Write With Me: That Didn’t Go As Planned

Week 1

Day 1 (9/2/18)

Today is the first day of the three month period I gave myself to write this novel and I didn’t write anything. I’m still recovering from a cold and the medication had me sleepy all day but that’s still not a good enough reason for a no-words-written day. I have a well-planned outline but the prologue was the only chapter of the book that had a one-sentence description. I didn’t do a very detailed description because I already knew the most important things: where it took place, who was there, and what happened but I guess I didn’t think I’d get white page fever. Well, we’ll always have tomorrow. 

Total Word Count: 0

Day 2 (9/3/18)

I wrote a little. I finally decided how I wanted to write the prologue. I wanted to introduce the readers to the magical side of the story but I hadn’t decided how the magic would work in the story. I knew the rules and limitations already; I’d created them when I was world building and for the more complex magic, I’d already created a detailed explanation for it. But the simpler magic, the magic a lot of the character would have, I hadn’t done that so I had to do a little research for that. Since the bulk of the magic is based on the elements (earth, air, fire, and water) I had to define what that meant and what that looks like.

Total Word count: 563

Day 3 (9/4/18)

I wrote a little bit today as well. It’s so weird. I’m used to writing about 1,300-2,500 words per writing session but I haven’t been able to do that because of my job. I’m used to working and writing but I’m currently working a physically demanding job, so when I get home I’m exhausted. I normally find myself falling asleep just from sitting and when I’m not napping, I’m trying to relax my body and mind. My writing windows, times in which I’m energized and have time to write, are disappearing. I need to figure out something or else I’m going to fall really behind in my word count and it’s going to be too hard to actually write the book in the amount of time I’ve given myself. I can’t wake up earlier because I’m already waking up around 6 am for work and I’m not a morning person. That’s just going to lead to me losing my job because I wouldn’t even be able to fake cheerfulness. Plus, it’ll make me despise writing and I never want to do that. I did finish the prologue and I like it. I know when I do the second draft, I’ll probably change it a bit but I really like my opening paragraph. The opening lines are always the hardest to write.

Total Word Count: 1,017

Day 4 (9/5/18)

I didn’t write today because something really important happened today. I was fired from a job for the first time. Now, before you jump to conclusions no, I’m not sad and no, I didn’t do anything wrong. I just recently moved to a new state and I took the first job I could get because the job I had in St. Louis ended up not transferring down to Houston. Anyway, I took the first job I could get and it was something I’d never done before. That, plus the bad management at the job, made me really hate it but I couldn’t quit because everyone around me told me I couldn’t. Everyone around me told me I needed that job even if the pay was low, the hours were short, and the management was bad. Everyone believed some money was better than no money and I was still looking for jobs.

But today my manager made my decision pretty easy. He refused to clock me in today (so basically he wanted me to work a seven-hour shift for free because that what would have happened if I’d worked without being on the clock). Why was I even there? I wasn’t supposed to work today, but he asked me to take on a shift and I agreed. He was angry when I walked in because the people who closed didn’t do what they were supposed to do so he took it out on me. This was nothing new. For the past week, I’ve been dealing with bad treatment and verbal abuse because I refused to work the night shift (a shift he told me after my interview I wouldn’t have to work). After I refused, that’s when the bad treatment started. 

But any, the way the computer system is set up, if you’re not scheduled to work that day or if it’s not your scheduled time to work, the computer won’t let you clock in or out. The manager will need to do a manual override to clock you in. At first, he lied and said I was clocked in and then when I realized I wasn’t, after close to 30 minutes of working, I asked him to clock me in. He refused and told me to get back to work. So I walked out. I don’t work for free and I wasn’t being treated like a human at that job. I value myself too much to let someone degrade me and so when I walked out, I walked with my head held high and a smile on my face to my manager’s dismay. He told me walking out was an automatic termination. And I smiled and waved goodbye.

