if i weren’t so exhausted, i would tell you all about how my november went.
suffice to say that i made good progress on three of my stories and have the nano diploma to show for it.
i have a long weekend coming up, so will be finishing up one of the drafts and doing some much needed editing on another. the goal is to have the draft done before the christmas holidays so that i can take the holidays off from writing, and return in january to shine it up.
(cookies, candy, and chocolate is all i want during my holidays.)
i’ve surpassed my reading challenge of 50 books by 17 books, and still have a month to go.
next year i’m considering aiming for a 200k writing challenge. (i’ve never managed to write more than ~145k in a year, so that seems like a massively clever thing to do.)
it’s autumn here in finland, so everything is gold. the fallen leaves, the sun rays and the wooden facades of the estate.
it’s calm here, and quiet. every now and then there’ll be a rain of golden leaves, indicating a squirrel has just run up a few branches. it gets dark at night. pitch black darkness of the kind you don’t experience in the city.
i’m writing again. i have several projects i’m working on: a couple of novels and a series of short stories. for the first time in my life, i want to actually publish my writing. i haven’t yet decided how – i’ll possibly query one of the novels, and self-publish the short stories, and see how goes from there.
i think i will participate in nanowrimo this year. thinking about it is making me really excited and this year i have several friends who will be participating. i have enough projects to work on, but i think i’ll choose one of my novels as the main project for nano and aim to complete a first, rough draft of it. if i stall, i’ll have other projects to turn to.
i’m so happy about my writing, it’s indescribable. i have this joy just filling me up. even when writing is hard and teeth pulling, it gives me life.
i have access to illustrator, photoshop and indesign for the first time in my life – i had photoshop back in denmark, but not the other two – so i’m going to teach myself how to use them.
i brought my knitting needles along and have discovered that even the smallest k-market in this little village sells a selection of yarns. so i’m going to teach myself how to read knitting patterns in finnish.
today i had my last day at work at job#1. yesterday i had my last day at work at job#2. tomorrow i am officially unemployed.
in the month and a half that has passed since i handed in my thesis, i have taken on extra shifts at job#1, applied for new jobs (i haven’t secured anything yet), hung out with friends and coworkers, and consumed a lot of art (by which i mean, i watched the entire first season of jane the virgin in less than two weeks. it is truly a work of art. i’ve also started a rewatch of six feet under, which is amazing – it’s every bit as good as i remember it being, when i watched it at a much more formative point in my life).
i’m writing again, which is very exciting! i have three stories i’m working on. two are just short low-stress stories, and one is the first book in a fantasy trilogy i’ve been planning for a while now. fantasy trilogies are all the rage, i know, but i don’t care – i don’t know that i want it published, i just want to write it because i can and because it’s a story i want to tell.
i’m oddly happy with being unemployed, to be honest. i’m going to miss my coworkers, who are all absolutely fabulous and gave me the best going away gift ever – a mug with the text “proceed as if success is inevitable” and a fantasy book series with dragons in them – but i’m also somewhat relieved. i’ve been at university for seven years and for the last four of those seven years, i’ve also worked there. a big part of my life has been tied up into that one place, to such a point that i often felt like i was living in a very small bubble. being unemployed forces me out of that bubble. i get to do things that have nothing to do with university at all. it’s a new chapter in my life – and i’m starting it with absolutely no strings attached. it’s wonderful.
i’ll leave you with this close up of a mug i painted the other week. it makes me happy in my heart.
the thesis is done and has been handed in. final tally:
85 complete pages
25-30 pages of cut material
4,6kg of chocolate
347 hours of soundrown ambient noise
in other news, all of the loose ends i’ve left dangling these past months (year) while i’ve been working, have now been sorted or are in the process of being sorted. i’ve had plumbers stomping up and down stairs looking for the off switch for the water main, bank counsellors repeatedly ask me for documents, furniture deliveries, and cleaning marathons.
i’m applying for jobs and have had one interview so far (no dice). i’ve a month and a half before i’ve got to worry about unemployment benefits, which is a luxury and a privilege i’m well aware of.
i’m slowly starting to create things again. things not related to academia. i’m drawing, writing, editing. i’m baking and cooking. i’m reading books i did not have the time to read previously.
i’ve not yet had the chance to go outside and photograph the spring, so i’ll leave you with a march photo taken from my south-west window.
the end is near. the thesis is coming to a close and i’m doing more editing than writing. over a year and a half has gone into this damned thing. i’ll not be sad to see it go.
i’m dreaming up characters and plots. i’m not writing. i can’t afford to expend the energy into writing fiction when i need all my energy to stay afloat and finish my thesis. i have two jobs now, instead of just the one. the second job is only a temporary part time contract that ends in june, but my free hours are depressingly few.
i love my jobs. each day is a new challenge. i have amazing coworkers. come june, once my thesis is handed in and i’m wrapping up my time at my first job, another coworker (who’s also quitting) and i will host a barbecue. i’ll have been in the job four years, my other coworker three. we want to end things on a good note.
by july 1st i’ll be unemployed and graduated. it’s strange to think of. what i used to describe as a terrifying abyss now seems more like a comfortable spot in the sun. change is coming, but change shouldn’t always be terrifying. having no tethers is liberating.
i want to talk about my writing, but it’s hard when there’s no writing to be talked about.
in other news, spring seems to have finally arrived. the sun is warm on my face and green things are poking out of the earth. i’ve planted tomatoes, coriander, chili peppers, basil, chives, and rocket in my kitchen window. i have a bag of dirt and empty pots on standby for when my little seedling green things need splitting and replanting. my flat will turn partway into a greenhouse this summer.