Welcome back to The Inky Saga. I have gone back and forth over whether to write to this post for a few weeks now. When I moved to Austin this fall, I was consumed with passion to pick up writing again. My first couple of weeks settling into my apartment, I was actually doing a pretty good job of writing on the daily. But as usual, writing (and blogging) were forced to take a back seat eventually as I resumed the job search. I have an update prepared on that front as well, which may come next weekend. But today I wanted to finally share a writing update and my plans for NaNoWriMo.
My writing buddy Sara and I have resumed our weekly writing dates on Thursday evenings. We used to use Skype, but it has no longer been convenient since she switched to a Chromebook. We also tried Google Hangouts, but for some reason the audio doesn’t work. So now we use Zoom. It’s free and relatively quick to launch a private chatroom, but she now lives in the country so the internet connection is spotty. Despite our technical difficulties, we have managed to keep our writing dates!
I am currently working on a new story idea that I’m hoping may eventually turn into something good. I have long since realized that the first draft does not need to be perfect, it just needs to be written. Therefore, my goal has been to write the story I have as quickly and simply as possible, so I can get to the fun of editing and adding detail. I do not write everyday, but I enjoy the process of writing when I do sit down to do it (about twice a week these days). I do not know how much of this story I may be able to write before November 1st, which leads to my current conundrum.
I would like to do NaNoWriMo properly, but I am not sure if I would want to start an entirely new story idea from scratch. Neither do I feel any sense of urgency about completing a first draft over the span of a single month. I have been motivated to write on my own, and I am enjoying it when I allow myself the time to do it.
I think all I really want to feel is to feel like a part of a local and online writing community in November! I’m in a new city and want to participate in local write-ins and make new writing buddies. I also want to be able to share writing excitement with others on Twitter and on the blog. I know that you can get your own goals for NaNoWriMo; the important thing is just that you do the thing. But I feel like it has been a long time since I properly participated.
I think I am going to do it. Not necessarily with an entirely new story idea, but at least in adding 50k words to the however-many-words I manage to write in October.
In case you did not know, NaNoWriMo completely redid their website. All the writing buddies you may have had are completely gone, but your log-in credentials are the same. If you would like to be writing buddies with me, my profile name is still ummmrawr after eleven years. The new website is pretty slow, but hopefully that will be improved by time November rolls around.
I am off to try and do some more writing before bed! It has been a weekend full of housekeeping and chores, but I am so excited for this week. I hope to start blogging a lot more regularly soon. Tuesday I am attending Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House tour stop in Austin. Hopefully I’ll have time to whip up a blog post about that!
Hello and welcome back to The Inky Saga! Today I am excited to share my fall TBR. When I decided to challenge myself to blog every day this week, one of the first ideas that popped into my head was to check the theme for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday. As it turned out, this week’s topic is Books on My Fall TBR! What good fortune; I love a reason to think up a TBR.
I just moved and most of the books I with me are ones I have already read, but there are a few new books that have recently come into my life, or soon will. So this list may actually be interesting to those of you who know my reading history!
In case you are unfamiliar with this bookish meme, it’s a weekly conversation starter centered on a topic that sparks a list of ten books. As That Artsy Reader Girl puts it, “It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.”
Books on My Fall TBR
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo | My most anticipated release of the season is Leigh Bardugo’s debut adult contemporary novel. I actually bought tickets to see her in-person when she visits Austin next month! I am so excited. The ticket price includes the book, so I’ll be able to have it signed and support an independent bookstore.
The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher | I bought this book secondhand at 2nd and Charles this summer. I love a fun autobiography by a funny woman, and I hope this one does not disappoint. I have not read reviews, but I remember the hoopla when it came out.
All Clear by Connie Willis | A few years ago I read To Say Nothing of the Dog on John Green’s recommendation and found it highly engaging and amusing. It was one of those reads that made me wish I could read it again fresh. I’m hoping this book will provide a similar experience. I believe it is a part of that time traveling series. I would prefer to read all these books in order, but since I started To Say Nothing of the Dog I doubt it matters too much.
White Cat, Red Glove, and Black Heart by Holly Black | I feel like I read these in a frenzy when I first picked them up. This time I want to take my time. I have already started White Cat and think I will finish it by the end of the week. I’ve never been good at pacing myself with a book, but I have enjoyed reading it slow.
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor | I will be most annoyed with myself if I do not finally get to this book this year. It was on my July 2018 TBR, my spring TBR. It would have been on my summer TBR if I had completed that post! It’s not that I am putting it off. I just haven’t been able to prioritize it.
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo | It will be my second time reading this book, and I am excited to read it slowly and carefully. The last time I read it I has just moved into an apartment, so I feel weird parallels between then and now!
The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid | This is another book on my fall TBR that has been on past TBRs. I don’t know what to say. It still intrigues me despite knowing nothing about it. I love going into a book blind.
