Week 4: A New Skill

Greetings!  I hope you all are doing well and enjoying something new as we close out the first month of the year.  I don’t know about you, but for me a lot has happened, yet time seems to have gone by so fast!  Every day I wonder where all the time went.  That’s a question I do plan on exploring in the near future, but for this week my something new involved making an attempt at a new skill, one that is fairly intimidating and kind of scary to me… conducting an interview.

I will be the first to admit, I’m not the best with small talk, or feeling comfortable talking to people in general, especially people I don’t really know.  I don’t know where to begin, if we have anything in common, or how to respond.  In general conversation, I know this is mostly due to me being too much in my own head and worrying too much about what to say rather than truly listening to what is being said.  I am aware of that and I do try to make an effort to listen more than think, at least when I remember.  However, most of the time it is only after the conversation is over and the stress is gone that my brain floods with all the things I wish I had said, questions I should have asked, witty remarks I would have made, etc.  it’s frustrating for sure, but this week it wasn’t a typical conversation, and this week, I didn’t have a choice.  That is because I am part of the magazine team at work, and for our second issue I volunteered to write the feature article.  I am very excited to do the writing, the interview required to write the piece, however, stressed me out just a bit.

Prior to scheduling the interview, I met with the supervisor in charge of the magazine and we discussed what she was hoping to cover in the article.  That was definitely helpful when it came to formulating my topic list that I used to base my questions on.  After scheduling the interview is when my nerves began to kick in.  I found myself doubting whether or not I could do a good job, second-guessing my decision to sign up for the feature article at all, and panicking that I wouldn’t know what to say.  Of course, none of this is conducive to conducting a successful interview, but there you are.

When I sat down to conduct the interview, I smiled, thanked the interviewee for her time, and after a couple minutes of small talk, we got down to it.  I remained nervous throughout the whole thing, but I recorded it (with permission) so I didn’t have to worry about remembering everything and wouldn’t waste time writing everything down.  That was a minor relief, but I still felt a bit awkward most of the time.  Still I’m proud of myself for trying.  I’m sure this will be the first of many interviews, because I do intend to continue writing for the magazine.  In the future, I will probably try to come up with some less predictable questions, and maybe focus more on the person I am interviewing than the article topic.  I believe that will help make my writing more engaging and personable if I can write more about the people involved.

I haven’t written the article yet, so I still have time to ask more questions or exchange some e-mails if I think of any other questions that will make my article great.  Either way, this has definitely been a learning experience for me.  I know I have plenty of room for improvement, but now I have a better understanding of the preparations I need to make, what I want to focus on deep down, and most importantly, I proved to myself that I can do it.

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A New (Temporary) Living Arrangement

Hey Everyone!  I hope you all are doing well and trying something new when you can.  This week the something new I’m going to share with you is my living arrangement.  When I began this blog, I mentioned that I was displaced from my home due to a small fire in my condo complex.  That was an experience, but with lots of help and support, primarily from my mom, I found a new place to live while I wait to move back into my condo.  I say ‘I found’ what really happened is that my mom found a place on Airbnb that is about two blocks away from where I work, and thankfully within my budget for the duration of my projected time away from home.  Now, I had heard of Airbnb as an alternative option to hotels for travel, but it never would have occurred to me to search there for a place for my current situation, so thanks Mom for good thinking!  I signed up and exchanged notes with the owner, and then we arranged a time to meet so I could check out the place.  It was nice, with an open floor plan, in a great location for me, it came with a washer, dryer, stove, oven, and a parking space.  The last item is crucial in Los Angeles, and the others made the place too perfect to resist.  I took it and will be living there until March at least.

But there’s another factor that makes this situation truly something new for me.  Because this isn’t the first time I’ve lived in Los Angeles, when I first moved to California I literally lived right across the street from where I am now.  Actually, I can see the balcony from my old apartment from the window of the place I’m in now.  What makes this situation new, is that my boyfriend is staying with me.  The situation made sense for both of us because where I’m staying is closer to where he works too, and it allows us to see each other every day instead of just on the weekends.  Sounds perfect, right?

