author, holidays, University, writing

Prepping For A Big Month

September is going to be huge! There’s a lot to do during this month and it will be borderline chaos! My sister is getting married, assessments are due and my little boy turns 1!

Things are definitely chaotic. I’m still entering some short story competitions here and there (I was gifted a free membership for Vocal+ which I’m taking advantage of and entering comps there) as well as writing and editing my books. It adds extra things on top of everything else though!

I’m going to take the month of September off writing. Maybe not completely, but I am going to take a breather and not write as often as I normally do. I don’t particularly have the time at the moment to write. I mean, technically I am still writing for University assessments but it doesn’t quite count.

I’ll keep an eye on some short story competitions in case I want to throw in an entry, but I’m not going to put any pressure on myself or try to write because I have to. I do love writing, don’t get me wrong, but it has become my job and I think it’s time for a bit of a ‘annual leave.’

I’ll still do my blogs but since September is so incredibly busy I won’t be super active. I’m going to prioritise family in this busy month since so much is happening! I’ll be back into writing in October, ready to prep for NaNoWriMo!

author, tips, University, writing

10 Tips To A Successful University Semester

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresea, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”

H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Oh the grind of University! It’s very different with a child in tow but I find that tips are pretty universal – sometimes you just have to work around a baby!

1. Attend your classes (even if they’re online videos)

It can really suck attending classes, and sometimes the lecturer is the most boring person alive. However, classes are very important to attend. Useful questions are asked and confusing concepts are clarified during classes. It can be hard finding the motivation to attend, especially when your classes are online, but it is incredibly beneficial.

2. Find a quiet spot to study

“Wisdom grows in quiet places.”

Austin O’Malley

This is an essential factor for me. I can’t study when it’s noisy or busy around me. I need a nice, quiet spot to focus my mind and get me into the zone to study. I didn’t think noise or actions around me would be so distracting, but boy they are. A quiet zone is peaceful and perfect study space!

Obviously for me I can’t study while bubba is awake – it’s way too noisy. I try to study while he’s asleep and get a quiet space to study and attend my classes (mainly our study).

3. Finish assessments early

It sounds kind of lame, but finishing assessments early is amazing. Not only do you feel productive, but you also have time to go over those assessments again and revise them. Most people have experienced an all-nighter, I certainly have, but it is incredibly beneficial to spend extra time editing and revising days before an assessment is due.

4. Planning

For me, planning is soothing. I enjoy being able to plan out my day, week and month in advance. It helps me keep track of what I’m doing and when I need to have things done by. It is really helpful to plan out your days or weeks in advance so that you know what you need to do in the week and when you have time to study. It also helps to keep track of assessments and know what is due and when.

5. Take notes, and then re-write said notes

This is something that really works for me in my psychology degree. I take physical notes during classes and then I re-write those notes onto my computer after the classes. I find it’s a good way to revise topics and imprint these concepts into my mind. It helps remind me of what I learnt in the class and I can look up things I didn’t understand while writing out those notes.

6. Take breaks

Breaks are super duper important for productivity! It’s useless to spend hours staring at books or computer screens and continuing to study the same thing over and over. You need to take breaks to rest your mind and your eyes in order to remain productive.

7. Get plenty of sleep

Orange Cat Sleeping on White Bed

On that previous note, sleep is so incredibly important during University! Your body and brain needs sleep to rejuvenate and refresh. You need to get good sleep in order to keep your brain functioning and able to understand new concepts. You also need sleep in order to remain healthy and able to study and attend classes. Lack of sleep leads to lower immune systems and, put bluntly, disaster!

8. Try not to procrastinate

“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone”

Pablo Picasso

It sounds stupid to say, but sometimes it needs to be said. Procrastination is a useless venture and, I admit, it is a hard habit to overcome. It’s quite easy to become distracted with other things and out off your work until the last minute. It is so important to catch yourself when you’re doing these things and force yourself to go study or do your assessment. Procrastination gets you nowhere, you need to focus and try to remain focused until the semester is over!

9. Take care of your mental health

“What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, and more unashamed conversation.”

Glenn Close

I am 100% a major mental health advocate (must be something to do with the psych degree). It is so important to take care of your mental health, especially during a University semester. Uni can be so stressful and hard that your mental health might decline, which is very common. It’s important to eat well, exercise and see a professional if you feel your mindset slipping. It is hard to get through Uni, but even harder with mental illness weighing you down. Make sure you take time for yourself and know your limits!