The Tin Drum by Günter Grass | I read a novella by this author for a German literature class in 2016 called Cat and Mouse, which I really loved. It was dark and compelling, a book I could not stop thinking about. Apparently The Tin Drum is more highly acclaimed, so I have high expectations. I think I would enjoy getting lost in this tome this fall.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews | I may read this one really soon! I find it hard to explain why I love this book so much. Maybe I will be able to put my finger on it after a second read. I recently rewatched the movie this summer, which I highly recommend. It’s beautiful and, at times, hysterical.
It can be hard to write a TBR when you have a correlating goal of utilizing your public library, because you do not know if the books you want to read will be available. It does not help that I am a mood reader and will prioritize books based on whether a) I feel like reading them at the moment, and b) the timing seems right. Fortunately, I have become less mercurial when it comes to what I feel like reading, so I will most likely stick my fall TBR if I have the time to read as much as I would like.
Welcome back to The Inky Saga! It has been a hot minute since I posted on the blog, but I do not feel like going into any explanations today. I will save that for Friday. To start building up some blogging momentum this week ahead of October, I decided to end September with week’s worth of daily blog posts. Today specifically I decided to share the finalists on my list of October bujo theme ideas.
September started off strong, but I ultimately stopped keeping up with this month’s bullet journal after some loss of inspiration regarding the weekly spreads in particular. I have been working a lot, and thus do not have a lot of time left for personal projects. My bullet journal has generally been a place for me to record progress on my personal projects not related to work. As result, I had long columns for each day with nothing much to record. It’s disheartening to see such bare pages!
My priority this October is come up with new weekly spreads that suit my new life schedule. But before I can do any of that, I need to pick my October bujo theme! Since I wanted to start blogging again with a bang, here is a list of my top 5 October bujo theme ideas for the coming month. Enjoy!
If you would like to further investigate the sources of any of the images I share in this post, look for the watermarks either inserted by the creator or myself in a plum text color. WordPress will not let me hyperlink each individual image to its direct source because of how I formatted the images, but if you hover over the image you can see the creator’s social handle. Most creators can be found on Instagram.
I think there was only one image I could not source beyond WeHeartIt.com, but saw several variations of the same graphic. Let me know if anything was misattributed!
October BuJo Theme Ideas
Theme #1 Autumn Leaves
If I lived in a part of the country where autumn is better reflected in nature during September, I may have already utilized this theme for my September bujo. However in Texas, it still feels very like much like summer until autumn is technically well under way. There are so many amazing art styles I’ve seen execute the theme of autumnal leaves. Here are just a few that I think would make for a lovely October bujo theme.
Theme #2 Magic
A lot of people execute Harry Potter themes in September, because that is when Hogwarts is back in session. However, I never feel September is very magical. I did decide to bookmark some of these themes to revisit come October. While I loved Harry Potter as a child, I am not as obsessed as I once was with the world. I feel like I do not have a lot of originality to offer when it comes to this theme.
A magic could be informed by Halloween classics like Halloweentown or Hocus Pocus, which feature witches and broomsticks and potions galore. You could also take more general inspiration from other books or movies that feature those iconic depictions of witchcraft (e.g. cauldons, black cats, pointy hats).
Theme #3 Pumpkins
Pumpkins are one of the first things that came to my mind when I thought of October bujo themes. Funnily enough, they are one of the first things I ever I remember ever learning to draw with precision as a child. It would be so much fun to make such a simple subject and render it in forms as varied as this squash takes in real life. Here are some of the pieces that would inspire my own October bujo spread.
October BuJo Theme Pumpkin
October BuJo Theme Pumpkin Mood Tracker
October BuJo Theme Pumpkin Weekly Spread
Theme #4 Coffee
I found some coffee/tea bujo themes earlier this year and decided to bookmark them for the season in which it is most pleasing to drink them. There’s nothing more pleasant than being able to cosy up in the evening to read or write with a nice hot chai latte or mocha by my side. If not for October, I could see myself executing this theme in November for NaNoWriMo!
October BuJo Theme Coffee
October BuJo Theme Coffee Weekly Spread
October BuJo Theme Coffee Weekly Spread
Theme #5 Fairy Tales
The theme of fairy tales may seem pretty close to magic, but there’s a subtle differentiation in my mind. When I think of fairy tales I think of woods, woodland creatures, and monsters. It’s more folksy. Environment plays a bigger role in my mind, whereas magic in general is more associated with mystical items. Grimm’s fairy tales may provide some inspiration, but I was also thinking about The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo. The book has some amazing illustrations that could be fun to adapt into bujo spreads.
I could not find anything in my basic cursory searches on Instagram or Pinterest that emulate what I would like to go for. There are plenty of Alice in Wonderland or Disney-themed bujo themes I can find, but those do not appeal to me. Most likely I will need to pursue this theme when I have more time to plan it!
Final Thoughts on My October BuJo Theme
If you have already picked your October bujo theme, please feel free to share it in the comments down below! Usually I know which theme I will pick by the end of writing these posts. My final decision will probably come this weekend. I hate saving it for the last minute, but I have a few more things on my agenda before October. Nevertheless, it was really fun being able to talk bujo themes and share some amazing bujo artist work today!
