can’t I just sit and wait for a while? Because I don’t sit and wait ever.

I always feel like I should be doing something. I cannot not do anything. I feel weird and wrong doing nothing. I tried to relax. After all, there wasn’t much I could do. But to be honest I was anything but relaxed. I felt anxious. I felt I needed to be reading, writing, something.

Of course, I did a lot of thinking during the time. Part of me wishes I had a way of recording my thoughts then because I’ve forgotten them all now. I’d love to have some sort of technology to do that.

Of course, things worked out just fine. The world didn’t end. The sky didn’t fall.

Still, this isn’t an experience I’d like to repeat again. But it made me think about myself, about life in general.

Waiting at the dentist was almost as bad as watching paint dry.

Anyhow, this turned out to be one of the more interesting trips to the dentist I’ve had in a long time. That said, my last trip entailed running on about three hours of sleep right after an exam. That’s a story in and of itself.

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My Novel Writing Process

I’ve written some novels in my lifetime. But whenever I undertake a new one, I’m not sure how I’ll make it to the end. This is a glimpse into my writing process.

Brainstorming

I’m a character-centric writer. Always have been, always will be. So I tend to come up with an interesting person and throw conflict at him or her as I go.

Outlining

Based on past experience, if I had to outline every novel for the rest of my life, I’d be on pace to never finish another one ever again. I sort of outline in my head. Depends on your definition of outlining though.

Writing

It isn’t too bad once I get past the beginning and middle.

Researching

I tend to research after I finish an initial draft where I brainstorm my own ideas first.

Waiting

I like to wait a long time in between writing the first draft and all that follows after.

Transcribing  

I handwrite most of my novels, so at some point, I have to type everything up onto the computer.

Critiquing

The one novel I sought feedback on was incomplete at the time, and it still is about six years after the fact. At least I like critiquing my own work. I’d much rather crush my own ego than have someone else do so.

Rewriting

I enjoy losing my sanity and seeing improvements at the same time.

Editing

Some stories don’t even get this far. What a shame.

Publishing

Obviously, I’m not at this stage yet. If my dreams come true, I don’t know how I’ll refrain myself from talking about my books.

Procrastinating

I procrastinate so much it’s a miracle I get anything done on time. Sadly, I put things off at all stages of the novel writing process. Nothing like consistency, am I right?

Reading

Even when I’m writing a novel and it’s a priority like during NaNoWriMo, I try to read as much as I can. Books inspire me. Other stories have inspired my own.

Celebrating

I celebrate the small victories as much or maybe even more than the big ones. I believe in rewarding myself. Otherwise, my motivation would be six feet under.

What’s your novel writing process like? I’d love to know.

Trying To Multi-Task

Sometimes we think it’s a good idea to multi-task, but then reality happens. And instead of being insanely productive, we don’t do things as effectively or efficiently as we’d like.

I say this as I’m multi-tasking.

I know how difficult it is to focus on one task for an extended period of time. But I think now, more than ever before, human beings need to focus, to concentrate. Easier said than done. But we aren’t doing ourselves any favours by trying to multi-task everything in life.

I realize there’s a lot going on at any given time. We have many responsibilities and obligations, interests and hobbies. Still, I see the value in focusing on one thing at a time whenever possible.

Having our attention divided, specifically when we’re doing work that requires it doesn’t do wonders for anyone.

We don’t retain as much information when we’re listening to a professor lecture while also messaging friends in addition to shopping online. We don’t write as well if we’re watching TV and talking to a friend at the same time.

I’m not perfect. But I’ve gotten better at giving important tasks my undivided attention because I can’t always afford to spilt my attention. Everything suffers when I do.

I’ve also found that each time I resist giving into temptations while in class or in the middle of a task, I reinforce the habit.

Sometimes I just can’t let distractions deter me.

I used to be better at reading for a longer period of time without wanting to checking my phone. Nowadays, I rarely sit down for a couple of hours with a book and read uninterrupted.

I know my attention span isn’t quite like it used to be, which is a tragedy. But at least I’m aware of my flaws, some of them anyway.

I want to recognize when I shouldn’t divide my attention, when I shouldn’t multi-task. I need to resist temptations more often, especially when I’m doing work that requires critical thinking.

Of course, I’d love to hear your thoughts like whether or not you think I’m insane.

A Life Update You Didn’t Ask For

As I’m prone to do, I’ve been thinking a lot. Which is how this post of thoughts came to be.

I think I like the idea of making changes to this blog more than I like making change.

Obviously, my brain obsesses over blogging when I’m swamped with schoolwork. But maybe over the holidays, I’ll tinker with things.

Somehow, NaNo is in full swing. To be quite honest, I’m not trying to reach 50,000 words or any kind of a word count for that matter. Right now it’s enough to write every day even if the words are terrible.

I’m writing prose. I hope to start a novel and see the story through until the end. So far so good.

In a perfect world, I’d make writing my first priority. But I don’t live in a perfect world. It’s still a priority, just not my first or only.