10. Coffee, coffee, coffee!

Cup of Coffee on Saucer

For me, coffee is life. I love my coffee, it is the breath of life into me each day. But, my main point in this is to find things you enjoy. Find joy in your University life and enjoy each moment spent on campus or doing online classes. It is a long haul, but University is a short stint in your life and you definitely need to enjoy it! For me, I find my joy in having multiple cups of coffee from my favourite cafes on campus. Brings joy to me!

“Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.”

John Maxwell
author, tips, University, writing

Busy: Expectations vs. Reality

Life is crazy. Honestly, incredibly crazy! Being a stay-at-home mum, working from home and studying my Masters… it’s just hectic. I know I touched on all this in one of my recent blogs but I didn’t realise just how busy things would get as the semester started kicking into gear! I was expecting life to get hectic with University thrown into the mix, but my expectations were not reality (isn’t that always the way?)

It’s been about a month since classes went back, which is only 4 weeks out of 10 but holy moly life is chaos! I’m having to work on my coursework after dinner and trying to work throughout the day.

It’s bringing a bit of mum guilt into my life. I was fine previously, I would work while bub napped, but he’s older now and only naps twice a day. I can’t effectively work and do my studies just during his nap times so it’s starting to spill into his wake times.

He’ll be playing beside me and I’ll be in a lecture. I’ll be finishing up some work while he’s rolling on the floor. I need to do all this, and I love studying and being able to work but the mum guilt is real!

It’s still a work in progress but I do have a basic routine now. I’m trying to spend as much time with bubba as possible when he’s awake but I also know I need to meet deadlines and so I sometimes work while he’s playing. I’m still with him and can interact – it’s not 100% attention all the time but I’m doing my best!

I’ll take each day as it comes and continue juggling my days as best I can – once this semester is over it’ll be a lot easier!

author, University, writing

Rainstorms, Family, and University

It’s been a rainy few months here! It’s been very wet so far and winter is looking rainier than usual! Personally, I love rainstorms and find so much inspiration when it’s raining! On the downside, I have a 9-month-old who would very much like to get outside every so often.

And we’re also back into the grind! University is back in session and it’s a little overwhelming this time around.

I’m in a new degree – it still feels strange to have dropped my psych degree. I definitely feel confident and happy with my decision, but it still feels weird.

Add onto that the fact I’m doing a Masters and not a Bachelor and things get crazy. It’s already a lot harder – more readings, more homework, and harder assessments. But I am really enjoying it.

I’m now trying to figure out how to juggle everything. University on top of working and being home with a child is really tough. Where I would usually write I have to do University and I have to find time in there for working and also still writing. Definitely going to be a busy few months!

My writing may slow down over the next little while – University and my family are more important right now. However, I’m going to try to keep writing a little bit here and there so that I don’t do nothing! That said, I will be writing short stories in my degree so I guess I won’t be stopping my writing at all!

I’m looking forward to November as well. Uni will be over for the year and I’ll be able to get back into writing by going through NaNoWriMo once again! I don’t overly slow down much but that’s okay, I enjoy what I’m doing and they’ll be time for breaks later!

author, University, writing

Writing With Other Priorities: University and Family

And the chaos resumes! I knew 2022 was going to be intense from the moment I brought my son into this world. I still have 2 years left of my degree (since I dropped to part-time) and I really want to push through and finish my studies!

It’s already a tough juggling act and University has only just begun. I have to attend classes and sometimes they clash with when my son is awake or needs to be fed or is just plain grumpy. It’s already a tough haul getting the studies done while looking after him.

Add onto this my writing commitments and I am swamped! I do enjoy being busy, I’m not a person to sit still and do nothing all day. But even for me it’s a bit too chaotic.

I was originally planning on doing 2 University classes, but I dropped it down to 1. I’m focusing on my family and on my writing right now while slowly trudging through my degree.

I’m enjoying spending more time in the present and being able to prioritise my family. I’m writing and reading when I can and University is on a bit of a backburner. When I get published University won’t be the be-all and end-all anyway!

I’ll keep busy with my 1 class this semester, family commitments and writing commitments. I am swamped but definitely enjoying it all.

author, University, Writing

Getting Back Into The Groove

“You can make anything by writing.”

C.S. Lewis

Holidays are well and truly behind us now! It’s still surreal to think that we’re in January 2022, but here we are! I’m starting to get back into my groove now and get back into my daily writing routine!

It’s definitely a different routine than I’m used to. I’m used to quite a rigid routine, but with a 3 month old a rigid routine isn’t really possible. His nap lengths vary and some days he sleeps 45 minutes and other days it’s 2 hours. I use his nap times as my writing time, and I have to be flexible about when I write and for how long.