I have been wanting to up my Instagram game for a long time, and September feels like the month it is actually going to happen. A few months ago I started working on a little calendar of Instagram post ideas for bujo artists based on what I was loving on Instagram at the moment from #studygram and #bujo accounts. Since I love what I came up with, I decided to share this calendar with all of you lovelies.
Some of these bujo artist prompts seem a little technologically challenging, even for me! But the point of this calendar was two-fold: to force me out of my comfort zone when it came to Instagram and to help me start posting more regularly. If any of you are interested in challenging yourselves, then I hope this calendar provides a handy jumping off point.
Feel free to remix these post ideas. I have a feeling I may need to do some rearranging myself, considering I am going pretty minimal this month. I designed this calendar with flexibility in mind. Naturally, I realize not every month starts on a Sunday. But if you are new regular posting, this calendar should be useful as a base-line for what you can considering posting!
A Month of Instagram Content for BuJo Artists
For those of you who may prefer these bujo artist post ideas in a list format, I see you. Here’s the list typed out:
Week 1 spread
Behind-the-scenes look at a work-in-progress
Inspiration behind the monthly spread theme
Time lapse of work-in-progress
Close-up look at favorite design
Shout out favorite accounts
Week 2 spread
Bujo in the wild (e.g. nature, park, garden)
Step-by-step doodle instruction
Review you bujo utensils (e.g. the journal, pens, stickers, etc.)
Habit/goal tracker progress report
Tips for newbies
Week 3 spread
Share ideas for next month
Promote favorite supplies
Show off your workspace
Flashback post of past bujo spreads
Share a “Meet the Artist” page
Share favorite artists/artwork
Week 4 spread
Show off calligraphy progress/skills
Bujo in the wild (e.g. cafe, pub, library)
Sketch in progress
Share a “My Perfect Day” page
Shout out up-and-coming accounts
Week 5 spread
Monthly favorites illustrated
I would welcome any more bujo artist post ideas for Instagram in the comments down below! I am still relatively new to the bujo community and will likely come up with a few more ideas myself after this post has gone live! In the future, it might also be fun to make more versions of this calendar for specific seasons or holidays, so I will have a new list of post ideas going soon anyways.
Also, let me know if you plan to use this calendar and drop your Instagram account handle below if you are a bujo artist. I would love to discover some new accounts.
Saturday, August 21, 2019 was Clear the Shelters 2019, a national event in which adoption fees are waived at animal shelters. During this event you can visit a shelter and find a number of adoptable pets who have been vaccinated and spayed or neutered and are ready to meet their forever family. Even though I’m still in the process of moving, I was aware of this event ahead of time and knew that I might stop by and try to find a dog that would be my new companion in Austin.
I have been looking at pet listings online for our local animal shelter for literally months, probably since May. I was hoping I may be able to trick my parents into adopting, since Ty was adopted in June 2013 on whim to be a companion to our German Shepard Apollo after we lost Max, my childhood dog. Of course, Ty is much more of an independent spirit while also being the most cuddly of any of our previous pets. He would probably be fine if he stayed an “only child” the rest of his life.
Once I realized I could likely move out on my own this year, my search became more fevered to find a pet for myself. All my life, my parents have warned me not to get dog before I can fully provide for it financially. As someone who is fully aware of the cost of a dog and the time commitment it is, I have still longed for one to call my own. Even if it might make my life tougher financially, I felt like the benefits far outweigh the challenges. But as consequence, I did not feel safe sharing my plans with anyone! I refused to give anyone the chance to talk me out of it.
Even though I have yet to move into my apartment and will not yet have very stable income, I decided to visit the animal shelter this weekend and see if there was a dog I felt would fit into my life. I knew it would be a challenging week, but I was certain that if I found the right dog then the short-term challenges would be nothing in the grand scheme of things.
With all this mind, I wanted to share my Clear the Shelters 2019 adoption story and my first weekend spent bonding with Opal.
Clear the Shelters 2019
When I arrived at the animal shelter, I could tell it had already been busy. The shelter had been open just about an hour thus far and many of the smaller dogs were already taken. It was a little discouraging because I know I could not handle a big dog on my own and also that I couldn’t take on the responsibility of a puppy. Puppies are adorable, but they are much more work than I am currently willing to take on! Plus, mutts can be like a slowly unveiled mystery box. You don’t know how big they might eventually get if you get them when they are puppies!
I wanted a slightly older dog from the beginning, because I knew its energy level would be lower. An adult dog would be far more likely to be fine lazying about the apartment while I went to work and not cause much damage.
I found her in the last room I almost missed. Opal was one of the dogs I had seen online over the last couple of weeks. There had been a few dogs on my mental list to try to find in person, and I only managed to find about 3-4 of them. Her kennel mate was jumping over her in his/her own excitement. While Opal was interested in the people who walked by, she didn’t jump at the door or bark. She remained calm and collected, and I felt I had found my match the moment I laid eyes on her.