My reasoning is when I’m eighty years old I won’t be able to dance to the extent I can now. I doubt my body will respond well to doing cartwheels then. Though I like to believe I’ll still be able to write when I’m an old lady.

For that reason, I’m trying to dance as much and as well as I can at this age.

Dance isn’t something I bring up much on this blog. I wonder if I should. There are definitely parallels I can draw between dancing and writing, blogging.

On another note, I’m quite pleased with my reading. Not so with my reviewing. I’m horribly behind in editing and posting book reviews.

I realize I’m better at keeping up with fictional novels than I am with non-fiction. Still, I try to read some non-fiction on the subway ride home, even though I don’t say so on Goodreads. I’m just more casual with my non-fiction reading.

Overall, I’m doing the best I can. That’s what matters to me.

I debated not bringing up school, but since I’m a full-time student, I figured I will. Despite all the assignments due this month and next, I’m managing. I haven’t failed anything. I like to believe I won’t.

If you’ve read this far, kudos to you. I hope you’re doing well. Wishing you the very best life has to offer. Take care. I want to see you around here.

 

Going Without The Internet For 6 Hours

So the other day my internet service provider decided to fail me for about 6 hours. It stopped working after 2 p.m. The company got it back up around 9 o’clock at night.

Without access to more modern technology, I read a bit. Then I spent a lot of time dealing with a stubborn kitchen sink. Not exactly how I imagined my day when I woke up in the morning.

About halfway through the baseball game, our TV service was interrupted. So I missed a good part of the game.

During that period, I made several trips to a hardware store in hopes of fixing a leaky kitchen sink. My family eventually replaced the old kitchen sink with a new one.

My original plan consisted of reading a lot and staying at home to relax. Unfortunately, I didn’t read much. Even more unfortunate, the faucet fix was more stressful than it should’ve been.

Life happened. Still, the world isn’t going to end. Somehow that day worked out okay. Not perfect or ideal but then again when is life ever either?

I kept reminding myself the sun will rise tomorrow, and so will I.

I was feeling antsy because I wasn’t sure if the internet would work before midnight. I try to publish a blog post every day, and I hadn’t published one yet. I shouldn’t procrastinate until the last hour. But I do all the time.

It’s been a transitional time for me. I’m doing my best to stay positive by looking on the bright side and appreciating the little things in life. Cliché, I know. But I’m being honest.

I’m glad I still have a safe space with this blog in a crazy world.

After My First Day Of School

I’m writing this after my first day of school. Third year of university to be exact.

It wasn’t an eventful day. I had two classes. I’m glad it’s over.

I didn’t feel as nervous or worried this year. In fact, I very much look forward to learning in a classroom setting again.

Here’s an abridged version of my day:

I woke around six. Then I willed myself to fall back asleep.

I got out of bed after 8:30. I ate, read, and exercised. Then I left the house.

I took a bus and then the subway to get downtown. I wrote poems on the way there. I’m writing this post on the way back.

I had two classes back to back. Both related to media. During the short time I had after the first class, I ate a late lunch.

I realize this is boring. Nothing exciting happened. I’m not that interesting of a personto begin with.

I plan to stretch and dance soon after I get home.

My goal for tonight is to read more. I only had time for one short chapter in the morning.

I’m also going to edit a blog post and publish it before midnight. I have about a thousand drafts. I doubt I’ll ever let that number get down to zero.

I love journaling before bed. I enjoy reflecting upon the day.

Isn’t my life so much fun to read about?

I do the same things every 24 hours, which means I won’t be recounting my day anytime soon. I wouldn’t bore you like that. Instead, I’ll bore you with my opinions about anything and everything.

Sometimes I wonder whether I should publish the personal posts I write. There are tons among those one thousand drafts. There’s an annoying voice in my head that says no one cares. But I care, which is what matters.

More often than not, I write these posts for myself.

Hopefully, you’re able to take something away from them.

My Goals For The Rest Of 2017

Since it’s somehow October, I figured I should lay out some goals for myself for the end of the year.

Schooling

I’ve been meaning to be a better student this year. I’m not sure if I’ll do anything differently, though. Work hard, work smart, and work well.

Reading

When I have busy, hectic days, reading tends to suffer more than anything else. I have sort of a binge mindset with books. But it’s tough to block out an entire hour or two to read. My lowball goal is to post at least two reviews a month, meaning I’ll need to read two books. I wish I was a faster reader and reviewer, but when it comes to reading for fun, I want to enjoy the experience. I rather not rush myself for no real reason.

Writing

Honestly, writing sometimes falls by the wayside as well. I’m not too sure what my goal is. I’ve been writing short stories and poems. All summer long, I’ve spent my mornings transcribing old work and editing current projects. I keep sending my babies out into the world. People keep rejecting them. It’s the life of a writer. In a way, I feel a bit lost. I have a lot of doubts, and so I’m not sure what I want right now.

Dancing

I don’t talk much about dance on here, although I really ought to. I’ve been having some great dance sessions as of late. When I told someone about it, she asked me if I’ll ever take dancing to the next level. I won’t. I’ve always danced for myself, and I’m mostly a self-taught dancer. But I’d like to continue stretching, dancing, and conditioning. I feel great. It’s fun. Besides, exercising my body doesn’t hurt my brain.