It was definitely easier last year to find time for writing. My priorities did change drastically last year, but I was able to schedule my time and knew when I was working or doing University or writing. Now, it’s anyone’s guess really. My son may have a basic routine, but it can definitely change a lot.

I have had to find time wherever I can. I find he takes his longest naps in the morning, so I try to smash out some writing during that time. I will then usually edit during his afternoon naps, which tend to be about 45mins – 80mins. They are shorter nap lengths so I can edit quickly during that time.

638 Be Flexible Photos - Free & Royalty-Free Stock Photos from Dreamstime

I will be putting my son first throughout each day. If he is fussy one day and fighting naps I may not be able to spend time writing. It’s hard for an over-scheduler like me to accept this, but I’ve learnt over the past few months to really be more flexible and not schedule every second of my day.

My schedule will have to change again when Uni goes back. I will have to use his morning nap time as my University time, which means I’ll be writing in the afternoons and when he goes to bed. It’ll be tough juggling all the commitments, but I’m determined to give it a shot and work through it.

“You should write because you love the shape of stories and sentences and the creation of different words on a page. Writing comes from reading, and reading is the finest teacher of how to write.”

Annie Proulx

I love writing and it will always be my passion. I want to continue writing throughout my days and I’m sure that because I love it so much, I will find the time.

t’s exhausting, but these times are also fun. I’m eager to go through the year and see how my writing goes amongst my family commitments. It’s going to be a hectic and interesting year for sure!

author, University, Writing

10 Tips To A Successful University Semester

Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresea, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.

H. Jackson Brown Jr.

As I continue powering through the University semester, I wanted to repost a blog with my top tips that help me get through the semester successfully. I created this blog post ages ago and rediscovered it the other day and it truly does have tips that help me get through the semester successfully!

1. Attend your classes (even if they’re online videos)

It can really suck attending classes, and sometimes the lecturer is the most boring person alive. However, classes are very important to attend. Useful questions are asked and confusing concepts are clarified during classes. It can be hard finding the motivation to attend, especially when your classes are online, but it is incredibly beneficial.

2. Find a quiet spot to study

“Wisdom grows in quiet places.”

Austin O’Malley

This is an essential factor for me. I can’t study when it’s noisy or busy around me. I need a nice, quiet spot to focus my mind and get me into the zone to study. I didn’t think noise or actions around me would be so distracting, but boy they are. A quiet zone is peaceful and perfect study space!

3. Finish assessments early

It sounds kind of lame, but finishing assessments early is amazing. Not only do you feel productive, but you also have time to go over those assessments again and revise them. Most people have experienced an all-nighter, I certainly have, but it is incredibly beneficial to spend extra time editing and revising days before an assessment is due.

4. Planning

For me, planning is soothing. I enjoy being able to plan out my day, week and month in advance. It helps me keep track of what I’m doing and when I need to have things done by. It is really helpful to plan out your days or weeks in advance so that you know what you need to do in the week and when you have time to study. It also helps to keep track of assessments and know what is due and when.

5. Take notes, and then re-write said notes

This is something that really works for me in my psychology degree. I take physical notes during classes and then I re-write those notes onto my computer after the classes. I find it’s a good way to revise topics and imprint these concepts into my mind. It helps remind me of what I learnt in the class and I can look up things I didn’t understand while writing out those notes.

6. Take breaks

Breaks are super duper important for productivity! It’s useless to spend hours staring at books or computer screens and continuing to study the same thing over and over. You need to take breaks to rest your mind and your eyes in order to remain productive.

7. Get plenty of sleep

Orange Cat Sleeping on White Bed

On that previous note, sleep is so incredibly important during University! Your body and brain needs sleep to rejuvenate and refresh. You need to get good sleep in order to keep your brain functioning and able to understand new concepts. You also need sleep in order to remain healthy and able to study and attend classes. Lack of sleep leads to lower immune systems and, put bluntly, disaster!

8. Try not to procrastinate

Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”

Pablo Picasso

It sounds stupid to say, but sometimes it needs to be said. Procrastination is a useless venture and, I admit, it is a hard habit to overcome. It’s quite easy to become distracted with other things and out off your work until the last minute. It is so important to catch yourself when you’re doing these things and force yourself to go study or do your assessment. Procrastination gets you nowhere, you need to focus and try to remain focused until the semester is over!

9. Take care of your mental health

What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, and more unashamed conversation.”

Glenn Close

I am 100% a major mental health advocate (must be something to do with the psych degree). It is so important to take care of your mental health, especially during a University semester. Uni can be so stressful and hard that your mental health might decline, which is very common. It’s important to eat well, exercise and see a professional if you feel your mindset slipping. It is hard to get through Uni, but even harder with mental illness weighing you down. Make sure you take time for yourself and know your limits!