After grabbing her kennel card and getting a Clear the Shelters 2019 volunteer to help me get her out, we took her outside to see how she acted one-on-one. She didn’t pull on her leash and walked really well. One thing we talked about really early is her health condition. She had tested positive for giardia and heartworms when she arrived at the shelter. She was also showing possible signs of kennel cough, which can be contagious to other dogs. That was a little concerning, but from her walks she did not seem to be too badly affected by anything yet.
She was on some medications but hadn’t started heartworm treatment yet, despite being at the shelter for almost a month. I learned about options for her treatment and decided I still wanted to adopt her. It wasn’t ideal, but I felt I was doing a much bigger service by adopting her now that I was aware of the reason why she was probably still at the shelter. There is a foundation that helps pay for the heartworm treatment of pets adopted from shelters, so I am currently eagerly awaiting their response to my application and email.
Our First Weekend Together
We had a lovely weekend together after Clear the Shelters 2019 before I needed to return to Austin for work. Opal slept much of the time, and after she learned she was allowed in my bed it was hard to get her downstairs! I wanted to let her outside a bunch so she knew she didn’t ever need to pee or poo indoors, but she showed little interest in the outdoors. When I would hang out downstairs to cook and eat, she would often wander off by herself to go back up the stairs to get into my bed. When I would walk into my room, her tail would immediately start wagging, even if she wasn’t facing the door. She is such a sweetheart.
Our first night in the bed together, there was a lot of space between us. However, she gradually inched closer, and by daybreak she was in my face ready to say good morning. The next night I had realized that personal boundaries were now essentially non-existent. She had me laughing when she ended up shoulder-to-shoulder with me, both of us on our backs. When I was barely ready to sleep, I found she had repositioned herself so she could rest her head on my neck from behind me. I didn’t want to disturb her, but her hair was so ticklish!
I already love her so much and was devastated to need to leave her so quickly, especially since she is sick. She is already exhibiting a few of the symptoms of heartworms, including lethargy and significant weight loss. She has trouble going up the stairs and definitely seems lethargic beneath her excitement to be in a proper home. When she’s napping, she breathes pretty heavily and sometimes needs to sit up to cough. It’s like there’s something in her throat, but nothing ever comes up.
I really hope that the heartworm foundation will get back to me by the end of the week. I would like to start her treatment as soon as possible. I’ll have my apartment at the end of the week and would like to bring her back with me, but I need to know how much her treatment will cost. If it will be cheaper, I would prefer to get her treated over there.
But then there’s also the concern about travel. I don’t think she likes the car too much right now and I don’t have a crate for her yet. She’s a little big, so I am hesitant to buy one. My car is not very bit anyway, so it probably wouldn’t fit. Never mind all the stuff I need to cram into it!
I plan to make at least two extra pit stops for her, just to make sure she knows she does not need to relieve herself in the car. She threw up in my car Monday morning right as we were leaving to drop her off at my cousin’s. I felt so bad. For one, I was leaving her. But I also felt because it was definitely my fault; I fed her right before we left, not thinking about how nervous she was to see me pack up.
For those curious about her name, I changed it. She did not respond to her kennel name, so I had complete freedom to rename her myself. I had more boy names than girl names in mind ahead of time, because I grew up with male dogs! But I didn’t go into Clear the Shelters 2019 with any specific name I wanted to use. I believe in getting to know the dog before picking a name if you have the luxury of the option.
Opal’s name was inspired by the little girl in from Because of Winn-Dixie. I’ve always loved the name Winnie, but I didn’t think it didn’t suited Opal. When my mind fixated on Opal in the car on the drive home, I felt it suited her. She’s a beautiful dog, but I didn’t feel like giving her a super cutesy name. Also there are not a lot of human female names I would like to give a dog for some reason. Neither could I think of any character names I would have liked to give her. With more time I might have, but a name was not high on my list of priorities!
Her name is that there are so many nickname possibilities, which was a decision-making factor in picking a name! I had a lot of fun calling Apollo, even Ty, by several different names other than his own. Many of Apollo’s nicknames would also work for Opal (e.g. Polly, Pollywally, Opie, Opalrooney)! I mean, her name is a kind of anagram of his, which I’m just now properly realizing! So I got to honor that big doofus with her name in a way.
I am so excited for this weekend. I’m bringing Opal to the vet on Saturday, so I’ll be making the trip back Friday evening. I had my doubts about bringing her back to Austin this week, but it seems necessary now because I do not want to continue to impose on my cousins. I’m lucky they offered to watch her for me this weekend, because I would not have asked! Regardless of cost, I will be paying for her heartworm treatment. I am so scared of losing her. I’ve quickly given her my heart and cannot imagine to prospect of replacing her. It would be hard.
It has been a while since I shared my bullet journal online, and today I am finally going to share why I stopped bullet journaling this summer. I love bullet journaling for many reasons. One of the main reasons being that it helps me look a month, or even a week, holistically. I can make notes in advance and fill in the blanks after a day or week has concluded. And at the end, I have a beautiful record of the time to look back on.