I recently had a cancer scare. I have a mass in my left breast but the doctors don’t believe it’s cancerous. The doctors want to monitor it for the next two years because of my family’s history with cancer. My father died from it and my mother is currently in remission. During that period of not knowing whether or not I had breast cancer, I vowed to myself that I would cherish my life more and if I didn’t have cancer I would try to live my life as if I could die any day because it’s true. Life is short and it’s not guaranteed. I vowed to never do something I didn’t want to do. And I really didn’t want to work there with him. So I walked out, knowing he’d fire me but I didn’t care.

I spent most of my day at a workforce facility looking for work and I applied for unemployment. When I got home, I ate and finished the Korean drama I’ve been watching (it was the final three episodes) and then I showered and pulled out my computer, ready to write, only to realize 12:00 am had passed. It was a new day and I hadn’t written any words. But since I don’t have anything to do tomorrow except applying for jobs, I guess I’ll write.

Total Word Count: 1,017

Day 5 (9/6/18)

I wrote a little but I spent most of my day applying for jobs. I found out I have a preliminary interview with a staffing agency tomorrow so that’s great. I also found out what the difference between a staffing agency and a temp agency is. Temp agencies usually place you in very temporary jobs and they take a percentage of your paycheck as payment for their services. A staffing agency will place you in a more stable position although they are not permanent. It’s usually up to the company they place you with if you’ll get hired on to a permanent position. And if a staffing agency places you at a company, the company pays them a fee for placing you, so you don’t pay them. These are just a few things I’ve learned while in search of a job.

Total Word Count: 1,310

Day 6 (9/7/18)

Today was such a good writing day. I’m finally getting back to my average word count and I had a good personal day as well. But anyway, back to the writing. I finished the first chapter and I love it. I love the way the characters seemed to spring to life with their distinctive voices and the way that the first chapter brings the reader into this illicit world of blood and magic. I’m so amped right now.

Total Word Count: 2,586

Day 7 (9/8/18)

I didn’t write anything today. I opened my Scrivener document but never typed a thing. I started watching Netflix and nearly finished a whole season of a show in one day. Also, I finally bought a tripod so I started tinkering with that and my camera. I promise next week will be a better writing week than this one. I hoped I would reach 5,000 words this week but that didn’t happen but I did write a killer opening for the story. Let’s focus on the positives. Tomorrow, when I wake up I’m going to write before I do anything else so that I can make sure to get my minimum word count in for the day. I refuse to not meet my deadline. 

Total Word Count: 2,586

First Month In Houston, TX

So I moved to Houston, Texas from St. Louis, Missouri last month and everything went wrong…and right. Let me explain!

I decided to pack my life up into five boxes and move halfway across the country with hopes of getting a better job. St. Louis is small, it’s hard to get jobs, the pay is bad, and I have student loans. So when my cousin approached me for the second time in regards to me moving to Houston, I finally gave in to logic. The original plan was: he would help me move to Houston; my family would drive down to Houston to say their final goodbyes and see where I’ll be living; my cousin would let me crash with him and his family until I moved into my own apartment; my cousin would give me one of his cars; and I would transfer my job down to Houston. That was the plan but things rarely go as planned.

A month before I left St. Louis I found out that the car my cousin was going to give me was damaged and the repairs would cost more than the car was worth (in his opinion). I honestly just believe he wanted me to get a new car because he’s not the type of person to promise you something without looking into it first. Meaning, he would have looked at the car to make sure it wasn’t too damaged before telling me he’d give it to me. It was a 2005 GM Envoy and he thought it was too big and too old of a model for me. So, by the time I made it to Houston, I no longer had a car and I would need to start readjusting my budget for housing because now I would probably also have a car note.

