Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Way Things'll Be

As of tonight, I have no more drama rehearsals until February. The cast will be off to teaching placement in the new year, with another play to put on stage in two weeks, leaving me to tend to my time in my own ways. Thankfully, I'm quite good at doing things that take quite a bit of time!

My overall intention is to kick-start 2014 with a few different things on my website, including a series of articles, and a video series. Both will require some work, and will have their own little hiding place online for me to work with. Overall, there are ten articles to write and ten videos to make, but I can see that growing over time. The latter is a documentary of a project I'm hoping to undertake with some friends - they just don't know the gory details yet!

Essentially, though, it'll keep me busy at work creating these different things, and setting up all the different pieces needed to get it all started. I'm working from a guideline in The Millionaire Messenger by Brendon Burchard, and while I don't have such high aspirations of making such an inordinate amount of money, I'm definitely feeling the creative push in the right direction, that coincides nicely with things I've wanted to do for a while and just...didn't.

So, convenient that!

Of course, the articles and the videos are just one piece of the little puzzle. I've a lot of writing to do over the coming weeks, to fit around my hours in work. That's a good thing, though. I find that when I have something to do and somewhere to go, I start to value the time I have not in work that little bit more. I'm hoping to write a chapter or two of my current work in progress before work tomorrow, and hopefully one tonight. However, my main hope was to write something for tonight. I couldn't leave my blog to try fend for itself for another week.

This is all part of my commitment to something bigger, to keeping my creative works more consistent. It's helped, actually, having Burchard's book to work from. The "expert signposts" he includes in each chapter are helping me put to words the different things I need to learn or do or focus upon, and while it does mean I end up writing dozens of pages about different things, it's resulting in the helpful creation of resources to use in the future.

So, I'm basically positioning myself as an "expert", as he would put it, as a Messenger. We'll see how I actually work it all out in the different ways he suggests, but for the time being I'm writing books to work with all of this. I'm also working out a better publishing schedule for myself. It's the one thing I can say about books like this (though I haven't seen many books like this one): even if you don't achieve the same results you see printed in the book, there are results to be gained from doing the work.

And, if you can believe it, it's fun.

I'm genuinely enjoying doing this. I feel focused, I have ideas to work with, I'm getting things done, and I essentially had written permission to do something I enjoy for a living. (Well, we'll see if I "do it for a living", when things start playing out.) But for now, this is the way things'll be, while the drama rehearsals are on hold and I suddenly find myself with two more evenings a week than before, and for a long period of time. This is the sort of change I needed a long time ago, and I don't think it's too late to get started. I don't think it's ever too late to start doing something you love.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Learning From Home

With my graduation drawing that little bit closer, I'm beginning to notice how little I learn these days when compared to life in formal education. And you know what? It sucks. I hate not learning something new every day.

I've remedied this, slightly, by beginning to read the business and marketing books I've got on my shelves. I think I would have hated studying them in college and having to write about what other people did in those fields, and studying general principles of them - as opposed to having a look at literature as a whole, and studying religion both in depth and as a basic concept, and studying child psychology and education - but they're two of my favourite things to read about at home.

The books vary depending on my mood, but most recently I read through two of the books in the Teach Yourself (In a Week) series. One of them I read in a day - something like three chapters before work and four afterwards - instead of spreading it out over the week. More recently, though, I'm reading Brendon Burchard's The Millionaire Messenger.

Now, I'm under no misconceptions that I might become a millionaire in a short period of time. It's not a get-rich-quick book. What it is is a book that's getting me thinking, specifically about my strengths and experience, and in a positive light. I'm on a few chapters in and it's already had me pick up a pen and paper and jot down (in key words) everything I know about a topic, and begin writing a book because of that list. Best of all, though, is that I'm only getting started on the book.

One of things that's been missing since I finished up in college was a sense of direction. With modules, there's always something to aim towards, some assignment that needs doing, or an exam to...anticipate. While I'm glad to be free from the strict and horrible deadlines and stress that arise from such things - especially exams - I do miss having the defined course in front of me, and miss learning what someone else sees as being important.

Hence the learning from home, and reading through entire books on a wide range of topics under particular subjects. Basically, I have a need to learn something that hasn't gone away since my final exams. I'm glad for that, and even happier to have actually gotten back into the habit of reading regularly.

It's not just the business books, mind you. I mean, I'm not testing myself on any of this, but part of what made my course fun was having fiction thrown into the mix. So, I've been reading fiction. My home reading is non-fiction, but my lunches in work and every bus journey I take are devoted to reading. I'm half-way through book 4 in the Mortal Instruments series already, having also read a number of other books too, since September.

If I'm remembering my reading list correctly, since reading City of Bones, I've also read Everyday, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, and Numbers, with City of Ashes and City of Glass following them up. Before those, I read Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and Severed Heads, Broken Hearts, and volume one of Morning Glories.

While it's not a huge amount, it's more than I had time to read in the same amount of time while I was still a student. My hope is to finish up the Mortal Instruments books soon, then give something else a try. If I have a lot of hours in December for the run up to Christmas, I know I'll have plenty of lunch breaks to fill with books.

What I'd love is to actually get myself into a routine of reading a book per week of fiction and of non-fiction, while also writing. However, the way things are working out of late, I haven't had much of a chance to set up a weekly routine. It had been my hope at the end of the summer to have a full schedule lined up for myself, but work hours haven't been regular enough for that. (And, I'll admit, I've been lazy at times.)

Generally speaking, though, I think I'm getting on to a good start in terms of reading, and my new writing project could set me on the path to writing more regularly as well. I've done just enough work on it that abandoning it now is just wasteful, so that's a relief. That said, I'm only 12% into it. Tomorrow night might see me add another chunk to it, but it won't be much. Still, early starts and (almost) daily contributions to the book will see it finished in no one. Just like Planning Before Writing before it, this book can be done in bits and pieces, steadily over a period of time, without me worrying about losing my place.

And here's my question for you: are you reading anything interesting at the moment? Any Young Adult or Business recommendations you can make?