All summer my life has been uncertain. When I think back to May, I can still remember how I honestly thought I would be following my parents to their new home, even after starting my new part-time elections job. It alone would not have allowed me to survive on my own. However, my life plans have evolved since then as new developments were made on the job front. It’s crazy to think how much can change in just two months’ time!
The blog and my other activities have shifted in priority. But now with summer near its end and my decision to move final, I think it’s a good time to finally summarize my summer bullet journaling experience. I will also be sharing the spreads I came up with this weekend to get me through August.
June & July
I did not enter the summer season thinking I would step away from bullet journaling. On the contrary, I had planned ahead on themes and even spent several days working on the monthly spreads for both June and July. However, when it became clear I would not finish on time and was growing frustrated with little mistakes, it just became easier to step away from bullet journaling.
In June I was going to do a beach wave theme inspired by the The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai. I referenced a great many bullet journal spreads I found online in my weekly spreads, and got as far as week 3. I’m not terribly proud of them, so I’ll just share the cover spread.
I wanted my July theme to be an homage to Stranger Things since the third season was debuting on the 4th of July. After much thought and work, I lost interest after making one too many little mistakes. tHonestly they are not even that distracting now that I’ve taken some time away from it!
I never finished a weekly spread, but I will share the monthly trackers along with the cover spread for July.
Maybe it was a problem of becoming too ambitious with my designs. It didn’t help that June and July were months of tumultuous life change either. Ultimately I decided to take a break from the monthly routine of designing bujo spreads and focus on preparing for fall. I have also resolved to return to basics so that I don’t have anymore lost months for the year.
I did not think that I would do an August spread this month, but this past weekend I realized I really needed one. It did not have to have an amazing theme or even much detail. But I wanted to have a planner to help me organize my thoughts once I realized I was moving to Austin at the end of the month. There are so many little moving pieces involved in moving and starting new jobs. I needed something to help me feel a little more control over this crazy adventure.
I did not realize this weekend that there are still three full weeks ahead in the month. I will be traveling a lot in the next two weeks, starting one of my new jobs, and gradually moving into my apartment and making cosy. Bullet journaling will definitely help keep my productive. I can’t wait for this new chapter of my life and to be able to start a new chapter of The Inky Saga.
As you may recall, I had to move out of my parents’ house last week. Thankfully I had requested the week off of my part-time elections job, because last week was bonkers. Before I start explaining why, it might be important to note that the Saturday before I had spent the whole day applying for UT Austin jobs. It took me all day because I was tailoring all my cover letters to each specific job based on the information I was provided about the job listings. You know, as is typically recommended.
As silly as I know it sounds, I have tried to avoid applying for jobs that require a cover letter in the past. It always seemed like a lot of work to me when I have hoped my resume might speak for itself. Honestly, I could kick myself for being so clueless. In total I have already received three interview requests thus far from just the ten applications I completed last weekend.
I had the first two this week, one on Thursday and one on Friday. Thankfully they were both offered virtually! I was able to complete them in between work (at my tutoring gig), packing and moving boxes, and cleaning out my parents’ house. I only got good vibes from the first one, but I know from experience that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. The third interview I have is scheduled for Wednesday, August 14th.
However, I also received word on Thursday morning that I have finally been offered the temporary part-time Office Assistant position which I applied for in April. It’s not official yet; they still for need me to take a drug test (which I have nothing to worry about, for the record). But I had already been debating whether I would take this position or not after learning in June that I would only be allowed to work about 25 hours a week.
Yes, there is a possibility it could become a full-time position after six months, but how can I know if I would really be happy there long-term? It’s in a criminal justice-type department, so they’re likely to be really serious and strict in the way I’ve not enjoyed at the elections office. They’ve not told me exactly what I’d be doing since I had the interview, if they did at all. I cannot remember much of the interview since I wasn’t too optimistic about my odds and did not think about it much afterward.
Now here’s where things start to get complicated. As the Fall 2019 semester is about to start, there are not many good options for apartments in Austin available anymore. I feel like the options are only going to continue to get worse, so I have been considering accepting the part-time job and keeping my fingers crossed that a full-time one will come through in the next couple of weeks. But if one doesn’t, I’ll need another part-time job to supplement my income if I am going to uproot myself from the two part-time jobs I still currently hold.
With that in mind, I applied to a writing tutor position at a community college nearby yesterday. It did not require a cover letter, but since I have gotten the hang of writing them I wrote something and I got a call a couple hours later! I now have an interview lined up for Wednesday, assuming that I am able to find out if the hours as an Office Assistant would be flexible enough to allow me to also work about 15–19 hours somewhere else.
I also realized as a consequence of needing to go to Austin so quickly, I would not have much time to do a proper final two weeks at either job. Thankfully, my presence at these two places is not absolutely essential. There is still enough time to find a replacement before things start to get busy this fall. But if I am going to need my supervisors’ references, I might run into a little bit of trouble. I have a feeling both will be understanding based on how well I’ve gotten to know them. I hate that I’m leaving them both so soon, but I need a full-time job and even if one is not immediately on the horizon just yet I will now be living where I want to finally start my life.