My cousin did allow me to move into the bottom half of his 5-year-old townhouse. It really does feel like my own little apartment down there most days. I have a big bedroom, big windows, a walk-in closet, and a big full bathroom down there. If I’m being honest, my favorite part of my living quarters is that bathroom. It’s gorgeous.

img_2979Although I moved to Houston, TX only half of my things did. My mother, brother, sister, and my sister’s husband and children were supposed to drive down to Houston a few days after I flew but after a series of unfortunate events, they couldn’t come. I was already sad about this because I really wanted to see my family one last time, after all, we’d planned for them to drive down here two days after I flew, so we didn’t say all the mushy goodbyes and stuff and when I finally realized I wasn’t going to see or hug them again until probably December, I got very sad. But then I realized that they were also supposed to bring the rest of my things down with them because I could only fly with my big suitcase, my carry on, and my camera bag. My heart sunk even lower. I’d already thrown away so much stuff to get it down to five boxes, but to then lose those too…it hurt. 

It also took me a week to realize I didn’t have a job. Yeah, the company I was within St. Louis wasn’t the best place to work, largely because of the pay, but I was still trying to transfer my job to Houston so that I could still have a job. I went through most of the interviewing process while I was still in St. Louis. By the time I made it to Houston, all I had to do was meet up with the director of my department and the facility director. After that, I never heard back from them. It’s been a month and I haven’t even received the little auto-sent message of “the interviewing process will not continue”. If it wasn’t for the fact that I didn’t have a job, I wouldn’t have felt too crappy about the situation as a whole. Like I said, the pay was really low although the same position I had in St. Louis was a salary position down here in Houston, so I won’t talk bad about Houston’s pay, just their communication skills. I spent most of the month walking and cycling in the Houston heat, applying to different jobs near me and luck finally caught up with me last week when I finally got a call-back and within a few days, I was working again. I also have another interview with a full-time job that I really hope I get because working part-time isn’t going to get me a car anytime soon.

There have been other things that have happened but they are more health-related and will get their own posts.

Have you ever planned a trip or made a big life decision that didn’t go as planned? Let me know in the comments below.

And until next time, thanks for reading.

I’m Moving To Houston, TX

Hey everyone, I know my blog has been kind of quiet lately, it’s because I’ve been having some technical difficulties and I’ve also been very busy. Let me explain what happened really quickly and then after that, I’ll get to the moving story.

About two months back, my MacBook Pro of 5 years died and I had to get it replaced. I thought everything was fine because I backed up my computer twice a month, but when I got my new computer, I found out my new computer was not recognizing the external hard drive I’d used to store my backups. This means I lost a lot of content. I lost all the photos from my study abroad trip/travel trips and I lost a lot of documents. I was able to go into the hard drive and retrieve some photos, mostly the photos of my deceased father, but after that, the files became corrupted. So, if it wasn’t stored in the iCloud, on a flash drive, or in Google Drive, I don’t have it anymore. So that’s what happened, that’s why the content stopped because I became very focused on trying to retrieve my lost content, plus I have two and a half jobs and I’m planning an interstate move.

But anyway, moving on…

I’m moving to Houston, Texas. It literally took me a year to decide to do this. Last year when I graduated from college, my mom and my cousin tried to convince me to move to Houston. They both wanted me to change states because of the lack of opportunities in St. Louis but I didn’t want to move or, more accurately, I wasn’t ready to move. Leaving home never bothered me, as long as I can talk to my family, homesickness never sets in, but I just wasn’t ready to leave. So, I created reasons to stay. At first, it was graduate school. I told myself I wanted to go to graduate school but the way my bank account is set up, I needed to get a well-paying job first before embarking on that path because student loans are not fun. But then a few months went by and I still couldn’t find work, and the dream of going to graduate school started to fade. I’m not saying it’s never going to happen, I’m just saying it’s not happening in the next two years.