10. Coffee, coffee, coffee!

Cup of Coffee on Saucer

For me, coffee is life. I love my coffee, it is the breath of life into me each day. But, my main point in this is to find things you enjoy. Find joy in your University life and enjoy each moment spent on campus or doing online classes. It is a long haul, but University is a short stint in your life and you definitely need to enjoy it! For me, I find my joy in having multiple cups of coffee from my favourite cafes on campus. Brings joy to me!

Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.”

John Maxwell
author, University, writing

When University Gets In The Way

“University’s like this little world, a bubble of time separate from everything before and everything after.”

Mhairi McFarlane

I do love studying, and I have said that many times before, however it does sometimes get in the way of my creativity.

During a semester I am filled with stress and constantly studying. It stifles a lot of my creativity and makes it harder to get creative writing done. It’s more just one report after another.

It is fun going through my degree and learning as much as I am, but it is hard to accept that I am very unproductive in my creative life for several months out of the year. I do commit myself to my studies though, and sometimes that does require some sacrifices.

“Assiduity, it means sit down until you do it. Commit yourself to your work and study.”

Lucas Remmerswaal

I do try to fit writing in during a semester, and early on I can get some done. But I get burnt out very quickly. Between work and full-time studies, I can’t focus on writing or keeping up with my creative outlets. It can be really frustrating for me, as all I want to do is write and creatively express myself!

Person Writing on Notebook

It can be sad thinking about the lack of writing, but it’s not a major thing to be sad about, but it does get to me sometimes. I know I spend many months outside of classes being productive, and I just have to lean on that and accept that Uni does get in the way of writing.

It’s all for an end goal and one day I will graduate with a psychology degree and continue in my world of writing!

“I do not know anyone who has got to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but it should get you pretty near.”

Margaret Thatcher
author, University, Writing

Back To University Again

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”

Mark Twain

Back into the grind! Uni went back this week (yesterday) and I’m already feeling the stress. There is so much reading to do and so much time to invest into my studies. It’s always an intense time, having to study and work as many hours as possible. I’m excited to get back into my Psych studies and continue pressing forwards to finish my Bachelor!

I’ve also decided to finally invest in my love for Japan. I’m doing one subject a semester to complete a Japanese language program. I’m finally going to work towards learning Japanese and becoming competent enough to speak to people in Japan in their language.

I’m going to continue my writing and I’m hoping to still be able to complete a blog once a week and continue writing stories for publication. I’ve decided to enter some short story competitions this year so I’m going to work on those throughout the next few months.

I’ve put a pause on my new novel, apart from when I get a specific idea, just so I can focus on my studies and on my competitions. I will definitely continue to push forward with all areas of my writing around my studies!

“If we have the attitude that it’s going to be a great day it usually is.”

Catherine Pulsifier

I love being able to complete my blog each week and I will definitely do my best to continue that! I like to do the things I enjoy, so I’m going to throw myself into my studies and write around those commitments! Bring on the next few months of chaos!

author, holidays, University, Writing

New Year, Improved Me

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”

Edith Lovejoy Pierce

It is officially 2021! It’s crazy to think that it’s already a new year, but here we are! Seems like it was only just 2020; time sure does fly fast nowadays!

I’ve worked over most of the holiday season, even had work on New Years Day, but I’ve still managed to take some time out and enjoy this time! Spent a lot of time with family and friends and now I’m eager to welcome the new year!

There are several changes for me this year. I know most people say, ‘it’s a new year so it’s a new me’, but I prefer to see it as I’m just growing. I’m not new, I still make stupid mistakes, but I’m growing every year and last year was no different!

I made a huge decision at the end of last year to transfer University’s. It was a hard decision to make, especially since I’m not one for change. We don’t particularly see eye to eye, change and I.

But regardless, I’ve switched University’s and I’ll be starting 2021 in a new University! It’s scary to think about, but I think it’ll be good. I needed the change for my career, and this new University is really amazing.

“And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been.”

Rainer Maria Rilke

I have set some goals for myself this year. I want to really knuckle down and do well in my Uni classes. I also want to finally finish my current novel and start editing my new novel that I finished last year.

I am aiming to officially submit my manuscript to a publishing house soon. It’s incredibly intimidating, but I hope it goes well!

2021 looks like it has a lot in store for me, and I’m keen to get cracking and complete my goals this year. I feel like 2021 will be a good year for me!

 “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice.”

E.S. Eliot