I know that I am moving to Austin this month no matter what, but it’s hard to look for apartments when you’re three hours away and do not know how much income you will have for living expenses. The common sense thing is to rent somewhere cheap, but most leases want you to commit for close to a year and I would rather move into a place that I know I would be happy living for at least a couple of years. I am ready to start making a place a home of my own.
So here are a few things that will be happening over the next week as I prepare to start a new job in Austin at the earliest around August 15th.
Turn in resignation letters to both of my job and complete some courtesy hours. I already submitted my resignation to the elections job, which is a job I hope I don’t need to keep working past this week since it’s now so far away and pays so little. At the writing tutor gig my supervisor is on vacation, so I hope he is able to check his email. Ideally I would like to work as much as possible this week at this job so I have one more really good paycheck to help me with my first month’s rent.
Finish fixing my car. I had to have my brakes fixed this weekend, because they were in really bad shape. I was also told I’d need to have four-wheel alignment and a CV axel (?) either fixed or replaced really soon or my tires might be in trouble…? The service repairman explained it all, but I am not good with cars so the technical talk went a little over my head! But I have worried about my car giving out on me, so I’ll pay for these things for the peace of mind.
Ask about hours at Office Assistant job on Monday. The person I am potentially interviewing with Wednesday has requested I find out what kind of hours I would be available to tutor.
Complete drug testing. That shouldn’t take long, but it needs to be done Monday as well so the processing is completed quickly and I am able to start that part-time job August 15th.
Look for an apartment! Once again, I am not sure what my budget could allow, but I do feel I find something right now so that I am not in a bind mid-August and worrying about a place to live on top of starting a new job.
Apply for more full-time jobs. There have been a few more listings pop up on the UT Austin job board and it might be a good idea to apply to a few more in case nothing I’ve already interviewed for comes through. I can also start to look for specific companies based in Austin that might have full-time openings right now as well.
My mind is still blown by all these developments this week. If I hadn’t been forced to move out of my parents house this week, I may not have considered gambling with my current job situation and used the time I can live with my aunt and uncle to save. But I can’t help but feel this is the right move. I am so ready to live on my own and officially start my professional life. Moving is not fun, so I feel like if I can avoid unpacking right now just to pack up again in a month or two it will be worth it.
I will continue to work the blog this month whenever I can! I’ve been doing some blog maintenance while I think about what I want to produce. I hope I’ll be able to breathe new life into this blog this month. If you poke around, you may discover a few changes I’ve already made and make guesses as to where my blog focus will be once I am able to properly jump back into it next month if not sooner.
Shortly after my last blog post, I found out that I would need to be moving out at the start of August! My parents finally received an offer on their house – a good one – and they accepted it. So they are closing on August 2, 2019. There are now less than two weeks left, so most of my time will be spent packing up the things that will follow them to their new place and the things that I will want to keep close to me.
After some back and forth, I decided to move in with my aunt and uncle for at least a month, and I will have some extra time to decide if I want to move into an apartment in September or December. The main thing holding me back has been the need to sign a lease for x-number of months. I’ve not been sure how long I want to put down roots in this area. I don’t know what else might come up! I’ve done some more job applications, here and elsewhere. If I receive a job offer in Austin, I’d prefer to be able to relocate quickly and with no hold ups.
What I’m currently thinking is that I still plan to apply to graduate school this fall, so I would not mind signing an apartment lease that would end in August 2020. I can also see myself halting the job search for the time being to focus on my current work and graduate school applications for the rest of this year. Then next year, if I have the time, I can start applying for jobs that could potentially uproot me before graduate school would.
Over the next seven days, I will be preoccupied with work, packing, and moving into my aunt’s house. I don’t think I will have extra time to blog, but one of my goals for the summer was to always prepare for fall blog content. If I have time to spare, I will use it to start planning blog posts. I’ve had so many ideas, I just need to find the time to execute them. I’ll essentially be working 40 hours a week now, but I do think I will have the time and energy to pursue the things I’m passionate about.
Although summer is nearly at its end, I am finally going to have time to apply myself to the goals I set at the beginning of July. In my spare time outside of work, I will begin to polish old student work to use as writing samples and working on other materials required for graduate school applications.
It seems like I may have spare time at my new tutoring gig to work whatever I would like to on my MacBook Pro, so I will take advantage of that opportunity whenever possible. Right now for instance, it is slow so I am taking time to write this little life update! I will probably work on graduate school applications today and start making a plan for blog content if I don’t have too much to do this morning or in the afternoon. Yesterday no students walked in for the last three hours I was working. Of course, I realize it won’t always be like that!
I’m currently at work as I finish up this blog post! I have spent the morning looking up PhD Programs in library and information science. I am recording all the application requirements and making sure they have generous financial aid that will allow me to focus on my studies and professional development. I will probably apply to about 4–5 different programs for safety, and the best case scenario will be that I will have options to make the best possible choice for future opportunities. In case you are curious, one of my many blog plans is to share more about this process over August.
