Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Thoughts from Out-of-State

Good morning!

I'm actually in North Carolina as I write this, which is kind of a big deal to me. I'm from Missouri, and I had never: a, been out of the Midwest; b, flown in a plane (or any other flying device); or c, seen the ocean. Right now, I've got a and b covered, and as of Friday (I'm writing this on Tuesday because I'm not sure I'll have internet access Thursday-Saturday), I will never be able to say any of those things again because all three will have happened. And it's awesome!

At the moment, we're at this little college in a beautiful little town, and I'm loving the atmosphere. It's a math-related week (for the first four days)... Sort of. I'm a math researcher for the summer, which I've already said; as I have also said, I am not a biologist. Today was an eight hour work day, and somewhere between six to six-and-a-half hours were spent discussing biology I do not have the tools to understand with very, very little discussion of math application. Worse than that, the biology professors heading everything up expect the mathematics students to read and give opinions on abstracts that even some of the biology students don't entirely understand. It's a bit frustrating. (I'm all about working and learning, but I am in no way qualified to explain or give any opinion on whether mating e. coli is the best way to pass on certain traits when we're talking about bio-engineering.) So... That's a bit stressful. I am very ready for the math. (Coming from the now-Friday self, we didn't actually do math, but we read a lot about math, which isn't particularly satisfying, but it was definitely more interesting for me.)

But as it is, I'm learning to tune-out all of the biology mumbo jumbo (as my math adviser has said he does on occasion), and I'm enjoying my time. Right now, I should probably out doing something a bit more productive, like reading or studying or doing math or memorizing world capitals... But instead, I'm blogging and sitting on Facebook... I lack motivation.

Aha! See what I did there? (XD) Craig's question this week was about motivating yourself to write, which is something with which every writer struggles at some point in his/her journey. I don't know that I have an answer. Sometimes, I just don't write (which is not the right answer at all). But my advice and usual means of fighting through it is to write anyway, even if you're not feeling it. Even if I'm writing utter crap, in the long run, it is more beneficial to get something down than to produce nothing. Change stories. (If you're like me, you've got a plethora of unfinished manuscripts you can jump into when you're stuck on the one you'd like to be writing.) If you know what you want to write, make yourself do it, even if it's not turning out the way you want it to. Then, rewrite and edit. If you don't know what you want to write, you have two choices. One: Lay in bed at night, just trying to get some story to play out; when it does, write it down. When it doesn't, give yourself a new scenario because the one you were trying to force them isn't meant to be (yet). At least, that's my method. Please note, it does not always work because, like I said, I am procrastinating right now.

To any of you guys (mainly Rachel, based on her post), do you want to commit to, like, a chapter every week or two weeks and send each other our drafts to proofread on whatever day we commit to? That way we get some writing and some editing done on a schedule.

Also, changing courses slightly, Rachel asked what we're all reading. I'm kind of skimming right now and putting off actually dedicating massive amounts of time to the books (more on the procrastination theme, it seems. Sad day), but I've got a few different things I'm going to be jumping between because some of them are things I can't just sit down and read. The first I just got today; it's a research book I'm going to be exploring: Complexity and Real Computation. I spent, like, forty-five minutes to an hour-and-a-half working on it, and I'm only halfway through the introduction because some of its density (Again, note from Friday: I don't think I'm going to spend my summer reading about math because I want to be doing math, so I think this is on hold). But it's good! The second is another educational-type reading, but of a different nature: Harry Potter y la piedra filosofal, or Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in Spanish. I'm attempting to learn the language for a trip to Honduras I'm planning, so it's my means of practicing while immersing myself in a story I love. The third is a reread that I immensely enjoyed the first time: Howl's Moving Castle. If you've seen the movie, check out the book; it's better. If you haven't seen the movie, read the book first.

But... Yeah. It's a little after midnight so morning comes in six-and-a-half hours. I'm thinking bedtime. Good night everyone. Have a happy weekend, and Craig, I will read you on Monday.

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