Week 1 of ROW80, and the second full week of my fall quarter, is complete! For me, the past seven days has been a crash course in organization, scheduling, and trying my darndest to work at my various projects and responsibilities consistently. Reviewing everything that I managed to do (and those few things that fell by the wayside), I’d say that I’ve done mostly well in reaching my goals.
Writing. I pledged to spend 8-10 hours on WIP-related tasks, and judging from my count, I managed to reach 8 hours. A couple of those were spent struggling through an idea I had for a novella, and the rest with brainstorming and plotting for NaNoWriMo. I also had a chance to write a short flash fiction piece for the “Ghouls Galore” writing challenge I’ve decided to tackle for October. It’s a fun challenge — 4 creepy ghouls over 4 weeks. My first piece is “The Fourth Floor,” about a haunted mansion, one very angry poltergeist, and two high school students who are in way over their heads.
Thesis: I had a really hard time digging into the thesis this week. I originally projected that I would work on it for about 8 hours, and I think I managed to squeeze in maybe 5 or 6. My attention span has been virtually non-existent, though, and I can’t really handle more than 1 hour of work at a time. However, I think I should have the draft of this chapter finished by Sunday night. It’s far from perfect, but I really need to have feedback on it before I go any further. Cross your fingers that I can score a meeting with my advisor in the next week or so!
Exercise: I had hoped to work out 4 or 5 days this week, and I successfully got on my glider 4 times. My clothes are starting to fit better, and I’ve been able to liberate a few items out of my “too small to fit right now” pile, so this is a plus. Now I just have to maintain my momentum, and not fall by the wayside like I always seem to do.
Random things that I’ve learned:
- Reading dense theory takes a sickening amount of time, especially when I’m trying to absorb material and take notes. I can speed-read an academic chapter (roughly 45-50 pages long) in two hours; I need over three hours if I want to do a good job of understanding things.
- On the other hand, reading fun novels takes no time at all! In two days I have read the first two novels in Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series, and I am holding myself back from devouring the last three. I made a major library run the other day, and have Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker in queue, as well as Deborah Harkness’s A Discovery of Witches.
- I seem to be evolving into a disgustingly cheerful morning person — not sure how I have managed this, but I am grateful.
So, yeah, overall I’d say that I’m off to a decent start. I’ll be recalibrating things as I go (for example, do I need to spend 8 hours each week on the thesis, or can I do what I need to do with fewer hours?), but for the moment, I think tackling time targets is working well for me.
As a side note, I just want to add that I’m really grateful that I have friends in town who force me to go out and have a social life. I’ve had my nose to the grindstone for the entire week, trying to juggle everything, and I probably would work straight through the weekend if I didn’t have people forcing me to leave the house. Tonight I was persuaded to go out for dinner, and tomorrow I’ll be back to the weekly ritual of church with one of my friends. Then I will get to spend the afternoon at the movies with another buddy of mine. We are going to see Real Steel, and I will have 2 hours to fangirl squeal over the magnificence that is Hugh Jackman. Granted, I still have a research abstract to write, and thesis edits to do, and roughly 150 pages more theory to read, but I suppose having some relaxation time is important as well. 😀
How’s the first week gone for everyone else? Any need to tweak goals yet, or are things progressing swimmingly for the moment?
ETA: I would totally love to have a ROWbuddy for this round! I have no specific requirements, but it would be grand to have someone about for general encouragement, and maybe to do some writing sprints, especially as NaNoWriMo approaches. I am in the Pacific time zone (U.S. west coast); Twitter and email are my favorite modes of communication.