Hello, and welcome back to The Inky Saga! I meant to share my summer plans back in May after my last life update post (Notes on the Last Few Weeks) in which I began to delve into my job search journey and my new blogging priorities. Fortunately I didn’t because a lot has since happened that I wouldn’t have not been able to anticipate at the end of May or even last week! Thankfully, summer has only just now properly begun, so this post is not that late.
While I will be working nearly 40 hours a week now and continuing to apply for full-time jobs, I do hope to make the most of my time off on weekends and in the evenings to pursue my other passion projects, this blog included. I also have one major goal for this year, which is to finally apply to PhD programs, so I will need to find the time to prepare my applications materials over the summer and into fall.
The main reason I wanted to write this post, however, is I want to share what you can expect from this blog for the next few months. I know that people have decided to follow The Inky Saga for a plethora of different reasons. While in the past I have considered myself a book blogger, I’ve not used that title for almost a year now. I will never stop talking books, but there may be periods of time where I don’t have much to share on reading.
Right now I’m more interested in blogging about other things that matter to me, including topics relating to lifestyle, side hustles, and creative projects.
With all that in mind, I will now be working around 40 hours per week at two part-time jobs, while still trying to keep up with my Red Cross volunteer work, at least through August. I expect to be short on time, especially if I want to prioritize my physical health as well as my mental. So what does that mean for reading, writing, blogging, bullet journaling goals? Well, that’s what I’ve been trying to figure out!
1. Redesign my blog graphics. I’ve been excited to do this for a long time! It’s an intimidating process, because I am by no stretch of the imagination a graphic designer. Also I can be impatient when I’m trying to create something I’ve never made before and it’s not happening fast enough! However, I think I have finally figured out how to conquer this task and am finally ready to get started. I’m just going to break it into smaller tasks and document it along the way.
Blog header. I was playing around with Canva last month when I made the placeholder graphic I’m currently using for the blog right now, the blue and pink ombre background with a constellation motif. I’m not super happy with it, but I felt I needed something right now that better illustrated what this blog has become over the past few months. I have clear idea of what I want to make and I will likely share my creative process next month as I start to dedicate more time to it.
Blog post assets. I use the word “assets” here because that’s the best word I can think to use to describe what I mean. I learned it in a user-experience design class that I took in grad school. For me, it essentially refers to imagery that can recur in your product (i.e. app, website, blog etc.) that is evocative of the “brand” you have. I’ve used some recurring graphics (e.g. my End Note cloud and my Top Ten Tuesday paint-splashed featured image) in the past, but they are not very unified in color or theme.
2. Prepare fall bullet journal content. I also plan on getting back into my bullet journal content this summer after the fail that was June, but I really want to be able to hit the ground running in September as far as bujo content goes. I’d love to be able to post more on Instagram and maybe ultimately YouTube channel, but overall I want the blog to a central place for all my details and tips about keeping a bujo.
If this post had gone up in June, like I originally planned, I might’ve had a writing goal. But considering my work schedule will be increasing, I did decide I needed to put that dream on the back burner. I tried writing a little in June, but I wasn’t able to get very far. Maybe once I’m better settled into a routine and after I’ve moved (either to Austin or somewhere local) I’ll be able to think more about writing.
For anyone following this blog for bookish content, rest assured that will not be stopping! I just don’t feel an urgency to read for the sake of blogging about it. I’m in a big contemporary/mystery mood still this year and would like to make a better use of my library, so expect less polished reviews and lists and maybe more casual reading updates.
My professional plans relate to the job search and potential future career paths. I am a strong proponent of having a back up plan. PhD programs have always been my back up, not because I don’t truly want to do it, but because I didn’t want to jump into a program as fast as I did my Master’s and not have an ultimate goal in sight. So while I work on my application, I’ll have time to research the programs in which I’m interested and also think long-term about what I want to accomplish after a PhD.
1. Prepare for GRE. I took the GRE in February 2017 and did just okay. I think with more preparation I could do a lot better. I don’t know that scores would be a big part of my application, but anything that might help me get into a competitive program is worth working on. So my goal is to retake the GRE in November or December.
2. Polish my Capstone project and writing samples. I am really proud of the papers I wrote the last year of grad school and always knew what I could do make them amazing after I received my feedback on them. There’s also a major chunk missing of my Capstone that I still need to complete, so hopefully I can figure that out this summer.
3. Revamp my resume/CV. I may need to do this first! I’ve used the same resume layout that I designed in 2015 while I was a senior at ISU. I still love the way it looks, but I’ve received more than a few hints that it may not be the best showcase of my experience and skills. I’ve tweaked it over the years, but I think it’s time to start completely fresh.
4. Write a teaching philosophy. I want to apply to instructor positions at colleges/universities, and the one thing that has held me back is my lack of this piece. I’ve always thought I might like to teach at the university level, so this document may be really be a helpful reflective exercise for me. It may be something that comes in handy for other tutoring jobs or even my graduate school applications.
If luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity, I want to make sure that I am prepared for future opportunities that come my way. I’m finally in a place where I’m excited to prepare for the future and feel like it might start to look brighter. Maybe it’s because I just discovered Netflix’ Queer Eye and feel so inspired about self-improvement!
I decided on Tuesday that it was time to work out my summer plans. I don’t what you may have gathered about me if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, but I like to make plans. I like knowing what to expect and what I should prioritize with my free time. This year has been trying, because I have felt like I’m driving slowly down an isolated forest road with a light fog. I haven’t had a clear idea of what summer would be like after working the 2018-2019 school year.
Thankfully the seeds I’ve been planting over winter and spring have finally begun to sprout in the form of job opportunities and work experience! Just last week I was contacted about an interview I had thought at the time would lead to nothing and a job I had forgotten was even a possibility. It’s so frustrating that it takes so long for good jobs to become available!
Before I talk creative plans on the blog, I felt like I needed to provide this insight into my life.
A lot of this post was written in a blog post tentatively titled My Summer Goals. I realized that I had a lengthy update and it might be better to break it up into two posts, starting with an update on my job situation at the moment. I mentioned last month that I had just started an office job at our county elections office, but there have been recent developments of note that I wanted to share while they’re still fresh!
Last week two things happened. First, I received an email from an office specialist at a place where I interviewed via Skype in May. It was for an office assistant position in Austin. I hadn’t been confident the interview went well as it was really formal with no extra chit chat. Anyway this woman emailed me inquiring if I was still interested in that position. I said “Yes!” thinking it meant I had the job. No, not quite yet. I was just being informed that my application would be moved to the next stage of the process if I consented to a background check, reference contacting, fingerprinting, etc. So that all happened over the last few days.
On Monday I visited Austin, which is about two-and-a-half hours away, for a day trip with my parents to fill out some paperwork in the office. It was a really pleasant drive and a nice day overall, even though it rained. I filled out some paperwork for an impending background check and signed some legal forms making sure I was aware the position was dependent on a grant and would be temporary (six months) and I’d work less than 29 hours per week. Yes, that was all clear. I was out in about 45 minutes and won’t know if I got it until August (really).
I have no idea if I would actually be happy at that job, but I do now know I would love to live in Austin! I’m going to start applying exclusively in Austin, unless I stumble upon something really that sounds really magical nearby. I’m not a fan of the climate in Houston, so I’m not eager to find any more reasons to stay. However, I do know now that it would be possible for me to stay on my own in Houston once my parents leave.
The second thing that happened last week is I was finally called by our local community college about a writing tutor position I had applied for back in January! My interview was Tuesday morning, and after a really casual chat with just a few questions about my resume, I was hired on the spot. I need to talk to one more person, but it sounds like it’s in the bag! The pay is really good because I have a Master’s degree! I’ll be making about as much money there with reduced hours (less than 20) than I would at the elections office (currently 24 hours). Plus it will look great for future writing/academia jobs!
My mom thinks I should stay here for a year because it’s cheap and would be good experience, but I honestly don’t know what I’ll do if I get the Austin job. I think I would be able to find another job in the city, maybe even a full-time one.
The Current Plan
Juggle my two Houston-area jobs for the summer and save up. I recently changed my student loan to income-based repayment plan so my new monthly payment is like nothing, but I do want to continue making regular payments while I can so that the interest doesn’t keep compounding.
I also want to be able to save money for future living expenses. Some apartments I’ve looked at require a monthly salary of three times the rent, which would be impossible for me until I’m a full-time employee most likely. All I can really do right now is save so that I have a few months rent set aside in case I am ever stuck in a lease without a job.
I’ve not had a lot of money in my accounts since February, so I’m hoping that if I do stay in this area for my two new jobs that I will not need to spend too much on living expenses. I’m very fortunate that I have my aunt somewhat close by who I could probably rely upon while I build up a nest egg.
Look for college/writing jobs in Austin. I have a lot more confidence that I may be able to find a job in writing after being a college writing tutor, so I want to really find out what is possible and honing my skills toward my interests. I feel like I’ve been so open anything that I’ve been too passive in waiting for the right things to come my way. Now I feel like I’ve gotten the kick I needed to take the idea of a career in writing more seriously.
I also want to start exclusively applying for jobs in Austin because I love the area and know that there would be a lot more for me to experience with less travel or personal effort required to partake. At heart I’m a lazy person, and I know that putting myself where things are happening is the best chance I have to live life to its fullest.
Because of my new job, I may be able to squeeze out more writing-related content like I originally anticipated when I started my blog while still in college. I always wanted to give research project tips and paper writing advice, but once I was out of school it felt too late. Maybe I’ll have study tips that intersect with my bujo content. I also want to continue to write about my job search journey, which will hopefully be helpful to any other English majors out there so they don’t have all the problems I’ve had post-grad.
Now I feel like I’m ready to talk definitively about my plans for the summer. I am determined to make the most of this time in my life.