At that point, I returned to my old job, working part-time but I was still looking for full-time work. I tried a few side hustles and pick up a few extra skills, such as website design, photography, editing video and photos but I never stopped looking for full-time work. Back in January, I got really close to getting a full-time job making $37,000 a year (in St. Louis without any children, that would have made me middle class) but I didn’t get it. I was one of the final candidates but someone with more experience most likely got the job. The experience didn’t make me bitter, it did the opposite, it gave me hope. For a while, I thought I was just un-hirable. I thought I didn’t have enough skills to get a decent job but after that, I knew it was just because St. Louis is small and our economy sucks. Just to give you an example to back up my statement, during my year of looking for full-time work, I tried to get a job with the City of St. Louis. When I went to the website, there were only 27 job openings for official St. Louis City workers. St. Louis City has a population of 311, 404 (2016). I rest my case.

This is when I called my cousin who lives in Houston and asked him if his offer still stood and he asked me when I wanted to move.

For those that are wondering, why Houston? Houston is the fourth biggest city in the U.S. and it has a booming economy.

 

What Offer?

Our families are close yet distant. He’s my cousin on my mother’s side of the family. My mom took care of his mom when his mom had breast cancer. And his mom was my mom’s oldest sister and she literally helped my grandma raise my mom. So, we’ve always been connected. After he moved out of St. Louis, we became distant but I knew he still cared about us. He would check in on us, send us presents or money for Christmas, etc. He even gave me a vacation when I graduated from high school.

When I graduated from college he offered to help me transition into adulthood. He offered to help me move, give me a place to live until I could afford my own place and he gave me a car to get around in. He wants to help me foster an environment where I can focus on growing my photography business and writing my screenplays and novels without the fear of failing and not having enough money to live off of. In our family, we believe in paying it forward. If you’re at a point in your life where you can afford to help others, you help them. I am so thankful for this opportunity and I can’t wait until I can help someone else in this manner. I’m excited for this next chapter in my life.

I move to Houston on July 18, 2018.

Post Graduate Dilemma

So I have three paths in front of me and I don’t know which one to choose.

Path One

Move to Houston, Texas at the end of the summer. This blog is about writing, traveling, and life. Way back in my first post I promised that this summer would be filled with adventure but I didn’t explain what that meant. Well, back in March my cousin who lives in Houston, Texas reached out to me to see if I would like to babysit for him during the summer. I was delighted because I thought it would only be for a week or so. But nope, my cousin wanted me to be a live-in babysitter for the summer. So I thought about it and said yes. Then him, my sister, and my mother started talking and the more they talked the more the plan changed. Suddenly, I wasn’t going down to Houston to babysit, I was going to move down there and try to find a job in a field similar to my degree field because Texas’ economy is so much better than Missouri’s.  I don’t have an official move date, but I do have an official move month: September.

Path Two

Go back to school in August and get my Masters in International Relations. Going back to school was always in my future. The only reason I didn’t apply for graduate school during my last undergraduate semester was because I didn’t think I’d be able to afford it. My alma mater has an accelerated MA International Relations program that allows you to get your degree in eleven months and during those eleven months, you have to travel to five different countries. It’s an intense program and once I heard about it, I knew it was the program for me. But the price tag was sure to be out of my league so I didn’t apply. I recently found out that scholarships would pay for most of the program (hurray) but I would still have to pay for the living expenses (which is understandable). But, due to my previous international travel, I know that conversion rates would really eat through my budget and there would be no way to make up for it other than to take out additional student loans. Taking out additional student loans would put me further into debt and make my goals of paying off my student loans in ten years highly unlikely.

Path Three

Stay in St. Louis and save up money for a year so that I can afford the additional expenses that would come with traveling internationally for eleven months. This would mean that I’d start grad school in August of 2018. After I graduate in August of 2019, I’d start thinking about where to live and which career paths I’d want to pursue. This path allows me to focus a little on my writing and develop my publishing company. This option would also give me a much needed break from school. But it’s that break that everyone is worried about. My family is worried about me taking a year off (essentially) because they know how hard it is to get back into the groove of school once life starts to happen.

So I have three paths in front of me and I don’t know which one to choose…

[Photo by Tyler B. Humphries/Berlin, Summer 2016.]