Category Archives: university

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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Introductions!

Salutations, internets!

My name is Katie. I’m a twenty-something student at the University of Edinburgh, reading Classical Studies. I’ve been blogging on and off for around seven years now, but since I am now reaching the point in my life where attempting a serious career in writing has moved from ‘what I shall do when I grow up’ to ‘what I’ll be doing when I graduate’ to ‘what I’ll be doing in a year or so’, I’ve decided starting a proper writing blog would be a very good idea. So here is an introduction to me!

My Studies

I’m reading Classical Studies, which is effectively Classics lite Classics without the language requirement. My main area of study is cultural history. Occasionally I accidentally wander into sociological and cultural history and flirt with archaeology. These are dark times but sadly necessary for a well-rounded education.

My other main interests are classical literature and reception studies. When it comes to the former, my personal favourites are Virgil’s Aeneid, Aeschylus’ Oresteia, and basically everything Catullus and Sappho ever wrote. Reception studies – looking at how classics has impacted on modern literature and culture – is the chosen area for my fourth year dissertation, so expect to hear more about that. And yes, if Classical Studies is Classics lite then reception studies is Classical Studies lite.

My Interests

I’m a big fan of fantasy and sci-fi literature. I was a voracious reader as a child – I went through a phase of challenging myself to read a book a day, it went better than you’d expect – but sadly university tends to eat up my pleasure reading time of late. Check out my Goodreads widget to see what kind of books I’m reading, but in brief: my all-time favourite book is Northern Lights by Phillip Pullman; my all-time favourite author (and subject of the aforementioned dissertation) is Diana Wynne Jones.

Outside of books, I love Doctor Who, both current and old school and BBC’s Merlin is my favourite guilty pleasure. I’m currently watching How I Met Your MotherCommunity and Legend of Korra; regarding shows that are not currently airing, I eat up everything Joss Whedon has ever produced, plus Being Human and, naturally for an ancient history student, I, Claudius. I’m currently almost finished re-watching Avatar: The Last Airbender and I’m planning a review of it, so stay tuned for that; I’m also working my way through various CBBC shows from the 90s, so look out for that too.

When it comes to films, I’m the kind of old-school, unoriginal nerd whose favourite film is Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Other than that, I love animation, including Disney, Dreamworks’ better stuff, and less mainstream films like Belleville Rendez-Vous and The Secret of Kells.

I love to bake, particularly cupcakes, though I’ve recently discovered a passion for loaf cakes. I have a box full of collaging supplies tucked away in my wardrobe that is, as of a fit of procrastination, very nicely organised; this will probably last until I actually want to make something.

My Writing

I generally say I’m primarily a fantasy writer, but in reality I hover somewhere between fantasy and science fiction. My fantasy tends to have a sci-fi edge to it and my sci-fi is generally dipped in fantasy. I have, very occasionally, written stories set in the real world, but not very often. I have fantasy on the brain.

I’ve been writing more or less continually since I was ten years old and I was inventing stories for a long time before that. At present I have two novels on the go plus short stories in various stages of writing and editing. A handful of my short stories are at the submission stage. I’m hoping to get a few more to that point by the end of the coming summer.

I sometimes write poetry and I’ve tried submitting that a few times as well, mostly because there was nothing to lose. I can’t say I’m much of a poet. Although perhaps I just don’t know it.

I’ve recently moved more into non-fiction writing and I’ve worked as a reviewer at the Edinburgh Festival in the past. I’m hoping to get some reviewing done here, since I have thinky-thoughts on most of the things I watch/read and no-one to share them with!

My Career

Comes 2013, I’ll be graduating university. After that my intention is to go into postgrad, either creative writing or research classics; in the long term, I hope to be able to make a living off writing fiction some day. At the moment I’m hoping to get a job in either publishing or journalism – at some point I should probably make up my mind!

My Politics

I’m a queer-feminist-socialist-atheist internet slacktivist. Hurrah! Being an internet slacktivist naturally encompasses opposing all -isms everywhere, but in practice the issues that are most dear to my heart are sexism, heterosexism and heteronormativity. More specific issues like the death penalty, censorship – particularly internet censorship – and, for some reason (I’m not really fussed about animal rights the rest of the time), battery chicken farming are also instant-rage buttons for me.

Expect occasional rants on any of the above topics.

~

I’d say that’s probably the best summary of me you’ll get in under a thousand words or so. My life at the moment is mostly eaten up with my studies, with occasional breaks for internet usage and to spend time with my friends (who for mysterious reasons are almost entirely physicists or computer scientists; no, I don’t get it either). I enjoy flat parties and dinner parties, sometimes the right sort of pubs, and very occasionally night clubs. I’m the stay-at-home type of student – I need a lot of sleep to function!

I’m hoping to keep this blog updated semi-regularly, so stay tuned!

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