Category Archives: job hunting

My Week In Writing (28/05/17)

20170527_203809I didn’t find a new job this week – not that I really expected to, but it would have been nice. I’ve applied for 15, though, and had an interview, so… hopeful?

I’m still struggling to process the fact that I’m leaving my job. It’s especially weird because my work is so repetitive and so thankless that it messes with my sense of time – intellectually I know I’ve been doing it for 2+ years, but it’s been the same working day over and over so it still blows my mind a bit that it’s been more than a couple of months.

So, I’m sort of simultaneously terrified at the prospect of the whole structure of my life changing – entirely of my own choosing – and feeling a bit like ‘phew, everything’s finally going back to normal’. This was always meant to be temporary, y’know?

On a lighter note, I’m just below the halfway point on reading through Summer and enjoying my new draft very much. Fingers crossed it’ll be smooth sailing from now on – so long as I don’t encounter any tricky problems while reading the second half (I found one fairly significant continuity error in the first half) I’m all but finished.

Settlement 359 is at 145k and climbing. And – brace yourselves – I actually started writing the climax. The actual, proper, climax. It’s now in progress. It’s all very exciting. I might even finish this thing before the end of June.

This week I’ve been reading The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, which I’m enjoying, but it’s been slow going – largely, I think, because the Russian names are confusing me so I keep losing track of which character is which!

I listened to two Doctor Who audios, The Burning Prince and Moonflesh, both Peter Davison stories.

The Burning Prince is the first volume in a multi-Doctor trilogy (I didn’t get the second two volumes – they weren’t on sale). It’s a rare solo Fifth Doctor story – he doesn’t travel alone on screen, ever, so expanded universe writers have to be creative if they want to get him by himself! It’s unpredictable and action-packed, all around a bit of a rollercoaster ride. It’s also one of those Davison stories that’s a full-on bloodpath. Brutal stuff. Not a classic of the range by any means, but solid.

Moonflesh is the first volume in a trilogy of stories featuring the Fifth Doctor, TV companion Nyssa, and new companion Hannah Bartholemew (I bought all three – they were all on sale). An enjoyable enough story, but I’m feeling a slight sense of trepidation, going into the rest of the trilogy – Hannah’s heavily implied to be a lesbian (and a butch lesbian – a first for Doctor Who, as far as I know) but best as I can tell her sexuality is never confirmed, and I accidentally spoiled myself for the ending of her last story, which is, erm, tragic. Hopefully it’ll all be handled well.

I finished the third season of Jago and Litefoot. My favourite season, so far, though that’s in large part because it’s the most Doctor Who-y, due to the addition of Tom Baker companion Leela to the main cast. A really strong run of stories, anyway, blending an ongoing story arc about rifts in time with some very strange, very sad human dramas.

I’ve also been listening to The Second Imaginary Symphony, a mini series from podcast The Orbiting Human Circus of the Air. It’s whimsical, melancholy show that blends storytelling with an ongoing plot about a lonely janitor who works in the Eiffel Tower. The Secondary Imaginary Symphony is a standalone story from the same world, with the same lovely, relaxed tone. I’d recommend checking it out.

And I just started watching Anne with an E, which so far is a beautifully done adaptation. Much heavier viewing than you might expect – there’s some scenes I think I could have done without, but it is what it is.

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Anti-Procrastination Station

My revision schedule this year had forty-four days on it. I started studying two days after my final essay deadline and finished at 9 o’clock this morning, that’s dedication for ya! I’ve had two exams in sports halls (huge, echoey, soul-less), three in function halls (distractingly pretty) and curiously one in the university health centre (intimate – only thirty people or so), but now, finally, finally I am finished. This would be fantastic but for two reasons:

1. I have a cold. The university library is a germ factory during exams so this really isn’t much of a surprise but I wish it had held off a little longer – I very nearly ended up sitting an exam with a fever yesterday. Hooray for paracetamol!

2. I now have no idea what to do with myself. This frightens me more than it should, especially since there’s the ever-present worry that if I’m this worried by the thought of three months without university, how in sweet hell am I going to cope next year in the face of actual, real-world unemployment?

On top of that, it’s not even really true. I have plenty of things to be doing with the next three months, so in the name of making myself accountable, here is my to-do list!

1. Job-hunting. still have two unfinished job applications sitting around, plus various things bookmarked to apply for, and I need to do something about it because my CV is quite distressingly sparse right now. On the up side I got interviews based on the applications I already sent out. On the down side, the remaining applications are unfinished because they have ‘~100 words on why you would be a good employee’ sections (is anyone good at those? Seriously?) or ‘~100 words on the last show you went to see’. Or both.

2. Dissertation. Ideally I’m not going to be working till August so I should have time for this. My stepdad advises me to start as soon as is humanly possible but given that I already did quite a bit of the reading last autumn and I have a fairly good idea of what my argument will be I think I can afford a break.

That said, I’m currently reading Diana Wyne Jones’ Reflections on the Magic of Writing and I keep feeling like I should be making notes because it’s so useful. And backs up my argument perfectly, huzzah!

(I shall remain cryptic about my argument until my supervisor has told me it isn’t, y’know, terrible.)

3. Create Soc. I am now creative writing president. Currently the crafting committee is considerably more proactive and generally competent which on the one hand is good for getting stuff done, but on the other hand does not reflect very well on us writers, so, um. I need to get hold of some material to post on our shiny new society profile but getting your average writing society member to voluntarily hand over something they’ve written to be posted publicly is like blood from a stone, I swear.

But anyway. I’m thinking haiku, they’re pleasantly bite-sized.

4. Writing. This is the big one, as far as I’m concerned. I have this blog to update (somewhere amidst all the revision notes waiting to be recycled there’s a list of potential blogging topics, I need to rescue that), plus a half-finished short story that is proving trickier than I anticipated (it’s historical fiction – there’s a reason why I stick to fantasy sometimes)… and then there’s my ever-present novel.

I made a resolution back in January to finish book one this year, which by all logic should be doable. I’m currently over three quarters of the way through and there’s major edits to be done earlier on – it’s been, what, two years since I started now? I’ve changed my mind about some things, anyway – but it would feel so good to have this finished.

I would say I’m looking forward to writing book two, in which the action proper starts a lot of fun characters get to interact with a lot of other fan characters, but in my experience the correlation between ‘things I look forward to writing’ and ‘things I actually enjoy writing’ is not as strong as you’d think.

However. In the less distant future, I have a room to vacuum (I swear I’m actually pretty good at keeping my flat clean most of the time), a stack of unread books that continues to grow (not my fault, there were books from my childhood going cheap on Amazon) and some films I bought on DVD and haven’t got round to watching yet. Not to mention the sleeping. Lots and lots of sleeping to do…

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