Blogging

Of course, I save blogging for last. It’s not something I talk about with people in real life. I have my reasons. I also have hit a bit of a weird phase creatively. I seem to fall into routines, ride the same wave over and over again. I hope I’m making sense. I’ve always wanted to write longer posts, but it doesn’t sit right with me. It’s just not who I am to be verbose and wordy. When I edit, I cut out a lot. I’d love to keep posting every day.

These are my goals. What are yours?

A Letter To My 30 Year Old Self

Dear 30 year old Herminia,

How are you?

I hope you’re happy. Doing what you love, loving what you do.

Are you well? Healthy?

I like to think you’re still dancing. Maybe not to the extent you used to. But maybe you’re even better.

What book are you reading? You’re reading something, aren’t you? You won’t abandon your first love or neglect reading, right?

I wonder how you feel about dating and relationships. I’m sure 10 years will change your perspective, especially if you’re with someone you love. If you aren’t with someone you love, remember you deserve better. Don’t settle. Don’t ever settle. If you aren’t with someone, in which case I’m not surprised, again don’t settle for just anyone.

How’s the blog, huh? 20 year old you hardly went a day without blogging.

I want to believe with every fibre of my being that writing is still a big part of your life. At least it has some role. Perhaps you’re writing more, maybe getting paid to.

That’s the dream. A recurring one for years.

If you’re stressed or sad, breathe. You’re going to be okay. Whatever you happen to be going through, it will pass. And come on, you’re Herminia Chow.

Also, have you gotten better at dealing with ink stains? Or do pens still get the best of you?

Is there any chance you wish you could go back to being 20 years old when things were simple? I so badly wish you love life with all your heart. That you’re happy where you are.

Here’s to living with no regrets. Don’t panic. Do you. You’re not anyone else.

Keep going. Your hard work will pay off. A lot of your work has probably already paid off.

I don’t know what else to say except good luck. Remember why you started when you want to give up. The only person holding you back is yourself. Go after your goals. Say yes. Roll the dice. You may be surprised, Herminia.

Sincerely,

A not nearly as wise 20 year old

The Importance Of Timing In Reading

Everyone is entitled to their opinions, especially when it comes to books.

Sometimes, maybe even most of the time, I’m hesitant to read a popular novel. For a few main reasons.

I don’t want people to hype up a book for me only for it to disappoint because of high expectations.

I also feel odd when I’m in the minority. Either I love a book that people generally don’t like or I dislike a novel everyone seems to adore. In that case, I tend to feel like I’m missing something. As if I didn’t get the essence of the story.

It’s easy to look at reviews or seek out other readers’ opinions nowadays. Thanks Internet.

It’s also easy to form a bias before reading something because of what someone else says. That’s why I typically avoid reading book reviews before I begin. I don’t mind looking at reviews after I’ve finished a novel.

Often times I find others are able to say what I want to say more eloquently than I ever could. Or better yet, reviewers are able to specify an issue or ten they had with a book that I did too.

When I decide whether or not I want to buy a particular book, I don’t usually read reviews. I’ll read the synopsis or summary. Maybe the back cover or the first page.

I want to form my own opinion without the influence of anyone else, even if I trust him or her.

Going back to popular books, there are a number of reasons why I haven’t read Harry Potter. And some days I wonder if I ever will. The whole being let down is part of it. As well as the prospect I may not love this series as much as my friends.

I’m a huge believer that timing matters. When exactly you read a certain book can change your entire perception of it. I know there are books I appreciate better now than when I read them five, six years ago. Even five, six months make a huge difference.

Same goes for books I’ve read recently. I feel I would have enjoyed them more had I read some earlier in my life like in elementary or high school.

Regardless, reading really is remarkable. So don’t let anything or anyone stop you from enjoying a good book at any time in your life.

A Q&A About Reading Habits

Lately, I’ve been wondering about my reading habits, which led to the creation of this post.

What’s your policy on finishing books?

I try to finish every book I start regardless of whether I love it or not. As a kid I abandoned stories more easily, but I’ve gotten better at sticking with something if I start. It helps that I pick up books I want to read now.

How often do you read?

Daily.

How much do you read?

As of right now, I strive to finish 50 pages every day.

When do you read?

Mornings because I prefer reading in natural light. Sometimes I’ll have one reading session in the morning and another in the afternoon. If I’m busy during the day, I settle for evenings or nights.

Do you read one book or multiple books at a time?

One book at a time. If I have to read more than one, that’s fine. I tend to do so when I’m in school. I’ll read a book for class and read something else for fun. Way back when, I used to read a fiction and nonfiction book simultaneously. But my nonfiction game has been nonexistent nowadays.

Is there anything you do before or after reading a book?

I wash my hands prior to and update my GoodReads status if I remember. Key word there is remember. Sometimes I forget because I’m old and getting older with each passing second.

Now I’m curious about other people’s reading habits.