It sounded that way to me, but as a chronic over-thinker, I was both excited and nervous about how this situation would work out.  The last time I lived with a roommate was my freshman year of college, and I wasn’t a fan.  It wasn’t that she and I didn’t get along, or that either one of us was loud, messy or disrespectful, it was just that I like having my own space, and I need my alone time.  Those things are hard to get when you live with someone no matter how much you love them.  I mean, I go crazy in close quarters with family members for too long, but this is an entirely different matter.  Thankfully, I’m happy to report it’s working out well so far.  We haven’t driven each other completely crazy yet, and I have found I enjoy seeing him every day when on my dinner break.  I think that’s one reason why this is working so well, because he needs his space and his alone time too, but we work opposite schedules.  That means I get the place to myself after I wake up in the morning, he gets it to himself after work, we see each other for about 30-40 minutes during my dinner break and maybe in the morning when he’s getting ready or at night when I get back if the other is awake at those times.  But besides that, during the week we still have our own lives, so it hasn’t been nearly as overwhelming as it could have been.  It’s not perfect, one of the hard parts is figuring out what to have for dinner on the weekends because we have very different tastes (in food and in general).  So, this is definitely a learning experience for me, and thus far it’s been a positive one.  It’s a relief to know that I can happily live with someone as long as we are both upfront and honest about what we need.  Of course, it hasn’t been that long, and it probably helps if spending time with the other person makes you smile for no reason at all, but that’s just a guess.

In other news, last week I told you about my first serious foray into novel writing and I am happy to report that as of right now I have 26 pages written.   Not spectacular, but definitely progress, and I’m not sick of my story yet.  That’s always a good sign.  To the writers out there, don’t fret if you do get sick of your story, just keep going, skip to a different part, whatever it takes to get it done.  You can always go back and fix the parts that suck in the editing process.

Well, I think that’s enough for this week.  A quick note, I’m not affiliated in any way with Airbnb, it just happens to be how I found my temporary housing.  So, with that necessary nuisance out of the way, I want to thank everyone for reading.  I’d love to hear from you.  So, let me know, what’s new with you?

A New Goal

Hey Everyone!  I hope you all are having a great 2017 so far and that whatever resolutions, goals, dreams, or challenges you have made for yourself are going well.  As for me, this week my something new is the first step of a larger, long-term goal.  Early on in the week, I registered for my first writing conference!  I am looking forward to it very much because I have wanted to go to a conference for a while, but since it can be hard for me to get time off work, I have had a hard time finding one I could go to.  This conference not only happens to be nearby, it also conveniently fell on a weekend where I was able to get Friday off from work.

So, that will be my something new in a couple months, how it affected this week is that in order to get a pitch session with an agent or editor, you have to have a completed manuscript by the time of the conference.  When I signed up, I didn’t even have an idea for a novel.  (I have several ideas and works in progress for short stories, children’s books and scripts, just no novels.)  However, if I am going to to a conference, I also want to take the opportunity to try out my pitch skills.  So, when I signed up, I indicated that I would have a completed manuscript by the time the conference begins.  That day, thanks to some brainstorming help from my mom, I came up with an idea, wrote some plot notes, and as of now I have 15 pages written!  I have tried things like National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in the past and I’ve either managed to give up, or succeed in writing daily but failed to reach the 50,000 word count goal.  In this case, I don’t have a specific word count in mind, but I have a solid goal with a deadline, and that’s always proven to be the best kind of motivation for me.  One thing I know about myself is that I am a master procrastinator, but if I am going to be held accountable by someone other than myself, I always find a way to come through in the end.  So the challenge has been set and the journey has begun, I will continue to try new things in the coming weeks, but I’ll be sure to keep you updated how my manuscript goal is coming as well.  Wish me luck!

Week 1 – What’s New?

Do you ever feel bored with your life?  If you’re anything like me, you can have a pretty good life overall, but still just feel bored.  I am one who both yearns for, and resists change. I find my routine boring, but very comfortable and safe.  I wake up, go to work, interact with a pretty set group of people, go to sleep, wake up and repeat.  On weekends I might venture out to the movies or a restaurant, maybe both if I’m feeling really adventurous.

Of course there’s the occasional intrusion of an unexpected life event, for example at the moment I am displaced from my home due to a small fire in the building that caused the sprinklers to flood my condo.  Obviously that has thrown me a little out of my usual routine, but I know that unless I make a concerted effort, as soon as I am back home, I will fall back into my old routine and once more be living, but not feeling very alive.  So, it’s a new year, what a perfect time to change it up and start something NEW.

Thus we begin.  This year, each week I am going to try something, go somewhere, or learn something new.  My something new can be as simple as trying a new food, or as wild as going BASE jumping (I don’t know if I will get to that this year, but it is on my bucket list).  My something new might be part of a larger goal, but it doesn’t have to be, just as long as it’s something new.

For this week my something new is this blog.  I have thought about writing one for years, but could never decide on a topic.  Now armed with a topic, and a fun challenge I begin.  Each week I will share something new, and I invite you to join in and try something new for yourself.

It’s a new year, so what’s new with you?